Paul Halliwell, 21 June 2017
Ideology Consulting independently reviewed View My Chain. You can read the full review below.
You’re going to have to indulge me and let me take a trip down Memory Lane…
I’m of an age when I remember filling out what we called ‘Neg Sheets’. It was an A4 piece of paper with vendor and applicant details down either side with space for their respective legal and financial information, and it’s accomplice, was the ‘Chain Sheet’.
This too was an A4 sheet of paper, typically badly photocopied and requiring you to complete all the information you could find out about the chain below. You’d start with the preceding link’s property address and hope you’d got the right estate agent’s details to then verify the next link.
If you were lucky, you may also have the solicitor details where you’d start adding ‘Searches Received’, ‘Survey Done,’ or ‘Mortgage Offer’ dates. And you then repeat until finally you breathed a sigh of relief that you’d found a first-time buyer or a nothing to sell purchaser at the bottom. Happy days!
Fast forward 20 years and a rather clever, new start-up business is hoping to take away all that hassle. Only officially launched in October 2016, View My Chain has already tracked 10,000 properties on its platform and along with some early adopter clients, is able to demonstrate faster completion times and increase sales progression efficiency.
My online demonstration was with Jiten Yagnik the company’s Product Manager. Whilst Jiten is firmly in the technical camp, throughout the early development of View My Chain he made countless visits to estate agents to double check that what was being developed would work in the real world.
And work it does! Once you’ve been signed up and manually verified, the dashboard of all your properties is intuitive and easy to understand:
Information is taken via the standard RM3 feed used by all the portals and CRM suppliers so getting the data in is a quick and easy exercise. On the dashboard you have various iconography that at a glance tells you if a chain is closed at both the top and the bottom.
You can then select a specific property:
And start to work through the various stages:
Naturally, they don’t want to give away too many trade secrets when it comes to the technology and which data sets they’re using but it appears to be a combination of an estate agents standard data feed, Land Registry, various Local Authority Search partners and mortgage applications. The agent can also generate a permission request for the purchaser to grant access to information about their mortgage application which then gets added to the chain of events.
Although still in development, the consumer version gives the buyer and seller access to just their part of the chain. A rather neat function within the consumer view is the chat/messaging feature. A conversation can be logged against the property with the agent receiving an email notification that either the buyer or selling has made a comment. Cleverly, the agent can also respond within the application or via their own email. Both methods will a be logged against the property showing a complete conversation trail.
In the same way that View My Chain can piece together the various parts of a property chain, it can also alert the agent to when things are not progressing as quickly as they should or if there’s been a potential break in the chain.
It’s this kind of functionality that encourages transparency and puts the agent at the heart of the transaction. Rather than blindly progressing sales on a weekly basis, the alerts position the agent as the information authority the moment that something happens. Because you’re getting these notifications quicker than the normal method of phoning, chasing and leaving messages, you get to steer the transaction to a completion quicker. And because you’re driving quicker completions, you’re ultimately putting money in the bank sooner.
There’s still some scope for improvement and Jiten assures me that the product development plan is extensive. For me, this is a great product for those responsible for sale progression. It’s not a people replacement, it’s a tool for enhanced productivity and control. I’d like to see a ‘director’s view’ which gives me a funnel for all my pipeline activity with a monetary value assigned to every stage of my funnel. Finally, if the data can be fed back into the estate agents CRM software, then they’d be no need for multiple systems access with a complete appraisal to payment view.
Ideology Consulting are management consultants who specialise in the UK residential estate agency sector.