There might never be a better time to invest in private property than now.
The Straits Times reported in October that the costs of private properties were on a downward slide. In addition, financial literacy site Dollars And Sense espoused on why house hunters should hold off on private properties, at least till 2017.
Well, 2017 has just begun.
And it’s just in time to introduce a new home listing startup that focuses on, you got it, private houses.
Founded by Anthony Cheng and Lim Chun Shuang, Staysmart is the newest competitor setting out to disrupt the property market.
Unlike other sites, Staysmart negates the need for a property agent entirely, as the entire transaction is done electronically via the site. As such, the site allows users to save on the commission they would otherwise have had to pay agents.
A real-time tracker on their site is constantly updated to reflect the amount of commissions site-users have saved [number above reflects amount at point of writing].
The central issues founders Cheng and Lim identified and aimed to alleviate were agent costs, as well as the lack of efficiency at which transactions were taking place.
The in-site chatroom works for you either as a tenant or as a landlord, although unfortunately, mine looks pretty dismal at the moment – not surprising, considering my lack of postings.
But by allowing tenants and landlords to communicate with one another directly, the entire process can be completed a lot faster.
Transparency between landlord and tenant is also emphasised, as the site uses a owner-verified system to ensure that there are no duplicate listings.
Sign Anytime, Anywhere
Staysmart uses e-documentation and e-signing for both landlords and tenants, allowing 100% flexibility and convenience for site-users.
Upon completion of each transaction, Staysmart charges landlords a percentage of rental fees, depending on the lease period. As for tenants, it is 100% free for them to use the platform.
If site users have queries about the legal terms used in the contracts, they would also be able to contact the team at any point of time. Cheng assures me that the team would be well-equipped to help as co-founder Lim hails from a certified legal background.
Unlike Ohmyhome, one perk of Staysmart is that any legal help provided would be completely free of charge.
Below is a complete infographic of the features of Staysmart.
Of Entrepreneurs, Landlords and Tenants
Being landlords and tenants themselves, Cheng and Lim understand well the problems involved when using agents. Being able to provide fellow home hunters a “seamless alternative real estate platform” is basically a dream come true for them.
The current falling of property prices and increasing vacancies of available spaces already spell good news for home hunters. However, the founders seek to boost savings further by axing agent costs and helping landlords and tenants with their property woes.
Despite this, Cheng still emphasises that they are not out to make agents obsolete, as these professionals still “provide value-added services like consulting.”
Site users – both landlords and tenants – have the freedom to engage agents even while using Staysmart’s platform.
“We always believe landlords and tenants should have the choice to transact with each other directly, especially if they are willing to do the necessary paperwork and market research, which is readily accessible today through various property portals and government websites such as URA and HDB,” explains Cheng.
As a new startup, he also gushes excitedly about having already seen transactions on their platform, adding that the team is now focused on “developing free additional features for users to make their transition into DIY landlords/tenants as seamless as possible.”
Considering their success despite the youth of their startup, I have nothing but anticipation for what they have in store for us.
You can visit the website here.
Featured Image Credit: Staysmart.sg