Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How Else Could our Microsites and Data Rooms Save you Time and Money?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Our goal at Estatecreate has always been to help commercial surveyors sell property faster.

So we’re best known in the industry for our data room and microsite services to support the sale of commercial investment properties.

Our 24-hour turnaround on micro-sites means we can get a commercial property to market faster than anyone else. And our secure data rooms are the most efficient and convenient way to share documents, communicate with investors and learn where to channel marketing efforts.

But over the years, people have asked if they can use our services for a whole host of other purposes.

Honestly, some of these we wouldn’t have thought of ourselves. But it makes sense. When you can get a great looking site live at the drop of a hat, and combine this with the secure data room technology – well, there are all sorts of applications.

Here are some of the most popular alternative uses for our services:

Funding Opportunities

A beautiful site to showcase your project and an easy way to keep an eye on which investors are showing interest.

RFPs/Request for Tender 

Layout bidding terms and criteria. Allow bidders to upload their bids to the site up to the bid deadline.

Planning Consultation

A simple way to present the consultation, and make all required documents available to all relevant parties. Allow all interested parties to post feedback onto the site and publish FAQs throughout the process.

New Home Sites, incl. PRS

Our sites have been specially designed to showcase commercial property in the most effective way. But they work really well for residential new home developments as well. We can also work with your software supplier to manage availability and provide an online application process.

Managing Portfolios

Our sites are also used to manage large portfolios. The sites can be used for sharing key files, managing contact information and tracking lease renewal dates.


One last thing. This is by no means an exclusive list. If you’ve got an idea for how our sites and data rooms could help your workflow, please do get in touch as we are always interested in how we can develop our service further to meet a market need.

Founder Interview. Sam Zawadzki from Apply.Property

Monday, September 26th, 2016

He’s a serial entrepreneur and English Channel swimmer. Now Sam Zawadzki is on a mission to make property transactions simpler with his new product, Apply.Property. Here he talks industry insights, moving into the commercial market and being stung by jellyfish at 6am. 


Hi Sam, thanks very much for taking the time to chat to us. Let’s start with a quick ‘elevator pitch’ for Apply.Property.

Hi, you’re welcome. Apply.Property is a viewing booking and online application tool for agents. It’s like a 24/7 secretary for each agent, that helps get viewers into a property and then chases up offers and feedback. It helps agents manage their leads more effectively, and ensures landlords get the best price for their properties via a transparent online offer system.


So how did the idea come about?

I was working as a freelance digital consultant at the Yellow Pages, but really wanted to get back into doing my own projects full time. My past businesses were in all in the property sector, and when I looked at  industry I thought there was room for simplification. Uber makes it easy for me to book a taxi, I want the same simplicity for booking a viewing & making an offer.


What problems does Apply.Property solve?

I realised that agents are paying a lot of money to portals for leads that they don’t always make the most of. So I want to make sure agents get maximum value from each lead. It’s also about consumer experience, making it easy for this millennial generation that just wants to be able to tap a button on their phone and have a booking confirmed in their diary. And a large part of it for me was also about making every property it’s own mini marketplace. Having done rentals for quite a while in Edinburgh I knew it was a very competitive market, especially in the centre. You’d often have tenants bringing large amounts of money because they wanted to pay a deposit then and there, and people offering to pay more than the advertised price to secure the property. Having an online tool that allows tenants and buyers to offer above the asking price creates a mini marketplace on each property. So if you have two groups of tenants they can compete against each other on price and other factors like ability to pay rent in advance, or move in dates.


So what does the user process look like? 

The potential tenant or buyer sends in a request for a viewing through a portal like Rightmove or Zoopla, then the software will respond instantly with a link to the agent’s online calendar. The viewer can book directly onto that so there’s no need for human involvement there.

Once they’ve seen the property, if the viewer wants to make an offer they can also do this directly through the software, and fill in their offer online.

