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Why property investors can land more deals with data and insights

27/06/2024

As anyone in property knows – the race to find new investment opportunities is always on. If it’s the right property in the right place, there is no prize for coming second: only the person buying the site (and the vendors) will benefit. That’s why savvy investors are turning to technology to find the best investments – so they can rapidly secure them before their peers.

What is proptech and why you should use it

When hunting for the perfect site to match your property requirement, now is not the time to be a Luddite. Property technology tools (proptech) aren’t merely new-fangled things that will only distract you from your property investment process. The best platforms are easy to use and make your search process much more efficient. And fear not– for the savvy investor, there will be no need to retrain. Not only that, but proptech will also help you find property that you might not otherwise have found at all. Once you are comfortable with the tool, you can be confident that it will soon replace your traditional, time-consuming manual processes.

Assess at speed and stay green

Property tech gives you the information you need, to find sites more easily, so you can rapidly make a sound, data-based investment decision. And once you’ve found the right opportunity, the key is to move at speed – and that's where tech comes in: you can quickly assess whether an opportunity is viable ahead of another investor. The tech (if it’s good) will then give you the information so you can connect with the vendors so you can make the deal to secure it.

Sitting at your home or office in front of a screen can easily replace traditional methods such as driving around a location to see what’s for sale. Whilst that’s a great way to gauge how an area feels, it can also be unreliable as there's no data to back it up. It’s also an inefficient way to use your time and is environmentally damaging – best avoided then.

Nimbus ownership and info panel

Proptech lets you analyse a site from afar, so you can make data-based decisions from the comfort of your desk.

 

Why proptech is essential for property investing

Put bluntly, these days you’ll struggle to find the best projects without property technology. If you do locate something that seems suitable, without a data-based proptech tool it is going to be difficult to gather all the information required to assess the site, the surrounding properties, and the neighbourhood. This can lead to incorrect assumptions and can lead to major mistakes – for example, you could overbid and reduce your profit, or underbid and therefore lose out entirely.

Even if you do succeed with a manual approach, it is certainly not a scalable method. This leaves you with only on-market opportunities. This approach is reactive and leaves properties that have likely already been turned down by many investors – which will likely give you much lower returns and be more competitive.  

Apartments

 

6 property investment approaches– and which one is best

Of course, before the arrival of dedicated, specialist proptech tools, traditional approaches would be used to find and assess property. Let’s run through the pros and cons of these.

1. A local agent

Pros: You learn about the property before it is on the market.

Cons: You will need to spend time building a network of reliable agents and they will often have existing long-standing relationships, and you’ll have to break into that circle. You will also have to pay them a fee.

2. Land Registry

Pros: This provides details of the name and address of the owners and contains detailed information on easements (e.g., access rights and parking rights), restrictive covenants, mortgages, maintenance responsibilities, lease agreements, transfers, conveyances, historical rights, tenure (e.g., freehold, leasehold or commonhold), title number, purchase price and more.

Cons: Each title must be bought individually – which is time-consuming and offers limited information.


3. Valuation Office Agency

Pros: The VOA enables you to check a commercial property’s size and rateable value. Local councils use this to calculate a site's business rates.

Cons: Address matching is an arduous process, which makes finding the correct rateable value for the property challenging.

4. Google Maps

Pros: Its Street View feature shows what a property looks like and enables you to get a feel for the surrounding area.
Cons: As you can’t see the depth of the building it doesn’t enable you to understand the scope for development – and it doesn’t provide any information about the property’s value. 

5. Online property markets

Pros: You can find on-market properties using websites and apps such as Rightmove and Zoopla, without leaving your home.

Cons: There’s lots of competition accessing this same information from the same source, driving up the price you’ll pay to secure the property – and consequently driving down your returns. The best locations are also likely to have already been turned down by those with local knowledge. 

6. A specialised, dedicated, property investment platform.

This is the ideal option to identify potential off-market properties and then go direct-to-vendor. It means you can qualify sites quickly and get in touch with the owner to seal the deal – before someone else does. What’s more, the process is highly scalable, so once you’ve found a successful strategy, you can simply do it again. Today’s savvy, successful investors are leveraging these tools and making significant returns.

 

Nimbus - picture of offices

 

How to choose your tool

If you are now considering an all-in-one, dedicated solution, it’s worth flagging two key features to look out for.

