A new property app may well signal the death toll for high street Estate Agents who charge fees ranging from 1.5 per cent in the UK to six per cent in the USA and Europe.
TipC (The iProperty Company – pronounced tipsy) has just been launched by veteran financial services pioneer Brian Blake, 68 and Spanish property developer John Candia, 36.
The app, which is approved for use on Apple (with Android, Windows and Blackberry to follow, soon) will allow builders, commercial property and home owners to post details of their properties completely free of charge, using a mobile phone. It takes about five minutes to create a complete listing. It will also allow house hunters to search for listed properties while standing on the kerb outside, or anywhere else, accessing photos, videos and details by using the unique reference number on the site or ‘for sale’ sign. They can then contact the vendor for a viewing or more information, using secure instant messaging, without the need to exchange any other personal details. Other features include an ‘open house’ facility to contact multiple interested parties and sophisticated search options including a pin drop, finger draw search via Google maps.
Blake, who is chairman at TipC, sold his stake in Swinton Insurance prior to the internet revolution of financial services, travel and retail. He also pioneered the use of technology to develop Financial Options Ltd, which helped independent financial consultants to access financial products and comply with new laws and was later sold to Mysis. He said:
‘When John approached me with this concept I recalled how financial services, travel and retail had been transformed by technology. Also, I was a fairly recent convert to Apple and a huge fan of apps. I am convinced the TipC app has huge potential to create fabulous savings for vendors, purchasers and renters. I certainly wouldn’t like to be starting an estate agency business right now, although I used to have one in the past.’
British-born chief executive John Candia is very excited about the launch of TipC. He said:
‘Over 38 per cent of people in the UK think they get a poor value for money from Estate Agents despite spending an average of around £4,000. Fees are even higher in Europe, sometimes as much as six per cent. The TipC app is so intuitive and user-friendly, it cannot be compared to websites that have fiddly forms and charge fees. No-one else offers unlimited listings for free and excludes agents.
‘This is particularly good news for property developers and banks with repossessed housing stock. We are launching the beta version in the UK, although the app is global, allowing Brits to also buy and sell holiday homes abroad. We already have improvements in the pipeline and are looking forward to feedback so we can continue to improve something that’s free and incredibly useful.’
The TipC app can be downloaded via the Apple Store or at www.tipc.com.
There is also an animated video on the site providing a simple explanation of the concept and plus a spoof video posted to the You Tube account TipC Apps, having some fun with the anticipated back-lash from Estate Agents.
The figure of £4000 for estate agents fees calculated by using the average house price of £226,887 for the first quarter of 2012 (source: BBC online) and dividing by the average fees of 1.8 charged by UK estate agents in 2011 (source: Which?)
The website www.tipc.com includes a one minute animated explanatory clip.
Video footage of a spoof clip is also available on www.youtube.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC8eW6mlkcA&feature=related