Singapore: With a weak local property market and many vacant rental units, landlords may now at least have some good news to cheer about.
RENTALS.SG has an absurdly simple premise: Singapore’s first residential and commercial rental marketplace to connect landlords and tenants directly with potential savings of thousands of dollars in transaction fees.
By offering members an easy online solution with free photography, downloadable letters of intent, lease agreements and links for online filing, landlords now have all of the tools that they need to easily transact their rental and at a fraction of the commission fees charged by real estate agents.
Founder, Martin Phillips, believes that the real estate industry, which he notes has shown little change over the years, is living on borrowed time. Driven by consumer demand for more direct transactions, new technology and social communities, he doubts the industry will exist in the same shape or form within another 10 years.
The service provides free professional photography to better display the property on-line to potential tenants. All owners are ID verified using the latest technology and optional services, such as support for mandatory tenant background checks, are conveniently available.
Property owners and property seekers are placed central to the rental community and deal direct with each other in their own time. Owners generally have to be present for agent showings to open the door and going direct is the same but with the savings.
Should established industry players be slightly nervous as RENTALS.SG threatens to tip over the apple cart? Perhaps. For one thing the company has already attracted some attention and has raised a first round of funding from an influential local investor. It is model that can be expanded locally and exported.
Direct and digital HDB real estate platform transactions rose to 24 per cent in 2015 and are likely to grow further as technology disrupts the sector.
Phillips believes that as technology continues to get better, cheaper and more convenient, that they can continue to constantly innovate and introduce new features and services across an asset light low cost platform. He views block chain as the potential future ultimate game changer for the entire industry, much in the same way as Fintech is changing traditional banking.
RENTALS.SG may have a little way to go, but established competitors in profitable sleepy market segments that show little differentiation or innovation, should take note: disruption across the real estate sector is now on a roll.
Contact: Martin Phillips