What’s New?

If you haven’t been watching closely, you may have missed the many updates that we’ve made to the product over the past month or so.

As the month comes to an end, we thought it would be good to shamelessly brag quickly rundown of some of what we’ve done.

Save Searches

We started with some tweaks to how you can save your searches to your Sites Area.

Ownership…

Planning…

Property…

We released this after some feedback from our users who wanted a closer examination of the sites that show up in the search results. We created a quick and easy way for you to do this.

Radius Tool

Then was the good old radius tool.

Many different users requested this for various different use cases. We have a lot of plans to make this even more powerful so please do keep letting us know your suggestions.

Sites Area

Now this one was major! Launching this has been one of the most exciting times for the company.

 

You can see all the tutorials here but get in touch if you would like a personal demonstration of this and the full product features.

Our product team worked closely with our existing users and our in-house experts to create something that fulfils essential workflow functions while having an intuitive interface. Overall, this section is all about streamlining your workflow and increasing efficiency so you can focus on the important things – building more houses!

Watch this space for more great things to come!

How was #RESI2017?

Brilliant, is the short answer.

It was great meeting everyone and being able to showcase the many updates to the LandInsight product. We launched our new sites area, which is a deal management section of our product, and our £/sq ft calculator, all presented at RESI.

You can see the tutorials for the deal management section, by clicking here. If you’d like a full product demonstration, get in touch.

On the Day

Our stand was constantly flowing with people requesting personal demonstrations, trials of our product and just to catch up with us.

There was even some traffic with people trying to beat the high score on our VR…

All in all, it was a great event and we’re excited about all the new relationships created as well as catching up with some old faces.

Congratulations are in order for Jim Atkinson who won on our VR at the end of the two-day conference.

Some After-thoughts

The talking points throughout the two days were about solving the housing crisis, of course, what the lessons were from the awful tragedy of Grenfell Tower, as well as some discussion on the technological disruptors of the industry.

The common theme we’re finding remains that there is still a general fear of big data and technology in the property industry while there are some new developments from the likes of Google and Amazon. As homelessness is something that we are constantly talking about, we’re impressed that Amazon is committed to lending a hand where they can by building a family shelter within its Seattle HQ.

We’ll keep talking about the much-needed encouragement for people to build more. A way that this can be done quickly is through innovation and that’s what LandInsight is all about. Take a look at our mention in the Business Insider, for just that.

While the team recovers from all that d̶r̶i̶n̶k̶i̶n̶g̶  networking, stay tuned for more exciting things to come…

 

A house buyer’s right to know

Guest post from our series on Property Futures, by Barry Bridges at Property Detective:

When it comes to the biggest financial transaction of your life, isn’t it about time we enshrined the ‘right to know’?

Barry Bridges

As a failed and frustrated lawyer, one of the things I love to get passionate about is data protection. Granted, it’s not the sexiest pillow talk imaginable, but just trust me: when it comes to data, transparency and access to information, nothing sets my heart more aflutter than a good old argument about what I like to refer to as the ‘right to know’.

What am I talking about, you might ask? Well, let me put it simply: I believe that the current data protection framework fails to protect homebuyers during the conveyancing process, with the result that people buying property are subject to the most terrible information asymmetry that exists, particularly considering the financial impact of a purchase gone wrong.

First off though, let me explain the argument more thoroughly.

When you buy a house, your vendors’ conveyancer issues them with the Sellers Property Information Form, also known as the SPIF, asking the vendor to answer a range of questions about the property, ranging from the banal (who provides your broadband) right through to the serious (have there been any disputes about neighbouring properties).

As a buyer, there are several major issues with this process, made worse by the fact that you have no right to access critical local information that might help you make a better decision about the property you’re thinking of buying.

To start with, it makes absolutely zero sense that it is the vendors’ solicitor that issues the SPIF. An analogy might be one whereby we allow the pupils to set the exam questions; if there’s something to be covered up, isn’t it more appropriate for the buyers’ solicitor to be issuing the SPIF, with any additional questions contained therein?

