Prop\Tech Weekly #45 – Henry Pryor gives agents an ouchie| Rayhan Rafiq-Omar
This week’s commentary owes inspiration to the indomitable Henry Pryor who posed:
So what are you going to do about it? I, for one, am inclined to listen and follow through with his logic.
I’d start by looking at the myriad of articles telling of how buying and selling a home is a living nightmare. Are there any obvious problems agents could solve?
How about chains? There’s a problem that’s painful for everyone: seller, buyer, agent, conveyancer.
If someone could solve chains and bring certainty to selling a home, you’d bet that sellers would flood that person’s inbox.
Step in Matt Robinson and Nested.
Nested offers a guaranteed price – approximately 95% of their valuation – which is the amount they’ll provide an interest-free bridging loan for if your home doesn’t sell after 3 months – it’s worth checking out the calculator on Nested.com
The result is simply no more chain. No more worries about losing the home you’re buying. And even better: no more underselling your home because you’re stuck in a chain.
I’ve spoken to Matt a few times and the conversation continuously veers to one topic: he wants to help people sell their home for the most money, and put them in the same position as a cash buyer would be.
The way he talks about helping people is the closest I’ve come to hearing any form of estate agent offering what Henry calls a ‘Rolls Royce service’.
And his service makes sense: like traditional bridging loans enable developments that otherwise wouldn’t get built, Nested’s service enables homeowners to trade over to the home they’d otherwise lose out on.
But if Matt’s model works, it’s not just sellers who’ll flood to him: it’s distressed sellers and developers too. No more fire-sale to WeBuyAnyHouse.com and hopefully an end to the Below Market Value (BMV) industry.
There’s always been a quiet and lucrative new build part-exchange industry. Nested could bring much needed transparency, which in turn would give homeowners the confidence to pick up the phone.
It makes you think that if focusing on solving genuine problems leads to an industry outsider coming up with something so simple and potentially effective – they’ve just launched and have a decent pipeline of vendors – then what could industry experts come up with if they cared more about their vendors?
Before I move on, there’s one last thought about Nested’s future and the future of agency.
If Nested works, wouldn’t it be better for them to offer ‘Nested-Guarantees-as-a-service’ to agents – that way all chains can be solved and Nested just needs to deal with a few thousand agents?
It seems that the future of agency is increasingly services-for-agents: Fixflo, Viewber, Apply.Property, and Acaboom to name a few. What besides ‘Nested Guarantee’ could be next?
Notice they’re all ‘unbundled’ like Facebook and whatsapp and instagram aren’t all in the same app.
That’s why I don’t think – as Russell Quirk pointed out in last week’s comments – that Zoopla’s strategy of a one-stop-shop for agents is going to fly.
Consider the Zoopla Property Group products in isolation:
– Zoopla is massively inferior to Rightmove,
– Vebra and CFP are embarrassingly dated vs apps like Goodlord, Apply and Fixflo and
– uSwitch doesn’t really move the needle for agent revenues.
Agency business owners are entrepreneurs. Zoopla is betting on agents making the easiest decision of choosing one supplier. I’d like to think agents will make the best decisions for their business and customers.