Plentific.com offers personal finance management tools as well as a range of other property-related services
Have you ever wished the property-buying process was less complicated? Cem Savas and Emre Kazan certainly used to — so they decided to find a solution. The two entrepreneurs have launched a new website to help anyone looking to buy a property — from first-time buyers to professional landlords — manage the process from start to finish.
Plentific.com is a property-finding service that offers personal finance management tools and a range of other property-related services. The website, which Savas and Kazan describe as a mix of “Zoopla, Moneysupermarket.com, Facebook and Tripadvisor”, aims to bring together every bit of information you might need when buying a property. Savas says: “You are getting lots of answers to questions about finding the right property. The goal is that you don’t have to leave the site.”
It’s an attractive, easy-to-use site with no advertising that is likely to turn you into a bit of a property and personal finance geek. You start by searching for a property (the listings are powered by Zoopla) within your desired area. Each property has a page featuring all the details you would find in a brochure — pictures, floor plans, etc — plus maps and streetview, the journey time from the nearest train/Tube station on foot, and a section where you can work out how long it will take you get to work. Finally, and most importantly, it has a mortgage calculator to tell you whether you can afford to buy the property. It gives you three possible scenarios and allows you to customise each setting, such as interest rates.
First-time buyers will probably find the personal finance management tools the most useful. “It allows you to get smart about your financial situation, ” Savas says. What’s more, it has a to-do list that allows you to tick things off as you do them and to prepare for things to come.
Savas and Kazan used to work for same investment bank in the City of London and have known each other for eight years. They came up with the idea of Plentific after noticing there was a gap in the market. Kazan says: “Buying a property can be stressful and complicated. We wanted to create a product where you can get lots of answer to questions about finding the right property.”
A neat feature of the property tool is that you can look at two different properties side by side, allowing you to compare floor plans and the distance from the property to work. Another useful feature is the sale prices function. Using data from the Land Registry, it allows you to find out what local properties similar to the one you want to buy have sold for.
The site offers a property search consultancy and includes a list of conveyancers, mortgage brokers, surveyors and architects. Users may soon be able to leave reviews and feedback about these services. Savas and Kazan are tweaking the system all the time to improve and upgrade the features. They are working on a rental versus buying calculator, which will show you what kind of property you could afford to buy (based on the rent you pay and any savings you have) in the area you are living in. This is a great way of finding out whether you have bagged a rental bargain or not.
Another new piece of technology launched recently will be a boon for any house hunter who has raced across town for a viewing, only to find it unsuitable.
The Virtual View App lets you view properties in 3-D — without having to leave the comfort of your home. Designed by a new tech start-up of the same name, it is a piece of software that displays 3-D floor plans, photo galleries and videos.
Once you download the app on to your smartphone or tablet, hover the device over the Virtual View icon (it works like a quick response code) on the property brochure. A 3-D image of the property will appear and you can take the roof off the property and see each floor individually. Move the device around and the property will move too. “It brings the property alive and it gives you an idea of what the property is like before you commit to go and see it,” Kevin Maxwell, a spokesperson for Virtual View App, says. “It’s a great time-saving device as you can make a more informed decision about whether you would want to view the property or not.”
Some offices at the Fine & Country estate agency have already started to use the technology. Simon Bradbury, director of Fine & Country’s office in the East Midlands, says it is a useful tool because floor plans and photos only give a limited view of the property. “Our buyers often travel huge distances to see properties. The more they can experience before they visit the property, the better it is.”
The Virtual View service (measuring, photographing and embedding information in the brochure) costs £195 for an averaged-sized house (up to 2,500 sq ft) and usually takes two to four days.