More importantly though, if a buyer wants to raise legitimate queries about data appertaining to that property, where the data is held by a local authority, existing data protection legislation creates a barrier to them accessing the insight they need.

A good example would be ‘complaints about neighbours’, which is something that vendors’ are obliged to disclose on the SPIF. Let’s say you didn’t trust the vendors very much, and you wanted to verify the absence of any issues yourself. Well, an FOI request to the local authority and district council would be a great starting point. Except the Data Protection Act provides an exemption for ‘personal information’ to be disclosed, meaning that most district councils will refuse to disclose any correspondence relating to nuisance neighbours, environmental health issues, dangerous dogs, antisocial behaviour…and so on.

I would like to argue that we need to do more to relax data protection issues where there exists a direct financial and personal interest for the benefit of the person making the data request. Specifically, if you’re buying a house, you should be able to ask a local authority for any and all information about the properties that fall within its jurisdiction, even if you’re not the owner or occupier.

Someone moving home needs to get into the data held by a local authority that might influence a decision whether to buy or rent. I’m not talking about open data, or a broad dataset under the Open Government Licence; rather, I’m arguing for the expansion of the Subject Access Request to encompass situations where you have a direct, financial, transactional relationship with the Subject.

Like buying a home.

 

Company bio: Property Detective

Property Detective an online tool that helps consumers save time, money and effort by equipping them with all the insight they need to rationally evaluate a property, street, neighbourhood or locality more effectively.

Author bio: Barry Bridges

CEO and Founder of several successful businesses, including my current startup PropertyDetective.com Guest lecturer, public speaker and consultant to startups; when I’m not working I’m spending time with my wife and two young children, or running, cycling or paragliding when time permits!

The future of property is virtual

Guest post from our series of Property Futures by Edouard Bessire of PropertyScape:

The future of property is virtual

Edouard Bessire - PropertyScape

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started” Mark Twain said. And technology’s journey within the property market has definitely started. In the last few years technology has taken an increasingly central role in property, and it will disrupt the entire industry over the next twenty years. In the last year alone PropertyTech startups worldwide raised a record high of $1.7B across more than 190 deals. We see this momentum not only in NYC, the world’s largest commercial real estate market and auto proclaimed epicenter of PropertyTech innovation, but also in Europe and especially in the UK with London leading the way.

A technology which is getting a lot of media attention at present is virtual reality. Like many new technologies it is easy to see virtual reality as just another cool piece of tech or marketing gimmick. But let me be blunt: virtual reality will become central in property within the next 10 years. Millennials will use virtual reality when buying their first property.

Virtual reality is the opposite of teleportation. Instead of you going somewhere, it brings the place you want to see to you, whether real or imaginary. You wear a headset which is basically goggles with a screen. That virtual reality headset tracks the movements of your head and adapts the view very quickly. So you look around and feel like you are somewhere else, totally immersed. The first functioning virtual reality environment came in 1968, and we saw the first virtual reality products in the early 90s. But it is the recent technological developments made primarily by the mobile industry that has brought virtual reality back into the foreground, and it is here to stay.

Although the technology has yet to reach mass market, virtual reality is already relevant in property today. Buying a property is one of the biggest decisions in people’s life. Therefore using virtual reality already makes sense from a business perspective even if it is not part of everyday life just yet. At PropertyScape, we launched a virtual reality solution that allows property developers to market off-plan properties. We convert architectural models into virtual reality experiences. Prospective buyers and investors can walk through a property before construction has even started, and our application lets the agent take control of the viewing by changing light, furniture, etc in real-time. We also provide virtual reality viewings of existing properties for estate agents and are already working on how the technology will reach mass market.

