Tech to simplify moving home

Melissa York meets the Tech City whizzes behind

FINDING somewhere to live can seem like a never-ending headache, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. But Plentific, the latest in a series of tech start-ups looking to grab a slice of the property market, wants to use technology to take the stress out of buying and renting, by building a website that’s a one-stop shop for the entire process.

Founders Cem Savas and Emre Kazan, from Germany and Turkey respectively, discovered a mutual interest in property while working together in Nomura’s mergers and acquisitions division in the City. They joined forces to create Plentific in 2012 and the website went live six weeks ago. “Plentific was created out of our frustration with inefficiencies in the UK property market,” says Kazan. “It’s a very painful process and it’s the biggest investment most people will ever make in their lives.”

With Plentific, Kazan and Savas were looking to create something comprehensive. From the company’s office in Shoreditch, they run a property search tool in partnership with Zoopla; financial calculators that give you and your partner an idea of your borrowing power after stamp duty, tax and the possibility of fluctuating interest rates; an Academy section with videos, a glossary and infographics to decode every stage of the process; and a Find a Pro feature which provides tailored advice from mortgage advisors – all for free and on one website. The partners say they’re not averse to “targeted” advertising and they take commission from agents but, initially at least they want to keep the interface as clean as possible.

“We always wanted to set up a technology firm,” says Kazan, “and we see ourselves as more of a tech company than a property company. There are enough fees when you’re renting and buying, we just thought it would put people off to charge for the website.” Currently, it’s too big to transfer to mobile, but the team are working on an app to showcase specific tools such as the affordability calculator, while looking at using Skype to deliver workshops and advisory clinics to busy office workers. “At the moment,” says Savas, “unless you have family and friends that can recommend people, you’ve just got to phone up whoever’s there and trust them.”

Its future also holds a Neighbourhoods section, where users filter areas by their lifestyle choices, transport, schools and more to find the perfect location.

While the duo say it’s too early to forecast unique monthly users, Kazan and Savas have bold ambitions for their venture. “We hope that people will think of Rightmove, Zoopla and Plentific when they want to buy a house. I think that’s a good thing to aim for in our first year.”

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