  1. Make sure residential and commercial availability and comparables are included.

In light of recent changes to permitted development rights, successful property development and investment strategies often involve converting the use of a property to maximise its value.

Converting commercial to residential under Class MA is a prime example – which is why you need access to both classes. This is because if it is converted to a different use class you need to be confident of a property’s current value versus its potential value.

Nimbus is the only tool on the market to provide this information, so if you’re looking to convert from office or retail to residential, Nimbus is what you’ve been looking for.

To learn about converting from office to residential under Class MA  along with other potential strategies, check out our residential eBook guide.

Nimbus Residential eBook image to free download

 

  1. Ensure it highlights profitable opportunities.

Any tool worth its salt needs to instantly pinpoint the properties and sites where you can add value. This is how you save time and secure the best investments before your peers. The key element to look out for here is where they offer comprehensive property data. If the tool doesn’t have both breadth and depth, it won’t be able to enable you to pinpoint the most viable options for development in terms of planning and financial returns.

A great feature to look out for is if they offer pre-set tools that you can use as a shortcut to find properties that meet your investment criteria – and most importantly, flag if they are financially viable. Among the strategies that you might consider are the following examples.

  • Converting commercial buildings for residential use or sometimes a more valuable alternative commercial use.
  • Building new houses or flats on land (back gardens, side gardens, corner plots).​
  • Demolishing a house to build multiple units.
  • Demolishing commercial buildings to build new houses or flats.​
  • Unlocking previously undevelopable airspace to develop flats or extend houses under the new permitted development rights.​
  • Extending existing HMOs to increase the number of lettable rooms.​
  • Converting commercial buildings in residential areas to HMOs.

 

Why Nimbus is the go-to for 1,000s of property professionals

If you are looking to up your game as a property investor or developer, Nimbus could be the one for you. It's an all-in-one tool that helps property investors quickly find, assess and secure imminent opportunities.

1. Find sites – easily

Nimbus includes comprehensive data on all properties and sites in England and Wales (Scotland coming soon!). Once you know the criteria for the property/land you are looking for, you can use the filters to find sites that match your criteria. This process is super quick with Nimbus (it takes minutes) but without it, or with a similar tool, it’s virtually impossible or would take days to compile the information.

Once you have located sites you simply add them to the built-in workflow tool (My Sites) and you can then use a letter campaign to the owners of these sites (the direct-to-vendor letter-sending tool makes that easy). You then wait for the responses – you can expect a 5-10% response rate and of those, perhaps 10% of the responders are likely to proceed with a sale. 

The critical benefit here is that purchasing “off-market” is usually the best way to pay less than market value and increase your chance to add the maximum value when developed.

2. Get the best information to make an investment decision

Nimbus leverages comparable sales data to show what residential and commercial properties have previously sold for and what properties are on the market in any given area, as well as index the likely current value.

Why this is crucial to investors: It helps you make a more informed decision on whether a property is a sensible investment, and that planning is likely to be granted - as you can see other similar sites and planning applications in the area as well as the success rates for similar nearby developments.

3. Connecting with owners/planners/architects/investor

In Nimbus, you can export the details of all planning applications and filter by different criteria to find the planners, architects, developers, etc. for similar properties – such as converting offices to flats.

Why this is crucial to investors: This means you can go directly to specialists who will have the skills and knowledge you want to make a similar project successful in that area.

 

Nimbus: the face of a modernised industry

There are many tools out there to make property investment quicker and easier. Whilst the more traditional tools are also readily at your fingertips, they could force you to miss out on opportunities, pay premium prices – or worse, leave your finances tied up in a bad investment.

The property industry has changed and is modernising. Nimbus provides a single source of trusted and interlinked information, which addresses the market's requirements as it moves to be more digitally led. Kevin Norman, head of property at Insomnia Cookies, says “You couldn't employ someone at the cost for a Nimbus subscription and get that level of detail in the time that you get it. It's a no-brainer for anyone who's looking to expand in residential development… it’s a must-have tool for me.”

Loved by 1000s of the most successful property entrepreneurs, Nimbus enables property investors and professionals to find the best off-market opportunities and make decisions quickly and with confidence.

If you want to see the platform in action, book a free personalised 1-2-1 demo with a Nimbus expert today.

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