Home Comforts: Interview with Property Search Site Upad
With around one per cent of all UK search entries focussed on property, the market for property search has become increasingly competitive. One recent addition to the UK online property search market is Upad, a site which enables landlords to advertise their properties across multiple property websites. New Media Knowledge caught up with Upad’s founder to learn more.
By Chris Lee
According to Web-watcher Hitwise around one per cent of all Internet traffic in the UK is property-related. Four in every five people begin a property search – either to buy or rent – online. Upad is a recent development in the UK property market. For a one-off fee of £59 per property, landlords can list it across more than 100 property search sites, such as Zoopla or Globrix, until it is let.
The site’s founder is James Davis, an experienced residential landlord keen to make letting easier for property owners and renters alike. NMK’s Chris Lee caught up with Davis to see how Upad works.
Briefly introduce Upad for us. What need does it address?
Upad.co.uk is the UK’s largest online lettings agent. It uses technology to make the property rental process more efficient, allowing landlords to manage their property portfolio and helping tenants to find their ideal home quickly and easily.
Landlords pay a one-off fee of £59 per property to have each one listed on more than 100 websites until it is let. The purpose is to maximise tenant leads and minimise unnecessary void periods by offering a comprehensive tenant-find service.
Identifying the need for a service that took the hassle out of property rental for both parties, Upad harnesses the power of the Internet to tackle the challenges faced by a sector that had traditionally operated offline.
Social media is pivotal to how Upad works, what platforms does it use?
Upad is very active in the social media space, the company has a presence on Twitter, Facebook, and the business networking sites ecademy and LinkedIn. We also issue regular blog posts on the private rental space.
How does the success rate compare with the likes of Gumtree and other rental sites?
Upad provides landlords with the largest online property distribution platform, ensuring extensive exposure for their properties and maximising tenant leads. The company’s aim is to avoid unnecessary void periods.
Is there a future for estate agents in the rental game or will independent online rental placement by landlords become the norm?
Yes, there is a future for estate agents – many landlords want the personal service that traditional lettings agents offer. But we cannot deny the fact that large numbers prefer the flexibility to manage property in their own way, and this tends to be through the use of online marketing.
What predictions can you make for the online rental market in 2010?
2010 will be the year of opportunity. The numbers of buy-to-let mortgages available are increasing and will continue to do so. The numbers of providers are beginning to enter the buy-to-let space, and, as a result, existing landlords are adding to their portfolio. New landlords are also entering the market and this is the ideal time – before inflation kicks in.
Landlords need to grasp the opportunities that 2010 will present. But, they must start running their property rental as a business, only then will they avoid unnecessary void periods. They should learn from 2009, and go into the sector with open eyes.