“Experian for property” portal aims to give people control of their data

Following the announcement that a Bristol-based start-up Propflo is raising £750k to power the next phase of its product development and growth plans, Today’s Conveyancer speaks with Founder and CEO Luke Loveridge about his plans for  creating a consumer focused platform designed to “give people control of their property data to better understand risks, protect value and transact faster.”

Luke previously built and exited a high-growth tech start-up that provided a device agnostic smart home platform with AI insights (such as real-time energy efficiency, air quality, and predictive maintenance) for large landlords.

 

What is Propflo and how did the concept come about?

Propflo is democratising property data. We give people control of their property data to better understand risks, protect value and transact faster.

Propflo is essentially the digital twin of a property with a number of features to empower buyers and homeowners in their decision making, whilst providing tools to businesses to help streamline the process.

The speed of transactions and the fall-through rate is a known problem, and I personally experienced this with a house purchase falling through costing me a few thousand pounds. But more than this, it wasted my time and was a source of a huge amount of stress when I have a young family I want to spend time with and business interests to manage.

I met a talented data scientist – Daniel Moyo – and conducted some market and user research. We found that a lot of the issues were from the lack of trust between parties, transparency, and under-prepared buyers and sellers. We created the Propflo score to encourage homeowners to confirm and submit information they might hold to add context to the public data on their properties. Ultimately this increases the amount of timely upfront information.

 

You describe Propflo as “Experian” for property; how does that work? What data are you providing and how are you analysing that to arrive at your score?

Daniel has created the score from a number of open datasets that look at range of things including the property itself, risks, sustainability, and things like location, amenities, transport connectivity and safety. Some of these will be more important depending who you are (i.e. lenders would be more interested in risks).

The key principle though, is that there is significant amounts of information that the owner knows about their home. The public data may say your home is in a flood risk area, but your home may be on a hill within that area so the risk is different. We want to help people add notes, confirm information and upload key documents to add context to this open data. This can then be used to pre-populate legal forms and share documents with professionals.

We also want to keep people engaged in their home; providing a safe and secure space to store documents, tools for re-mortgaging and energy efficiency upgrades, and updates on their score and surfacing ongoing buyer insights.

 

What does the score mean?

Currently the score acts as a decision making guide based what buyers, lenders and insurers find important. It’s not a quality indicator though; a mansion in the countryside could score lower than a one bed flat in the city, but it doesn’t mean it’s worth less.

The purpose of our new funding round is to make some of the tools we’ve created usable and integrated for professionals, which would include dedicated risk scoring for lenders for example, and dynamic scoring for buyers where some components are more subjective.

 

You’re looking at improving the information to help lenders speed up their decision process; what criteria are you looking at and do you see that filtering through into the conveyancing process to help conveyancers and improve the information flow in the transaction?

We either hold data on a property or can infer with a degree of confidence. Combine this with user inputted information, and we’ve got a great view of potential issues with the property. With this data, in partnership with Knowledge Bank (the leader in mortgage criteria data), we’re able to show exactly what lenders will lend against a property which we can share with advisors / lenders during application to speed up the process.

There are obvious uses for conveyancers to see this information as well to speed up and prioritise their checks.

 

What is the Propflo proposition for conveyancers?

We want to help conveyancers with productivity (getting through more caseloads, or the existing ones less stressful!), and help to retain customers in the long term.

To help with productivity, we have a number of tools we are developing that could help streamline the process. These include buyer / seller readiness scores, a property vault for sharing key documents, and of course the property score and report which can give some early sight of potential issues and complexities.

Our research has also shown that nearly 90% of buyers and sellers don’t remember what conveyancer they used when the bought / sold their last property. So there is a retention and engagement issue here. As our platform engages the users on an ongoing basis about the full lifecycle of their property, we’re in a position to highlight professionals they used previously.

We’d really value input from conveyancers to continue to develop and evolve these tools to best meet their needs. So would encourage people to reach out to me directly.

One of your datasets is looking at energy efficiency which according to homebuyers is an increasing area of importance for them. From your research, what do homemovers want to know about energy efficiency?

Our research showed that 50% of people found information on their Energy Performance Certificate useful, yet 76% didn’t action any of the recommendations. There are a couple of reasons for this including practicalities and financing, but a big part is also the lack of awareness of the full range of benefits. Could you increase / protect your homes value? Will your home be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer? Will it be more resilient to price fluctuations in future?

We’ve actually received some grant funding to explore this and have created a Green Investment tool which takes into account some of these other benefits to help people make a more informed decision. When you’ve bought a property, it’s usually a good time to do these works.

 

https://propflo.co.uk/

2 Responses

  1. I fully support this and as an industry we need to embrace more information, as early as possible. However, they should understand how flood risk works these days, before using it as an example in to promote their scoring system. Height above sea level is a factor used to calculate certain types of flood risk, so being on a hill is irrelevant.

  2. @Christian – Great to see support for earlier upfront information. The point we’re making is that the homeowner and 3rd parties have information that could add context to the data; we’re bringing as much of that forward in the process for free / cheaper.

    If you’re interested in flood risk, we also did an interview with flood risk experts from the University of Bristol on future climate risks https://propflo.co.uk/jeff-neal-interview/

Want to have your say? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more stories

Join nearly 5,000 other practitioners – sign up to our free newsletter

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.

Features