In It Together

How we overcame London’s worst property market challenges 6 Minute Read

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“That was a totally stress free process,” said no one, ever, when describing how they found moving home in London.

Contesting that statement is nigh on impossible. Having lived and worked in London ourselves, we’ve personally experienced hitting code red on the stress barometer more times than we’d like to remember. We’ve desperately scrambled for cheap student lets every August, we’ve seen over two-thirds of our monthly graduate-level pay disappear on rent for a room that barely fits a double bed in it, we’ve trudged around in the pouring rain after work going from appointment to appointment trying to find a flat that even vaguely matches our search criteria and we’ve saved every last penny to get our feet on the first rung on the property ladder.

The more we talked to people, the more we realised how commonplace feelings of frustration, and at times, outright despair, were. People complained of really struggling to get straight answers when it came to anything property-related. And then, of course, there was the million-dollar question - “Is the price I’ve agreed to pay fair?” In a city as expensive as London, we believe it’s totally reasonable to want to feel as confident as humanly possible before signing on the dotted line. And most people genuinely didn’t seem to have that confidence. So we decided to do something about it by offering some much-needed reassurance.

Unfortunately, we haven’t created a crystal ball that can predict exactly what every property will sell or let for, but we can give you the next best thing…an accurate, constantly updated, unbiased, data-driven valuation tool that helps you answer the questions to some of London’s biggest pain points.

1: Where can I afford to live?

You certainly wouldn’t be alone if you admitted to feeling daunted by the sheer scale of London. Trying to identify which streets tick all your boxes can quickly descend into the proverbial search for the needle in a haystack. Cross-referencing multiple sources including previous listing and sale data, commuting times, school inspection reports, as well as spending hours pouring over Google Street View to see if you actually like the look of the place is par for the course. And this already arduous process feels all the more difficult if you aren’t blessed with a bottomless budget, which, let’s face it, most of us aren’t.

All of London analysed!

We’ve amalgamated all of the data sources outlined above (and many more) so that everything is in one place. But we’ve gone a big step beyond simply re-packaging information that is already out there in the public domain. We’ve analysed it using state of the art data science techniques in conjunction with our in-house expert knowledge to provide actionable insights into London’s property market. And we’ve been able to do this for almost all of the capital’s properties. We’re not usually ones to brag, but allowing you to see everything out there, regardless of whether it is currently on the market or not, is (in the world of prop-tech) a groundbreaking feature. Being able to search for properties without any limitations is extremely helpful because it allows you to see the whole picture. Renters who know their contract is coming to an end in three or months and are keen to try a new area, can now create and save search areas that match all their criteria. Gone are the days of spending hours looking at properties that, in all likelihood, they’ll never be able to secure because the letting market moves so fast. Equally, if you are just starting your property search and in no desperate rush, our app allows you to find all of the areas that match your criteria. The tools currently out there only allow you to use properties on the market as your point of reference, meaning you may very well be missing out on lots of other streets, and indeed whole neighbourhoods, that tick all your boxes. It might be that you have very particular criteria and that the property of your dreams only comes up once every six or seven months, but using our tool will make sure you are well-positioned and ready to act when the time comes. Using our app might be an eye-opening experience when it comes to affordability, but it promises to save you valuable time and pinpoint areas that will definitely work for you. We’re confident it’s the best place to start any property search in London.

2: What do I really want?

We know how easy it is to get carried away when you start drawing up your property wishlist. Spend two minutes on Pinterest or Instagram and you can convince yourself that you need all sorts of things to make a property really feel like home. Who can live without a Scandi-inspired reading nook nowadays? But in all seriousness, developing unrealistic expectations relative to budget constraints is easily done. This is especially true for those who are new to town or first-timers, as there is next to no quantifiable data or general advice available to help navigate this very real problem on a London wide scale.

Accurate descriptions and valuations!

Although this won’t be music to many ears, almost everyone has to compromise when it comes to their London based property searches. Nothing focuses the mind quite like seeing exactly what bang you can get for your buck, so we developed a tool that does exactly that. Our questionnaire allows you to input your dream scenario and then alter those answers so you can understand what attributes would be best to compromise on should you need either more viable area options or to improve relative value for money (or indeed both!). In short, you can see exactly how changing your priorities alters the price so you can work out what you can and can’t afford to compromise on.

3: Am I making a good financial decision?

Before you sign a new lease that eats up virtually your entire monthly take-home pay or hand over your entire life-savings as a mortgage deposit, you want to feel confident you are making a sensible decision. Up until now, unless you have had the time and inclination to deep-dive into the available literature and data sources, having a crystal-clear understanding of prevailing market conditions has remained the preserve of a very limited number of specialists (who haven’t tended to be that keen on sharing their knowledge). This leads to uncertainty, which in turn, leads to a whole lot of sleepless nights.

Historically tested fair values!

We’ve put in a phenomenal amount of effort to truly get under the skin of the London property market. We can’t change when you need to move (which may be during more or less favourable conditions), but we can tell you at any given moment what the fair price of a property is in a particular area, as well as what that price has done over time. This makes it much easier to compare apples with apples so you can develop certainty on an area by area basis.

4. Who should I trust?

There are lots of companies out there providing free property valuations. But what has gone into creating these valuations is often pretty hard to unpick. And even where data sources are quoted, working out what other assumptions have been made is far from easy. The variation in valuations, as well as the lack of transparency about how those valuations have been arrived at, causes confusion and mistrust.

Truly independent!

As a private company ourselves, we appreciate why companies wouldn’t want to give away all their IP. And we also appreciate that everyone has a slightly different take on what variables determine property values. To tackle this, we’ve clearly signposted all of the criteria that feed into our valuation tool (property type, property size, bedroom count, condition, whether there is outside space etc). We aren’t professing to have got every single valuation 100% correct, as it simply isn’t possible to know exactly what every property is (seeing as some have never been sold before), but we have created a very detail-orientated algorithm that is capable of providing very sensible, up to date advice. Plus, and this is a big one, we aren’t looking to generate any work through our valuations - we’re giving it away for free - so they are as unbiased as you can get in a hugely competitive marketplace.