Looking to find your next rental property in London? Dreading the search? Well, you may not need to. With the rising popularity of new property app Homie, dealing directly estate agents may be a thing of the past…
Let’s be honest, many of us who have had to hunt for a rental home in London haven’t exactly found it to be an enjoyable experience. There are thousands of less than ideal properties to sift through before you find the right one for you. The listings are spread over various property search engines and estate agents, and just finding and arranging viewings can be a bit of a nightmare.
Enter Homie, a saviour for all time-poor property hunters.
Homie is a property app that is technically still in the start-up phase. But it’s clearly struck a chord with its early users and investors. Their latest crowdfunding efforts saw them raise an impressive £4 million, taking their total investment to £6 million. They’ve stated that the additional funding will be used to extend their coverage in Zones 3 and 4.
The Homie team has already expanded to 21 people, all based in their trendy central London offices in the heart of Westbourne Grove.
So, how does it work?
Homie is an app for house hunters that searches rental properties for users based on their criteria. With a clear and simple interface that’s easy to navigate, it has been likened to dating apps such Match.com and Tinder.
You start off by filling out a number of questions about your property search. Pop in your basic requirements, such as the length of contract you’re looking for, your budget, desired move-in date and how many bedrooms you need. You can also specify whether you’re looking for an unfurnished or furnished place, and if you have a specific neighbourhood in mind. Homie can also recommend neighbourhoods based on the rest of the criteria you’ve submitted.
After you’ve submitted these details, you’ll get a call from one of the Homie team who’ll talk you through what happens next. The contact via phone gives the service an added personal touch.
You new ‘Homie agent’ will then offer up a customised selection of properties that are suited to your needs. They’ll be responsible for all the tasks involved in the hunt such sifting through any fake listings (yes, there is such a thing!) and giving you any information on the neighbourhood the properties are based in.
Based on your availability, the team at Homie then goes ahead to book multiple viewings (about eight to ten) in a 2-hour slot for you. They’ll also book a black cab for your two-hour tour. What’s more, your Homie will join you for the right and offer lots of little tidbits on hidden gems in the local area.
If you like one of the homes from your property ‘tour’ you can go ahead to submit your offer directly from your Homie profile. The team there will also help you deal with any contract queries around paperwork and fees.
Like pretty much every other thing in London, the full service doesn’t come for free. Homie can offer you all their services including the search and the personalised property tour for a one-off payment of £49. If you’re looking for just the recommendations though you can get those for free and arrange the viewings yourself. University of London students, the team at Homie have graciously decided to offer you a 50% discount so their service is student-budget friendly.
Homie claim that the entire hunting, viewing and offer process can be wrapped up within three days.
What’s Their Back Story?
Founder and CEO Alex Eid was inspired to launch the company as he himself is part of “Generation Rent” and has had to endure the trials of a rental property hunt in the city. After helping a friend find a place and move into it, he decided to launch his own service which would be aimed at students and young professional house hunters who were strapped for time.
Eid says that Homie’s aim is to make the rental house hunting process as painless as possible for its users. And for anyone who’s been through it in London, it’s bound to be a better experience than the traditional method!