The agent can see everyone that’s made on offer on the property and compare all the variables like amount offered, move in date, length of lease etc. to help make their decision.

We’re taking away the to and fro via email between a tenant and an agent, making a huge time saving for the agent and making it way more useful for the consumer.

Essentially Apply.Property takes away all those admin tasks that are really important but are not really the core value of an agent, which is the human skill of being able to go into a property and sell it.

One way we pitch it to people is to say – “How much more work would your agent get done if they had a PA taking care of all the diary scheduling, the reminders, the follow up and offer collating?”


How has feedback been so far?

The agents that have used it have been really happy with it and we’ve seen some excellent results. One agent group put 32 properties through the system. Of those properties 73% have gone up in value because of the offer feature, with the average rental increase per property per year of  £1176. That also meant that individual agents made £150 extra each per property. So yes, there have been some really encouraging statistics from the offer feature, and some great feedback that it makes life lots simpler.

One of the key things from the lettings side is that the landlords love to see the applicant report. They think it’s really professional, a value added service and proof that the agent is getting them the best price.


Has anyone made the argument that a tool like this might actually not work in the tenant’s favour, as it’s putting prices up? 

Yes, we have heard that and there are two responses to this. Firstly, we’re very strict on not using the term ‘bidder-auction’ for our service, because bidder-auction means that just the person who pays the most gets the property. In this case people can offer above the asking price, but it’s not a guarantee of getting the property. For example someone might offer way more money for 6 months, but the landlord might prefer someone willing to take a 2-year lease but at a lower monthly rental. So there are lots of variables there.

Secondly, we see the economics of what we’re doing as quite Keynesian. We’re not doing anything that would make the property more or less valuable – we’re not doing anything to the environment like adding an extra bedroom or introducing a new school to the area.  All we’re doing is saying that if there are two groups of people who want to rent a property then the one who can pay the most, or rent for the longest or whatever should be the one that gets it. So we’re filling supply and demand. If anything, my long-term view is that as a landlord, if I get tenants who are willing to consistently pay more than market rental, it shows me I should buy another property and do it up to a nice standard and actually improve the rental stock in that area.


From a marketing perspective the data capture side of things must be really useful too?

Absolutely. There are some really large brands I’ve spoken too and asked the question – ‘if someone enquires for a viewing and you can’t facilitate it, do you remarket to them, or keep them on a database?’ – and it’s just nothing. It’s a black hole. There’s so much more that can be done and we can help facilitate that too.


Have you found any resistance to tech entering the industry? 

There is a real, real mix. I’d say it’s less about peoples’ attitudes to technology and more a resistance to sales. Agents in general continually get people selling stuff to them so when we’ve tried cold calling there can be a lot of resistance to any new technology.  But if we were to get a warm introduction to the same agent and they see all the benefits it brings them it would be a completely different conversation.

In general I would agree that the property industry has been a little bit slow to adopt new technology, but the stuff that’s going on with the major high street brands hybridising and buying online agents to improve their digital offering is really big in the market right now. There was a report this morning that said next year Purple Bricks will have a 10% share in the market which is a huge statistic. So I do think there’s more pressure than ever before for agents to adopt new technologies in order to survive in the market.

I think where financial technologies were 3 or 4 years ago is where property technology is now. People have realised this that this is a trillion pound market, it’s the biggest asset class and there are loads of improvements that can be made.


There are huge opportunities aren’t there?

Yes – it’s quoted to death but one example would be the difference between a taxi company and Uber. The innovations are actually really small – the only difference is that instead of calling a taxi company you tap your phone, and instead of having to have cash it just comes off your card. But that reduction of friction in the transaction – that tiny little process change – just has a huge impact. And it’s what we’re looking to do in our space – so you don’t have to call an agent or download a Word Document, but you can do it all online.


Do you see an opportunity to move this into the commercial property world?

