Ten Questions with Rob Jones: Co-Founder and CEO of Propertyxyz

November 23, 2020
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We talk about how regular portals don't quite cut it for investors and how making data available for everyone will be the new normal

Property portal visitors are by no means a homogenous group and their intentions and reasons for purchase may be vastly different from one another. For a growing number of house-hunters, finding the right information to make a decision on their next investment property is tough to do on Rightmove or Zoopla. This week we spoke to Rob Jones from Property.xyz, a new British property portal catered to property investors, to talk data on portals and get to know what his site does differently.

What is the problem that Property.xyz solves?

We help investors buy their next property with confidence using data. We also help agents & new home builders easily access this large property buying marketplace of investors via a dedicated investor property search portal

What is Property.xyz’s USP?

Simplicity for investors with property search and, importantly, research. We bring all the data they need into one place to make a simple decision on what properties to view and offer on.

This is powered not just by additional property data and location data, where a buyer can research any property in less than 5 seconds but also with extra sort and filter criteria so they can focus on criteria that suits them like rental yield, house price growth or local buyer demand.

What is Property.xyz’s biggest challenge?

Cleanliness and accessibility of data. This is improving all the time, but finding the right data partners and sources is key. It then needs to be curated in a way that makes sense to a property buyer.

How many employees does Property.xyz have?

We have 3 full-time employees plus support team members assisting with key ad hoc projects

How has Covid-19 changed the landscape for Property.xyz?

It’s been a whirlwind of a year, as it has for many companies, Covid has certainly bought a change in certain practices. All of our client and sales meetings have been virtual for example which wasn’t our plan but has become the norm for many of our partners and roundly adopted across the industry so has worked well.

Our team was also planned for a work from home environment with day to day operations and then weekly in-person meetings, so this was a normal transition, however, it’s still been an interesting challenge when the in-person element isn’t possible during lockdowns.

What is one thing our readers might not know about but would probably find interesting about investment property marketing?

The number of households in the private rented sector in the UK increased from 2.8 million in 2007 to 4.5 million in 2017, an increase of 1.7 million (63% Growth) rented households (ONS).

This is a growing market of demand both from tenants and the need to supply homes for tenants via the private sector/investors, yet there hasn’t been an easy central property portal to market to this property investor demographic until now.

How does Property.xyz gain its inventory of listings?

We have a combined approach including partnerships with data providers that give us listings from a range of agents across the country and also from agents wishing to list directly with us via their website or CRM.

What is Property.xyz currently working on?

Mapping using Ordnance Survey and a range of boundary datasets has been a big recent focus which creates a wonderful foundation for new user features.

Mapping is surprisingly complex when you consider the variables at play as data is provided in many different ways and matching this with what a user’s expectation is for an area when they search has been a challenge, but now it’s in place we can implement lots of new user features and add new data partners making the search experience even better.

What is the most common request from clients?

From property buyers, it’s more data. The more we provide the more people want to see. There’s a balance of data that is valuable and helps users through to data that is just more ‘numbers’ but builds confusion. We regularly conduct user testing and encourage user feedback to make sure we get this balance right

How do you see the market evolving and what will you be doing to be ahead of the curve?

Access to property and location data was once limited to very few with the right technical background or contacts and it was hard to interpret or use in everyday business for agents and property buyers.

It is now evolving to be opened up to the masses in a B2B context although it can be costly and often out of the reach of the average company and still widely unavailable to the average property buying investor.

We see this changing where data will be freely available and the trends that win out will be ones that turn this data into simple, engaging and elegant experiences that can lead to actionable steps for buyers and sellers. Ultimately encouraging a smoother and simpler property buying experience from search, to research all the way through to purchase.

November 23, 2020
Edmund got to know the world of portals and marketplaces working at Mitula Group (which became Lifull Connect after the buyout in 2018). He worked directly with hundreds of portals across the world in his role in the content department for three and a half years before transferring to the SEO department to understand the inner workings of listings sites. He joined Online Marketplaces as Head of Content in March 2020.

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