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Welcome, Home Tech

Veteran international investor John Corey offers his thoughts on the adoption of new technology in the property marketplace

For those that do not know, I have a degree in computer science. After moving to California, while working at Hewlett Packard, I studied Artificial Intelligence at Stanford. Later, Steve Jobs was my direct boss for about a year during the three years I worked at NeXT; today's Apple. I managed the joint NeXT-IBM project. Much later, a friend from the project asked if I could be a beta tester for his company's offering. He then co-founded LinkedIn and wanted to get my perspective on the new service.

My Silicon Valley career contrasts with my real estate investing experiences. The real estate (property) sector is known to be a late adopter of technology. Where would we be today without Rightmove or Zoopla? When I moved from the USA to the UK, agents mailed physical flyers to potential buyers. They were generally sent out on Thursday before the weekend sales window. Odd then. given agents did not work Sundays. I was used to the USA which has the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). So I was shocked to go back to using paper in 1994. For those who do not know, the MLS is like Rightmove but it started before there was an Internet. Over 90% of the total residential market is visible to all agents.

Where are we today?
Rather than tell you, just think of the market yourself. You can search online for stock to see what is for sale. You can use the same tools or alternatives to get produce comps for a specific property. You can use Google StreetView or similar to view what a street or property looked like the last time the area was scanned. You can use various mapping services to see the boundaries or other details related to the plot. Through the Land Registry online, you can look up the ownership or other title details. There are even tools that help with tenant screening, credit checks or other profiling details. Finally, there are some apps, still not commonly used, to create
a floor plan.

The list goes on. It is mostly directed at consumers who are the bulk of the residential market. Tenants and buyers viewing inventory plus agents, sellers and landlords sharing or touting their latest offer.

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