by Monique du Toit
Several local apps have popped up in the prop tech landscape. One of these, previously known as MyRentr in its beta phase, is Preferental.
As company CEO and co-founder explains, “We started Preferental to change the game for private property owners. Innovative technology, like augmented and virtual reality, even in its infant stage, shows great potential to change the way property is bought, sold or rented out. The real estate market has been overpriced, underserved and neglected for far too long – change is needed.”
The app covers the entire process of being a landlord, from listing the property on leading websites, to a legal partnership with SSLR Inc. to manage leases, property inspections, and vetting potential tenants.
Increasingly popular with proptech apps around the world is the model of guaranteeing rent to the landlord. The app guarantees payment on the first of every month, reducing your stress when it comes to trying to collect. If things go downhill and an eviction is necesasry, the company once again comes to the rescue. Through it’s partnership with SSLR Inc. typically expensive and time-consuming aspects of evictions are taken care of. Insurance is also part of the package, with cover for damages to the value of up to two months’ rental income.
What sets the app apart at this stage, is the reliance on augmented and virtual reality. Nearly all steps of the process is conducted online, leaving landlords with more time to get about their day. The app allows tenants to upload images to show the landlord that everything is in order. To ensure images are accurate, it adds a time and date stamp. Tenants are rewarded for good ratings or reviews, creating a mutually beneficial relationship. This all-inclusive offering will set you back 6.5% of your monthly rental income, considerably more cost-effective than trying to source each individual service from different places.
The future of property disruption in South Africa
Many property owners and tenants have climbed on board the proptech bandwagon, with an unprecedented amount of property role-players now making use of online platforms for several services. Notably, the trend seems to have finally caught the attention of large and established companies. In late November, montage giant SA Home Loans acquired a 49% stake in PropertyFox. Acting as a smart online real estate agent, PropertyFox launched in April of 2016. Charing a 1.5% commission fee, the platform provides both buyers and sellers an easier way to go about property purchases.
As co-founder and CEO of the tech company, Crispin Inglis explains, “The investment from SA Home Loans will allow us to ramp up growth in 2018, a critical time for the business. We are looking forward to having two SA Home Loans directors on our board and will benefit hugely from their combined 30 years of experience in banking, marketing and home loans.”
This move indicates a growing awareness of the impact of technology in real estate – a welcome change in pace for all involved.