Financial services veteran launches new property listings app
Tuesday 3rd July 2012
A new online property listings service, described as an app to zap estate agents’ fees, is to be launched by a financial services veteran.
The free private-sale TipC, currently in beta version, is being started by Brian Blake, 68, formerly of Swinton Insurance.
It specifically bans agents but is free for anyone else to use, including individuals, developers and lenders.
After selling his stake in Swinton, Blake went on to develop Financial Options, which helped independent financial consults to access products and comply with new laws, which he also later sold.
He said he had founded TipC (it stands for The iProperty Company, and is pronounced ‘tipsy’) because he resented paying estate agent fees ranging from 1.5% in the UK to 6% in the US.
The new app, which is supported by a website, has been developed in partnership with former Spanish property developer John Candia, and is free to download.
Anyone else can list as many properties as they like in about five minutes with a mobile phone, for free.
The app is approved for use on Apple, with Android, Windows and Blackberry set to follow.
As well as providing a free platform for listings, it will also allow house hunters to search for listed properties while out and about, accessing photos, videos and details by using the unique reference number on the site or ‘for sale’ sign.
Property searchers can then contact the vendor for a viewing or more information, using 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 draw search on Google maps. Blake said: “I recalled how financial services, travel and retail had been transformed by technology.
“I am convinced the TipC app has huge potential to create fabulous savings for vendors, purchasers and renters, especially at the current time when the property market is so difficult.”
The site’s British-born chief executive John Candia said: “Many people are facing negative equity in the wake of the economic crisis. Plus, according to the Office of Fair Trading, over 38% of people in the UK think they get a poor value for money from estate agents despite spending an average of £4,000.
“The TipC app is so intuitive and user-friendly it cannot be compared to other websites and apps that charge fees or are difficult to use.
“No one else offers unlimited listings for free and excludes agents. This is also good news for property developers and banks with repossessed housing stock. We are launching in the UK but feel confident the app has global potential.”
Asked how the site will make its money, a spokesperson said: “TipC is not a site but is an app supported by a website. Apple sells advertising directly and we take a percentage of the proceeds. There will be a similar system when we launch soon on Android, Blackberry and Windows.”
She said that developers were permitted to use the site because, unlike estate agents, they do not charge commission.
She added that TipC is currently undergoing a soft launch, with feedback being incorporated into its development. She said that the upgraded version would be launched in the UK, Spain and Germany, supported in the UK by a TV campaign, probably on Sky.
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