Virtual reality not only solves some of today’s problems but has great potential, especially in the second-hand market. It is often said in property that agents don’t sell properties but viewings. That is because many prospective buyers do not know what they are looking for and are waiting for that magical ‘feeling’ when they will ‘just know’ it’s the right home for them. And that makes the job of the agent difficult, as they need to get their clients across the door of as many listed properties as possible. That is why virtual reality viewing is not just the new generation of property visualization, because the experience and immersion it provides allows buyers to get that magical ‘feeling’ without physically going to the property! After just a quick tour of one of our virtual reality viewings, users feel as if they have been in the property. They can even draw the floorplan from memory.

Virtual reality still has a lot of progress to make and we will see significant technological improvements and consumer adoption in the next decade. Today property developers and estate agents can market off-plan properties better with our solution and there is so much more to come. PropertyTech is going to deeply transform the industry over the next decade. Virtual reality will have a key role in that transformation and we want to be ahead of that change. So at PropertyScape, we got started.

A company bio: PropertyScape

PropertyScape

PropertyScape was founded by computer engineers and business graduates of the Imperial College London during summer 2015. They have developed a one-stop-shop virtual reality viewing solution for property developers. @_PropertyScape_

Linked In: PropertyScape Facebook: PropertyScape

A contributor bio: Edouard Bessire, Co-Founder & COO at PropertyScape

Edouard graduated in Applied Mathematics & Computer Science in France before undertaking a Masters from Imperial College Business School. With a great understanding of technology and business, he then co-founded PropertyScape. 

 

Our Estates Gazette Article: Data Driven Property Development

land finding with data
Land Insight in Estates Gazette

 

Our CEO, Jonny, once again finding a place to spout his mouth off  😉 , ahem, to wax lyrical about property and technology. This time his article is in the Estates Gazette where he talks about the new waves of data that are entering the property industry and how they will change patterns of site finding behaviour.

You can find the article here: http://www.egi.co.uk/news/an-insight-into-catching-data/

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Land Insight is hiring a Senior Back-End Engineer in London

Land Insight is a new web app for kick-starting property developments by tackling one of the biggest problems house builders have – buying land. The app was made in direct response to the UK housing crisis where unaffordable housing is having a real impact on the cost of living, especially in the South East of England.

The graphs below highlight just how serious the housing situation is.

2 Graphs - House prices Vs earnings, supply & demandsource: UK housing: The £24bn property puzzle

Due to the potential impact our product can make in bringing transparency, equality and land(!) to the home building industry, the company is gaining momentum with a growing customer base, recent investment and staff recruitment. It is as simple as this: to enable a new generation of house builders, we need great tech to help make decisions on what land to buy. We crunch huge datasets to provide the best information and we serve it up on beautifully made maps.

We’re currently hiring a senior back-end developer and an intern/graduate to be based in Central London. Our tech stack is predominantly JavaScript (Node.js) and MongoDB.

If this sounds interesting to you, tell us about yourself and why you’d like to join our mission. Email jobs@landinsight.io

Housing supply and the problem of land supply

The Funding for Lending scheme has ended early for home loans. A move that has been taken to prevent a potential housing bubble.  Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, acknowledged in an interview with the Guardian there is a large supply issue and more credit isn’t going to solve our problems.

He [Carney] said that Britain was building half as many homes a year as Canada despite having a population twice as large, and added:
It is widely acknowledged that there is a very large supply-side issue here. I fully recognise that Canada is the second-biggest country in the world. It’s easy to build housing as it’s easy to find places [to build]. But it does give you a sense of the issues around the constraints on supply and the movements in prices you see as well. They all reinforce that sense that there is a supply issue. And there’s nothing the Bank of England can do to change that.

This move makes a lot of sense. We need government and banks to make incentives in the right place, not help fuel demand that cannot be met.

Everyone recognises that housing supply is an issue. Land supply is part of that issue too. We need to make sure the right incentives are in place for an active and transparent land market. We also need citizens to look at the land around them and question why that land isn’t being used for housing.

Land Wiki is a tool for citizens to help identify plots of land that can be better used. Anyone will be able to contribute to the data. We’re doing this so citizens can be part of the solution having data and tools to make better decisions.


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