Absolutely – the two fundamental things that we’re doing are firstly making it easier for people to get into the property and then make it easier for them to submit an offer. I don’t see any reason we wouldn’t move into the commercial space. We’ve had conversations with a couple of large commercial agents about this. Once we’ve grown a little bit I’d love to see us make an offer to the commercial space as well.


What adaptations might you have to make to do this?

A key thing for commercial would be slightly better lead scoring. With lettings and sales, there’s a lot of data that’s slightly less relevant, but in commercial I think there’s a lot of key information that can be scored about the leads, for example what kind of timeframe are they looking at. There’s also opportunity to build a profile based on properties they have been interested in the past.


What are your plans for growth over the next few years?

There are two routes. We want to grow this to be a sizeable UK business, which I think will take around 3 years. If we can do this and grow very quickly in the UK we’ll look at internationalising, taking the same services and facilitating that technology abroad. If we go down that path I see it as a 5 – 8 year commitment


Finally – I’ve got to ask about the Channel Swim I saw on your blog – what the hell was that like?

Really really tough. There was a huge amount of training, I was spending three hours in the pool a day, plus a lot of cold training in the sea. But it was a good challenge – and definitely one that I wouldn’t have completed without being part of a team. When you had other people relying on you, you can’t let the team down.


The jellyfish at 6am looked particularly nasty. 

There’s nothing crazier than seeing a cold sea full of jellyfish and thinking ‘I’m going to jump into that’


Thanks a lot Sam. What’s the best way people can follow your progress?

If you’re interested in what we’re doing send me an email to and I will keep you updated on our news. Also do have a look at our website


Why a newsletter might be the most effective marketing tool a commercial surveyor has. And 11 ways to create one that works.

Monday, September 26th, 2016

When the number of available marketing channels seems to increase by the month, how do you know which ones to focus on? Is social media as effective as everyone says? Should you be investing in Virtual Reality?

Well, maybe. But all the stats show that the returns on a newsletter are still higher than almost any other marketing method. And definitely higher than social media.

Newsletters are especially effective in industries where it’s important to build strong relationships with clients, but we don’t see or contact them very often. Like commercial property.

And yet, most companies don’t do it. Or if they do, it’s a Friday job for the intern. But there’s so much more that can be done.

We’ve been looking into this a lot recently. Mostly because want to make the Bird Dog one of the absolute must reads in your inbox. So we thought we’d share a little of what we’ve learned along the way.

Here are 11 best practice tips for a great newsletter:

1 – Give value

Your clients are busy people. So your newsletter has to be worth their time. To make sure it is, give them something worth reading. Insights into your area of expertise. Great articles they might not have otherwise discovered. Opinion pieces that widen their perspectives. And what ever you do, make sure that you…

2 – Don’t be boring

So many companies fail to get the most from their newsletter because they fill it with articles about themselves. Sales they’ve made. New divisions they’ve opened in the South-West. Or even worse, thinly disguised sales pitches of the kind you might get at a networking event. It’s the equivalent of a one-way conversation. After one or two of these, most readers are going to lose interest. The solution is actually quite simple (and fun)…

3 – Create your newsletter for the person, not the client

Your relationship with your clients is based on commercial real estate. But beyond their interest in real estate, there’s a complete, rounded person who enjoys – quite possibly – golf, great restaurants, holidays abroad… extreme sports?
Use your knowledge of your clients’ interests to create something rounded that they’ll enjoy. Don’t ignore your major common interest, but do acknowledge that they (and you) exist beyond this niche world.
If all this is sounding a bit overwhelming don’t worry. You haven’t got to create everything yourself. You can…

4 – Curate

This take some time. Quite a lot of time. But it’s worth it, because time is exactly what your client doesn’t have much of. If you are able to deliver interesting, valuable, relevant information on a regular basis then the trust this builds will pay dividends over time. So keep a folder where you collect all the interesting things you find over the course of the month. Pocket or Evernote are great tools for this. Look in places others might not go. Also, don’t forget…

