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Disrupting residential rental – the beginning
But as we give some insight over the next number of weeks into the HouseME universe (expect stories, lessons learnt, tips for letting, best practices, advice for tenants and state of the industry updates) we thought giving a brief background on how it all began would be helpful.
Every story has a beginning. HouseME’s story, like many other businesses, started with a problem identified with the status quo. This was at the end of 2014. The property market was bustling, new developments were going up in every city centre and yet demand continued to drive prices up.
But there was no transparency. Prices were going up when value was not. Tenants were lying to get a place. Landlords would refuse to fix core property problems. Agents overcharged to deliver little or no service. And yet the news in the property market was never focused on these glaring issues, but rather on good news – that REITs were doing extremely well as investments. South African Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) focus primarily on sectors other than residential rental – and so as commercial and industrial properties did well, the tenants’ residential rental experiences were ignored.
From there to here
In the beginning, HouseME’s founders saw the primary challenge for tenants struggling with rental as creating a fair pricing model. But soon, this evolved into a far broader solution wherein tenants and landlords might use one consolidated platform for all of their rental needs. No fuss, no exorbitant fees, no unfair pricing and no exclusionary discrimination.
Armed with unhealthily high self-belief, and a shared vision to disrupt an archaic market, the founders have been through a lot to get HouseME to where it is now. And this blog will give readers access to all of the lessons learnt along the way!
HouseME was founded to eliminate the problems of rental pricing inefficiency, distrust between tenants and landlords, and fragmentation within the rental market. By learning more about tenants and landlords’ problems, HouseME has built technology to improve otherwise-manual processes across the residential rental spectrum.
The company began trading in 2016 as has evolved into a platform that connects prospective tenants to landlords through comprehensive vetting processes, transparent pricing mechanisms and online automation for only 2.5%. The company has grown from a Cape Town base of just four employees to a team of more than twenty, serving the entire country.
Building a start-up company, particularly a tech start-up, remains a wonderful challenge. This is the beginning of what we trust will be a complete movement to disrupt residential rental. For as long as it takes, HouseME will remain committed to fundamentally fixing the broken rental system.
If you would like to hear more, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Simply email: Ask@house.me
Ben Shaw and Kyle Bradley are Co-founders of Proptech Company, HouseME, Winner of Seedstars World’s Best Start-Up Company in Cape Town.
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Header Image: Milly Eaton
Photo by Victor Freitas
Photo by Jimmy Jimmy
Photo by Sharath Babu