App aims to ease property inspections

Johannesburg digital start-up Preferental has launched a new property inspection app.
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Johannesburg digital start-up Preferental has launched a new property inspection app.

A new local app from digital start-up business Preferental aims to facilitate virtual property inspections and property application for property owners and renters.

According to Ross Fitzcharles, co-founder and CEO of Preferental: "Preferental is a property management platform that helps owners manage their properties through online property inspections using their mobile phones, market their properties on various property listing Web sites by completing one form and enabling them to sign CPA-compliant lease agreements online. The project has been six months in the making, operating in its public beta phase under the name MyRentr. During that time, we studied our property owners and renters to understand how they would like to interact with our platform and what their needs are. We took all our learnings and implemented this into a solution."

"The app allows real-time inspections with their renters. Photos and comments for each aspect of the property saved and audit logged to protect both parties. The comments are recorded in a conversational format to encourage debate on certain aspects and all communications are stored on the app. The app also has a chatbot to assist and guide the renter in terms of what they should look out for when conducting an inspection. Our platform fee is a monthly 6.5% of the rental amount," he adds.

Addressing the legal aspect, Firtzcharles says the virtual process design and contracts have been developed in collaboration with a specialist property lawyers SSLR Inc.

Fitzcharles adds that to date the app has 1 200 downloads and has 150 property owners, with multiple properties, which are managed through the platform. He adds that most of the owners split between Johannesburg, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal.

"There are currently 1.5 million properties being rented out in South Africa. About 70% of these properties are managed by private property owners. Preferental seeks to serve these owner's needs. Our medium-term plan is to incorporate a maintenance solution for our landlords to assist them in managing their properties with ease. This feature will allow renters to log a maintenance call and give owners the ability to get the maintenance resolved in a shorter space of time," noted Fitzcharles.

The app is available for free on iOS and Google Play.

Kgaogelo Letsebe
Portals journalist

Kgaogelo Letsebe (nee Mamabolo) is a journalist originally from Pretoria, Gauteng. She holds a BTech in Journalism from Tshwane University of Technology (Pretoria campus). With almost 10 years in the media and printing industry, KG as she is known, has honed her writing skills in various media sectors such as business, IT, built environment engineering, and food and beverage technology industry. As an assistant editor, her work has been used in The Butcher magazine, Food Processing Africa digital magazine and Food and Beverage magazine. When she's not frantically chasing deadlines, KG spends time with her husband and daughter, meditates to SA jazz tunes or indulges in African history books.

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