London Startup ‘Nested’ is Disrupting the Real Estate Industry

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If your home isn't sold in 90 days, they buy it.

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Nested co-founders (L-R) Matt Robinson, Phil Cowans and James Turford

If you live in the UK, selling your home and buying a new one tends to follow a depressingly familiar pattern: a real estate agent will value your house and then put it on the market. Then you wait for it to sell. You might quickly find a buyer, but they probably need to sell their home before your sale can go through. Depending on where your home sits on the dreaded property chain (and how many others are on it), it could take months and months before your buyer is in a position to sign on the dotted line, providing ample opportunity for the house you set your heart on buying being snapped up by someone else.

While we’re lucky enough not to have to navigate housing chains here in Australia, buying a home is universally considered one of the most stressful life events we can endure. Thankfully, the emergence of a London-based startup called Nested – a company that promises to sell your home within 90 days or else they will buy it – may help streamline the buying and selling property process on a global scale.

“We’re the only solution that helps these home buyers secure their dream home without compromising on price.”

Seasoned entrepreneur Matt Robinson came up with the idea for the property tech (“proptech”) concept for the company – which essentially puts vendors that would otherwise be stuck in a chain in the enviable position of a cash buyer – when purchasing his own property.

“The idea for Nested originated from my own experience buying a home. I was in the fortunate position of being a cash buyer,” explains Matt, who co-founded the company alongside fellow entrepreneur Phil Cowans and James Turford, a trained architect. “I was hearing stories from estate agents about how property chains are breaking and being a cash-buyer puts you in an advantageous position when buying a home; so I thought about how we could put everyone in the position of being a cash buyer. The more people I spoke to, the more I learnt about how one-third of chains break and people are missing out on their dream homes every day.”

In the UK, a third of people who want to buy also need to sell, explains Matt, who previously founded GoCardless, which is now the UK’s leading Direct Debit company. “Because it takes so long and there is a high probability of fall-throughs, no-one will sell until the buyer has an offer on their home – which could fall-through at any moment. As a result, these people regularly miss out on their dream home.”

Before Nested burst onto the property scene six months ago, the only other option available to homeowners reluctant to take their chances in a chain was to sell their home through a quick-buy firm, which comes at a huge cost of 10-30 per cent of the value of their property. “We’re the only solution that helps these home buyers secure their dream home without compromising on price,” Matt continues, noting that Nested will guarantee the sale of your home for at a minimum of 95 per cent of the valuation price.

“The idea for Nested originated from my own experience buying a home. I was in the fortunate position of being a cash buyer.”

It’s undoubtedly a brilliant solution to a UK-centric problem, but so far it all sounds so real-estate agent-y – where does the tech come into it? “Our property valuation tool is key to our process and technology,” Matt explains. “Prospective home sellers can personalise information about their home and this is then added to a comparable algorithm tool we’ve developed, which allows us to compare your home against those of other similar properties recently sold in the area.” What this equates to is an instant (and incredibly accurate) home valuation. “This is the foundation for our ability to make a guaranteed offer on a property within 24 hours.”

It’s an impressively slick process for a country renowned for its ineffective property market, so it’s little wonder that Nested has resonated with homeowners and investors alike. Indeed, they’ve raised an impressive £11m GBP (almost $19m AUD) to date and hope to expand throughout the rest of the UK in the near future.

“The biggest challenge so far has been to ensure we maintain those high-service standards and go beyond our customers’ expectations, whilst scaling the company and seeing a growing number of customers using Nested,” Matt admits. “We’re solving this by focusing on hiring great talent who’re passionate about the problem we’re solving and are focused on making sure our customers have the best experience from the first time they hit the website to the day we sell their home.”

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