5 – You are an expert

Make the content you do write the most valuable part of your newsletter. You can do this because you know the kind of questions your clients ask you, the kind of problems they have. There’s plenty you’ll know that they don’t. Write pieces that help them out. Explain terminology. Forecast trends. Give tips. But remember – always give value. Another way you can do this is…

6 – Make it look great

Design matters. How your newsletter looks communicates a lot about your company. Mailchimp has some great and customizable templates. If you can get a designer to help, even better. It’s worth it. A couple of good questions to ask yourself as a design brief are: How do I want my readers to feel? What do I want to say about who we are as a company? Once you’re happy with how it looks and the content…

7 – Test everything

Before you send, test that it looks good on every single platform going. Most people are going to read this on their phones. Check that it reads well on yours. And most importantly…

8 – Test subject lines

So many people spend a lot of time on a newsletter then rush a subject line at the last minute. But if you haven’t got a line that makes people want to click, all that effort has gone to waste. Many direct mail providers allow you to A/B test subject lines, then automatically send to the most effective one. There are whole books on what makes a great subject line, but testing your own is the most sure-fire way to learn what works for your audience. Just as important is to…

9 – Test timings

When are your audience most likely to have the time read your newsletter? 5.30 on a Wednesday? Almost certainly not. Think about their schedules. Do they check mail at weekends? Can you hit their downtime? Trial a few different times to see when gets the best results. When you’ve figured out what, how and when to send, remember one golden rule…

10 – Don’t bombard

We get so much spam these days. The easiest way to get on your customers nerves is to send too often. Once a month is fine. But once you’ve decided on a timeframe, stick to it. People appreciate consistency. Which is why…

11. Don’t give in at the first hurdle

You might not hear back straight away from your readers. And you might not get direct sales the first few times. But if you do it, and do it well, people will notice. Over time, it will be worth it.

One last thing. Sometimes it pays to get a little help putting your newsletter together. We get ours from Ben at Word Butler Copywriting. Give him a shout at

Ones to Watch. CompStak.

Monday, July 4th, 2016

Back when he was working as a broker, Michael Mandel noticed a problem. Long meetings discussing lease comps with little or no relevance to his own business. He knew that somewhere within it all lay important information, but it was taking too much time to get. So he designed CompStak. A novel way to source large numbers of lease comps, to allow surveyors, lenders and investors alike access to relevant, comprehensive lease comp data.

The company announced their arrival into the American big-time with a $565,000 seed funding round in 2012. Four years later they have raised a further $14million in investment, and are now moving into the London market.

How It Works

Surveyors, appraisers and researchers access the service free. They upload their lease comp data onto the platform. This gives them ‘credit’, which they can use to access data around other lease comps in their area. All entries are anonymous, and all new comps are analysed for accuracy before being added to the system.

CompStak generate revenue by offering the data to property investment firms, landlords and lenders. Initially this was on a subscription basis of around £25,000 per year, but last year the firm began to offer an on-demand service, allowing smaller companies to access the data as well. This saw a surge in usage, and has allowed them to pose a serious threat to the more established data giants, CoStar.

What it Means

With large numbers of agents uploading their lease comps, a vast database is accumulated. Agents can search quickly for relevant data, making the process of valuing and comparing the market more efficient and transparent.

In his own Words 

Michael Mandel explains what CompStak is about in an interview a couple of years ago.

We can’t afford to ignore the IoT

Monday, July 4th, 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) no longer the stuff of science fiction fantasy. It’s here, already affecting aspects of our lives. The Nest thermostat is perhaps the most popular example of this, using smart technology to learn the patterns of our lives, and adjust the temperature of our homes – by itself – accordingly.

