12.8.21

The Propcast: What Exactly Do Tenants Want in 2021?

In this episode The Propcast talks to Helen Kings from Touchstone, and Tom Allason from Residently about their partnership to improve the customer experience within the rental market, new changes coming into play that can affect the rental space, and what tenants really want in 2021.

Click here to listen to this episode, and here is a sneak preview of our chat below!

12.8.21

Key Insights From This Episode

  • I had the realisation that what most of the world are going to spend the most on for the rest of their lives, has an inconsistent customer experience that enjoys no brand loyalty Tom Allason
  • I'm a firm believer that businesses can only really be very good at one thing – Tom Allason
  • In four years, the expectation from our residents and our landlords have massively increased – Helen Kings
  • COVID has also brought together one change - You've got an overall shift towards renting from home ownership – Tom Allason
  • The fastest growing demographic of renters in the US and the UK are the affluent people who can afford to buy but choosing not to, because ownership is not really compatible with their lifestyle – Tom Allason
  • renting really is about flexibility and convenience – Tom Allason
  • If we properly measure, record, analyse and use data, we can make a real difference to our client’s portfolio performance – Helen Kings
  • Folks have realised the need to invest in customer experience, and how important retention and engagement with renters is – Tom Allason
  • Data, both property and customer related, is absolutely at the corner of our understanding of how particular assets perform – Helen Kings

 

About Our Guests

Helen Kings

https://www.linkedin.com/in/helenlouisekings?originalSubdomain=uk

Helen joined Touchstone as Managing Director in January 2017. She's passionate about making people's experience of renting the very best it can be. As increasing numbers turn to the private rented sector, she believes customers should expect a quality product and professional experience when renting. Results driven, Helen is focused on growing Touchstone's business, while also ensuring our customers and clients receive the very highest levels of service and expertise.

Her career to date has included working for some of the UK’s largest and well-known retailers, including Aldi and Somerfield. Before joining Touchstone, Helen was Sales Director at Compass Group, a market leader in contract catering and FM support services. Her retail background means she really understands what makes great customer service. She believes by providing the pinnacle of customer experience, we deliver customer satisfaction and the best returns for her clients.

 

Tom Allason

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomall/?originalSubdomain=bm

Tom Allason is a serial marketplace entrepreneur known for founding eCourier (acquired Royal Mail), Shutl (acquired eBay), Rehaus where he is a non-exec, and Residently where he is CEO. Prior to founding Residently, Tom spent four years as an executive at eBay, during which he rented five homes in three countries, each time repeating the same stressful and time consuming process. Tom's current venture, Residently wants to be the number one home brand and aim to give power and control to renters. Residently aims to do this by simplifying the rental process from finding the perfect pad, to furnishing it, and finding an expert Home Services all at the tap of a button

 

About Our Host

Louisa Dickins

https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisa-dickins-ab065392/?originalSubdomain=uk

Louisa started her career in property working at a well-known estate agency in London. Realising her people skills, she moved over to Lloyd May to pursue a career in recruitment. She now is a Director at LMRE, who are a specialist recruitment firm driven by PropTech and recruitment professionals, and Louisa oversees their 5 core areas. Louisa co-founded LMRE and provides a constructive recruitment platform to the new disruptors in real estate. Louisa is also on the board of Directors at UK PropTech Association (UKPA).

About LMRE

www.lmre.tech

LMRE believe there is a better way to recruit. LMRE focus on a more comprehensive, client led focus delivering exceptional talent to the place at the time. They are passionate about the industry and passionate about people's careers. LMRE spend time with each client to become and an extension of the business, and their transparency and core values help them grow with the sector. LMRE simplify recruitment and innovate with our clients and evolve the people driven, PropTech community.

 

Resources Mentioned

LMRE website www.lmre.tech

Touchstone website www.touchstoneresi.co.uk

Residently website www.residently.com

Qube MRI software www.mrisoftware.com

Tom’s contact: Tom@resident.ly 

Helen’s contact: Helen.kings@touchstoneresi.co.uk

 

Episode Transcript

Louisa

Hi everyone and welcome to The Propcast. My name is Louisa Dickins, host of The Propcast and co-founder of LMRE, the global PropTech recruitment and search consultancy. In this podcast we will explore how the digital evolution of the real estate industry is impacting the property market. The aim of each episode is to introduce you to a PropTech innovator and discuss how their work has created a shift in focus when it comes to digitising the built environment.

