HOW DOES PROPTECH FIRM NESTED GUARANTEE TO SELL YOUR HOME?
In Jack Rosenthal´s 1980s comedia The Chain, seven households each trying to move home undergo extreme stress as events conspire to try and break their interconnected chain. Decades later, buying and selling property is still ranked the second most stressful experience most people encounter (after divorce).
So image if you could put your home in the market with the assurance of receiving a guaranteed selling price close to the market valuation within 90 days, and the ability to home hunts as, in effect, a chain-free cash buyer? That’s the thinking behind Nested, a startup estate agency that received 36.000.000€ venture capital investment late last year, the biggest of any prop tech company in Europe during 2017.
Started by entrepreneur Matt Robinson, who co-founded online payments business GoCardless, Nested has he ambitious objective of breaking the UK´s archaic home-selling model.The typical sale involves months of stress with one in three sales falling through; worse still, home sellers don´t know the only two things that matter: how much the will sell for and when they will receive the money, until after their property is sold. With Nested both of these are guaranteed from the outset.
The scheme is initially restricted to homes in London. How it works is that an initial estimate based on property type and post code is followed up by a phone call and a home visit to finalize the guaranteed amount, which is usually 95-97 per cent of the expect sale price. Then the home is then listed and the seller received the full valuation (minus fees) within 90 days, even if the property hasn’t sold. If it sells for more than the valuation, you get the full price minus a small incentive fee. You can even get a ten per cent advance within ten days if you need it for a deposit or similar; Nested´s average fee is 2,5 per cent.
Getting the valuation right with pinpoint precision is key to the business model. Nested hire a combination of data scientist and analytical people, their valuations are completely data driven and they share the workings with the seller. At last check, Nested´s valuations were trending at 99,8 per cent accuracy to selling price.
In case this all sounds too good to be true, its no coincidence that Nested has focused on London, where property tends to move quickly, and reserves the right to be picky, for example not taking on unusual properties or anything above 2.000.000€. That allows Nested to concentrate on properties that can be readily shifted whose price is likely to be more predictable, since over-valuing a property or taking on a turkey could both prove costly mistakes.
For that reason, this may not be the answer for sellers stuck with a problem house that won´t budge. Indeed, Nested is keen to differentiate itself from agencies such as webuyanyhouse.com, which promises to buy any house for cash within 24 hours (pointing out that its guarantees are designed to be close to true value, not to pocket a profit for the agent).
Later this year, says Denton, the company will look at expanding outside London, probably on a city-by-city basis. A further teste will be the market itself: Nested´s model works more obviously when prices are rising, and any shortfall between its guarantee and the sale price is likely to be bridged over time. But, with some evidence that the housing market is stalling, especially in London, managing that risk all come to the fore.