It may yet be a while before we are living in the kind of Smart Home predicted by this video by Innovate UK, but for the commercial real estate world, IoT may arrive a little quicker than for the rest.  Research by Gartner predicts that commercial property will be the number one user of IoT over the next year. Partly, this is down to the larger budgets of commercial developers, but it’s also due to the myriad benefits it offers property owners.

From a surveyor’s point of view, it’s worth getting an understanding of two major elements of IoT. Firstly, the features and benefits that smart buildings offer. With more and more developments beginning to incorporate  IoT systems, the possibilities these offer will become major selling points for new commercial plots. And secondly, how to interpret the data generated by smart buildings to present to potential buyers; more accurate data allows them to make more informed decisions.

Let’s start with the benefits of connected, cognitive buildings. As with the Nest thermostat, much of the data collected is focused on making our buildings more efficient and cost effective. The various sensors all feed back into a network that essentially creates an automated, intelligent building management system.

The possibilities are close to limitless – every object within a building can be fitted with a sensor and connected to the net. The information this then relays back to the owner in a very specific way. In a shopping mall, foot traffic can be measured to assess where the most profitable areas of the mall may be. In an office space, machine learning can help decipher spaces where employees are more productive, and design work patterns to facilitate more productive working. In a block of residential flats, alerts can be sent to a landlord when maintenance is likely to be needed, improving relations with tenants and securing longer occupancies. It’s also estimated that smart energy systems can reduce costs of running a building by up to 30%.

Knowing the IoT features of a building and the potential benefits for investors will become an essential selling point as IoT becomes more commonplace in commercial property developments. This infographic from a Deloitte University gives a great overview of how IoT might be used in different types of buildings.

Another factor that will assist in sales is the fact that data collected by these smart buildings will give buyers a far more comprehensive picture than ever before of the investment they are making. Whether they are looking at a development plot or a pre-existing building, investors will have access to information such as traffic, crime, footfall and several other factors to help them make more accurate decisions.

Presenting these figures, and comparing them to other similar properties on the market will enable more informed purchases, for fairer prices. This has the potential to smooth the negotiations involved in buying or leasing a property – the ready comparisons in the market show what the property should be selling for, in a far more robust way than simply by postcode.

Understanding which data sets are most important for which types of commercial properties will allow surveyors to provide clients with more accurate and directly useful information.

There is even a suggestion that at some point in the future the very data collection capabilities of buildings will become valuable in themselves – that investors won’t just be buying the buildings but can use the data they collect to generate additional revenue streams.  Not everyone agrees with this, and the privacy issues involved naturally raise important questions.

One thing is for sure though – the IoT is here and it has the potential to change commercial property sales in a big way.

Connect your data rooms to your CRM

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Estatecreate data rooms can now feed data to update your CRM. What does this mean?

> We match your contacts in your data rooms to your CRM record. We then update your CRM with summary information on which data rooms your contacts have looked at and a summary of their activity in each one

> New contacts that enter their details into a data room are automatically created in your CRM;

Here is an example of the data we would pass across for “Henry Yates”:



Please call 020 7183 9088 or email if you have any questions.

Highflying marketing with state of the art drone photography.

Monday, April 18th, 2016

What’s the buzz about drones?

Your clients see exciting, never before possible, aerial views of development sites or buildings. Your marketing materials get that little extra fizz. And you can get it for a special once off price of only £295 plus vat .

Just purchase a marketing data room during 2016 (both your flight and the Data Room can be used any time within the next 12 months).

Then call us to arrange a site, a time and a brief. Our drone ‘pilots’ will take care of the rest.

Why are we offering this at such a cheap price? Well, we want the chance to showcase the benefits of two of our most popular products – our time-saving data rooms and our exciting drone photography – to a few new commercial surveyors.

And yes, obviously we’d love to continue helping you beyond this offer – to help build the kind of efficiencies into your workflow that have helped firms like CBRE, Colliers, Savills and Cushman and Wakefield sell their sites 3 times faster.

