A property revolution is promised for London from this month, in the shape of Offr, a tech platform that can facilitate wholly online transactions.
Appearing as a button on estate agents’ websites and free to use, Offr aims to make deals faster and more transparent.
Click on the button for a one-stop shop with a mission to enable people to buy, sell, lease or rent with one click, whether it’s a traditional residential property, new build, commercial property or an auction transaction.
“The stress, uncertainty and longevity of buying and selling property are just products of an outdated system,” says Robert Hoban, founder and chief executive. “We made it our goal to address these problems.”
The creation of Hoban, fellow property expert Philip Farrell and tech guru Niall Dawson, Offr works alongside traditional estate agents as “the perfect blend of online delivery alongside the human advisory side of buying a property”, says Hoban. “Go online with the things that should go online. Have estate agents as professional advisers for the rest”.
The first benefit of this collaborative approach is speed. Selling your home in a normal world takes an average seven months.
By digitalising over 85 per cent of the processes, Offr’s platform for agents, buyers, sellers and solicitors cuts this down to three.
Even Covid-19 didn’t get in its way. While traditional sales were locked down, Offr — already successful in Ireland — enabled the first, fully remote property transaction on March 24.
Secondly, buyers and sellers get more control and visibility of the transaction.
At the moment, the only part of the process you can do from home is to search for a property. After that, you have to call or email an agent to book a viewing or make an offer.
Then you have to rely on them to act swiftly in your best interest, as well as manage all the other stakeholders in the process.
Using Offr, confirmed viewings are booked online and the seller is automatically notified.
Offers can only be submitted online once proof of funds is guaranteed, eradicating time wasters from the system. All offers are logged and automatically sent to the seller with any conditions highlighted, allowing the seller to pick the one best for them.
In-built tools can prepare the sales contract and Offr’s dashboard tracks everyone’s progress.
The system also allows for legal documents to be shared securely, the deposit paid quickly using Stripe’s online payment system, the contracts signed digitally from any location in the world— and all within an average of 22 days compared to the normal 64.
You can, of course, still view the property in person and speak to a local agent about the area, the property and the buying process — online viewings and wholly online transactions are not for everyone.
But by automating many of the mundane parts of a property transaction, agents have more time to support, advise and negotiate on behalf of their clients.
This additional support is especially valuable for nervous first-time buyers, daunted by London’s expensive property market.
So how do you access it? Offr launched less than a year ago in Ireland.
Despite its youth, its obvious benefits for the property sector have seen it embraced by leading estate agents across the country, with more than 100 companies already signed up.
Solicitors are also jumping on board, tired of the opaque traditional system that often leaves their clients frustrated — and the solicitor blamed for any hold-up.
The Offr button is starting to appear on estate agents’ websites in London from this month. Just click on the icon, set up your account and you are good to go.
Alternatively, you can go direct to offr.io and join the website to search through all the available properties there.
Sarah and Theo used Offr recently to buy their new home in South Dublin.
“Offr took the pain out of the purchase,” says Sarah. “The Offr system was incredibly transparent and cut the time by weeks.”