Want some highflying images for a fraction of the cost?  Get in touch today and we’ll arrange your flight. Don’t forget, you can use your flight and your data room any time over the next 12 months.  Call  020 7183 9088 or email

Changing the Landscape.

Monday, April 18th, 2016

If there’s one proptech company that we can see changing our industry in the next few years, it’s recent PiLabs investees Land Insight. We were lucky enough to get an hour of founder and CEO Johnny Britton’s time and chat about startup life, accusations that they’re taking away competitive advantage and how he plans to solve the housing crisis. Keep an eye on these guys. They might just change everything. 

landinsight map

For those that don’t know, can you give a quick overview of Land Insight, what it is and what it does?

Land Insight is a web app that helps property developers and agents find and assess off-market development land. It brings together the core data sets and maps that are needed to spot new opportunities and make viability assessments, as well as a providing a number of tools to speed up your workflow.

So what are the benefits for property developers?

Our angle on things is that we provide all the data and you can access that as much as you like. Because we don’t charge for data, we can do additional things with it, such as visualise it, cross-reference it and filter out parameters so you only see things that are interesting to you. This means you can locate sites that fit your requirements faster than ever.

So say you are a developer for example and you need to locate big development sites, you can filter straight through to find larger sites that are relevant to you.

Exactly. Your particular model might be add value to failed planning applications, so you could therefore specify that you’re looking for a site of 30,000 ft.² that has been used for office space and had failed planning applications on them. Our data can be used to streamline the process of easily locating these sites so you don’t have to go walking the streets or spend time making a lot of calls trying to put it together one way or another. Overall it’s a huge efficiency saving.

Where did the idea for Land Insight come from?

My co-founder had an interest in self-building. He tried to find a website to help him locate land and there were none of any use. Following this experience he started thinking about how he could help other people find land. My background is in town planning. I was putting in an application for 100 new homes and I was being charged out at quite a lot of money. I knew that someone down the chain was making very good money but had no idea where they were getting their land from. It seemed like a murky world and we knew there was no good data out there. After leaving town planning to become a software entrepreneur with some nice ventures under my belt, I happened to be at the right time at the right place to be introduced to my cofounder, Andrew.

We didn’t know exactly what software we were going to build at first but we just knew that there was a problem with the market. There’s a housing crisis, lots of houses need to be built and all the property developers are saying that they can’t find land. We felt this problem needed to be solved.

We used the Silicon Valley methodology of the lean start-up and it worked. We spoke to the industry to test the validity of products and ideas in the market, pitching ideas to developers and asking whether they’d buy them. We waited until their response was positive and they were really interested in buying what we had before we went off and built it.

So why do you think this problem hadn’t been solved by technology previously? 

I don’t think that it would’ve been possible to do it before now. For example the dataset we use to provide free ownership information has only recently been made available by Land Registry. And Ordnance Survey data can only now be used in more innovative ways. The U.K. is currently experiencing a severe housing crisis and so the political will is there more than ever to support startups. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, we’ve got fast, cheap access to big servers where we can process millions of different data points and serve them up through mobile phones and devices – that’s not been possible before. It was a case of right place, right time, really.

I’ve seen on your literature that 9 out of 10 people looking to self-build cant find the land. So Land Insight is obviously going to be of huge value to them. But what about people involved in selling commercial property – the surveyors and agents? What are the major benefits for them?

We save them huge amounts of time. For a start, if it’s a larger site, they save money using us as we bulk purchase Land Registry ownership details, so we can provide them for free to our users – helping them show the context of where a site is sitting. With the addition of planning applications, they can predict how the area will develop, And then we’ve got all the other data sets like the commercial valuations, height data, whether there’s a flood risk, if it’s a listed building etc. So there’s a real streamlining effect.

There’s another good statistic that I hear all the time – when trying to find a new site for yourself or a client, only 1 in 100 letters that get sent have any response. So you don’t want to be assessing 100 sites at 3 hours a site. That would take weeks. But if you can get rule out many sites and contact only high quality sites in 15 minutes, and use our workflow tools to easily start making contact with landowners. Surveyors can suddenly be much more proactive in finding sites.

People must have been biting your hand off when you released the first beta?

We’ve had over 600 signups but it came with a bit of hesitation as well. One thing I hear all the time is that people say we’re giving away their competitive edge. But the thing is, the data is becoming available and it’s not going away – digital data is here to stay and we have just seen the opportunity.

Ultimately, people will still have their contacts and their local knowledge, and we can’t write a data set for local knowledge. That’s why we want to work with firms and empower them to do their job better, rather than attempt to find a new way of doing what they do using technology.

It seems like integration with proptech, rather than full-scale disruption is going to be the path for the property industry. 

Yes, for the short term certainly. In the longer term, I think the web will get everywhere and new opportunities will arise built on the changing behaviour patterns the first wave of innovation creates. I don’t think that the industry can ignore the proptech movement. Forward thinking firms should take advantage of new technology and get in the mindset of early adoption – try lots of new things, discard when they don’t work or there is a new system to gain an advantage from, in the same way consumers do. I can’t predict what’s going to happen, but I do think it’s an interesting area. Having said that, clearly the whole planning system could be reconfigured and make huge efficiencies for the market.

Back to Land Insight in particular – what’s feedback been like so far? And what have been the big learnings? 

Well, when we first opened up beta there were a lot of companies that jumped on board. We started getting all this feedback coming in from all angles – people seeing the potential of the product and pointing us in the direction of all these different unrelated opportunities. This was a really interesting time because having all these options forced us to find ways to filter through them. We did this by working out what we are as a company and what we wanted to achieve, which was really important.
Following the lean start-up method of releasing updates early and getting all this feedback has been really helpful too, because now we know that property developers and agents are finding the best value from the product – they use the data the most and can save the most time and money. But it also helped us to learn that if we add a few features down the line we can also open to other sections of the market. Architects for example, will really benefit from one or two of our developments.

What are the data sets that are most valuable to people?

Planning applications and land ownership data – we provide free access to a non-private ownership and the way that we can do things with that data is completely new, we can innovate on top of that.

At different times variables like height data – how high surrounding property is – have proved really useful as well.

What other data sets are you planning to bring in? 

We’ve had people ask us for a few different sets and we do have plans to add more, but currently we’re more interested in how we can extract the best value from the data sets we’ve already spent huge resources in amassing and believe have massive value through data visualisation, cross referencing and ensuring everyone has the most readily available version of the parameters that most interests their model.

Will you expand into other countries? Europe or even The States? 

That’s a really interesting question. We’re very focused on the UK at the moment and a lot of our stuff is about quality of data. So if a country has good mapping or land registry potentially we could go there. But the way I see it, we’ve developed some interesting technology around geography and time and space and that’s more scalable than us doing the work of the getting the data. So potentially we could expand into other countries but for the moment we’re very focused on here.

One review on Land Insight I read said that ‘every person in the property industry will have to build their databases, products and dashboards on top of [your] tech’.  Is that true?

Hmmm… that’s a nice prediction. We do find that with the larger companies we work with they usually want an integration piece, as they have years of intelligence built up.

Sorry, tough question! The suffix to that one is where do you see Land Insight going in the next few years? 

We’re very mission driven. We started the company because we saw problems with finding land. We’ll know we’ve achieved our goals if we can see that we’ve made a real contribution to more people finding sites to build on. That’ll be one of our KPIs. But it’s not a social project – our view is that if we create value for the world we’ll create a valuable company and we intend to keep on attracting the investment we need to make a real impact. We’ve seen so many opportunities for other people to use our data – from retail to industrial sectors. But that’s kind of obvious stuff – there are a lot of interesting opportunities we can see too.

Are you able to elaborate on this…?

We want data not to be a commodity but a starting point. So it’s not like you go to some platforms where you use a map and then buy some data – we give you everything and then it’s about what it can do for you. We want to get ourselves away from saying this is the use of the product and get to a point where users can ask a range of questions and find what they need. That’s more how I see us developing.

What kind of questions?

Say, if you want to find a low density site capable of 1-20 homes in North Hackney then it’s easy to find a bunch of sites. Or if you want to find all planning applications for student accommodation in every major city in the UK in the last 5 years that are close to a supermarket. That would be another question. This is already close within but the finesse and accuracy is improving all the time.

And finally, what message would you like to send out to any interested people reading this? 

A lot of people think we’re still in BETA but we’re out there now and have happy customers. And that it so happens we’ve got a special offer on at the moment – haha!

What’s the best way to keep up with your news? 

Follow us on Twitter – @getlandinsight. On our website – we’ve got a signup form that people can access to get our newsletter. We’ve got a blog as well which we put all our latest news on.

VR Wars

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Virtual viewings, imaginary cities and interior mapping. Virtual Reality is here and it’s going to change the way we sell property. Irish Estate Agents Sherry Fitzgerald have already invested in VR headsets to offer their clients virtual walkthroughs, and it’s not unfeasible to imagine this becoming an integral part of the sales process in the next five years. For surveyors, the possibilities to showcase property to international clients, or to create visualisations of potential developments sites are tantalising.

We’ve put together a look at the frontrunners in the VR Wars. It’s a mind-boggling showcase of what’s already possible.

Project Tango

Google are mapping our interior world. With just a tablet.

Studio 216

This Seattle based company are using Occulus Rift to showcase unbuilt property. Potential buyers don’t just have the opportunity to see the building as it will look. They can offer feedback to make it even better.

Cityscape Digital

Visualising Cityscapes before they are built. The Battersea Power Station visualisation allowed surveyors to showcase the site to potential buyers long before completion.

For a quick view on how VR might have an effect on digital marketing, see this infographic by the ever-prolific James Dearsley. 

How the emerging field of proptech will affect surveyors selling commercial property.

Monday, April 18th, 2016

It’s no secret by now that Proptech is tipped to be the next big digital market. Last year, over $1.4 billion was invested in prop tech globally and investors’ enthusiasm is showing no sign of relenting. With the success of Pilabs, Europes’s first accelerator programme for property technology, and the 10 companies it has invested in to date, we can expect to see a lot more activity in this space in the near future.


To date, the majority of proptech developments have been focused on real estate, with start-ups like FixFlo, who help renters manage repairs, and Landbay, a peer to peer mortgage lender, securing major investment from Zoopla.

But commercial surveyors should expect to see more and more tech entering their sphere in the near future. Juliette Morgan from Cushman and Wakefield is under no doubt that change is afoot, saying in a recent panel discussion that “surveyors should look around see what parts of their industry can be automated, then expect them to be”.

This may sounds like a portentous prediction bearing in mind the disruption that digital technologies such as Uber and Air B&B have caused in the transport and tourism sectors respectively, but most analysts are predicting a gentler kind of invasion.

One reason is simply down to timing – because property has the advantage of foresight, surveyors and agents can see this digital wave coming and adjust. But more importantly, in a field where margins are often so small, the human element will remain as important as ever. The proptech start-ups that focus on integration, rather than full scale disruption, will be the ones most likely to succeed, especially in the commercial and development world.

Surveyors and agents therefore, should not be resistant to technology but look around to see which new digital tools will best serve them – which software will make their jobs easier and their workflow faster.
In our recent interview with Johnny Britton from Land Insight, he talks of how his software can reduce the time taken to compile information on a piece of land from 3 hours to just 15 minutes. This is how we see proptech going for the world of commercial surveyors – doing what John Maynard Keynes predicted all those years ago and making our work lives that little bit easier.