 

Shameless plug, but I’m honoured to be a judge at this year’s 8th annual Real Estate Tech Awards, hosted by CREtech. Applications are closing soon so head to their website to apply and I look forward to awarding a prize to one of you in October. If you’re interested in finding out more about PropTech, or applying for a job in this space, or keen to know who the big players are that are moving and shaking the real estate industry up, we have you covered and we’ll be bringing you an episode each week to connect you with the VCs, PropTech start-ups and real estate professionals from around the globe. Also a big shout out to our sponsors of the podcast ReimTech and CREtech who you will hear from during the episode.

 

Introducing Our Guests

Hi everyone and welcome to The Propcast. Today we'll be discussing the changing consumer trends in renting towards simplicity, convenience and excellent customer service. When it comes to the management of rental properties, shifting expectations have resulted in residents expecting the highest levels of customer service, including immediate action and fixes for issues. Our guests on today's podcast Helen Kings, the managing director of Touchstone and Tom Allason, founder of Residently will discuss how Touchstone are keeping pace through the intelligent application with Residently’s tech and service marketplace. So welcome to the show, Helen and Tom.

 

Helen

Thanks, Louisa it's great to be here.

 

Tom

Likewise!

 

Louisa

But first of all, a very brief introduction to our guests. So Helen who's joining us, has extensive experience in retail, FM and housing and leads Touchstone, the award winning residential property management company, which is part of Places For People Group,Touchstone now manages something like 16,000 homes in the PRS sector across every single postcode in the UK. Helen also sits on the residential property board at the British Property Federation, and is a non-executive director at Cirencester Housing, and named as a leading light for Kindness and Leadership in 2019. And Tom who is joining us from Bermuda, which I just found out, is a serial marketplace entrepreneur and is known for founding Shutl, which was acquired by eBay and Ecourier acquired by the Royal Mail. And prior to founding Residently, Tom spent four years as an executive at eBay, during which he rented five homes in three countries, each time repeating the same stressful and time consuming process. Tom's current venture, Residently wants to be the number one home brand and aim to give power and control to renters. They'll do it by simplifying the rental process from finding the perfect pad, to furnishing it and finding an expert Home Services at the tap of a button. And so yet again, thank you both for joining me. And I think we are ready to get started with the questions. Tom, why don't you start us off with in telling our listeners what the story behind the Residently, how does it help the tenant as well as the landlord?

 

How does Residently help the tenant and landlord?

 

Tom

Sure, I'm delighted to Louisa. So I guess for me, I had a renovation on my home in London and as a result of that I needed a place to live. I haven't rented a property in London in a decade but I was at a nicer end of the market that I'd been at previously and it had been 10 years. So I thought this would be not necessarily a fun process but I thought it'd be relatively easy. And the short version of the story is that it wasn't. And at the end, I did find the place, it was incredibly stressful. But then even living in a rented property after you've lived in properties that you've owned, it takes a little getting used to. And anyway, I thought this was something that someone should do something about. But as a smug property owner, I didn't think that someone should be me. And then I ended up getting relocated for work, first to San Francisco, then to San Jose, and then to Seattle. And each time I repeated this exact same process. And I guess I'm a little bit of a slow learner but along the way, I had that realisation that what most of the world are going to spend the most on for the rest of their lives, has an inconsistent customer experience that enjoys no brand loyalty. And so the idea was pretty simple. It was, what if you can create an experience for the renter that removes all friction from the process of renting and elevates the experience of renting? And if you can do that you can earn loyalty with the renter. And in doing so, build a brand in that segment of the customers wallet. And so that was what we set out to do.

 

Louisa

And when did you start Residently, how many years ago?

 

Tom

So I had initially funded and incubated the very earliest proof of concept while I was still at eBay, which was in 2017. In 2018 I left eBay ready to go full time on this and we started off in London, then we launched Paladin in New York, we went out national across the UK.

 

Louisa

Awesome. That's not bad for a few years work, congratulations. And now Helen, how do know Tom? How did the partnership come about between Residently and Touchstone come about?

 

How did Residently and Touchstone’s partnership come about?

Helen

So when I joined Touchstone, which was about four years ago now, one of the things that was really clear to me was that it was a really solid company, it had a really safe pair of hands. I know we're really good at property management and we have all of the kind of foundations and systems and processes that we needed to do that. And we had a good resident portal, we have some online maintenance reporting, but we didn't have that really forward thinking customer focused, intuitive tech that we could put on top of it. And I knew really from day one, that if we could combine that with a really solid business that we already had, we'd have a winning combination. So really early on, we started to look at all the tech on the market. And you'll know there's lots of PropTech ideas out there, and four years ago, there was a lot that was ready to go, there was a lot that was still being developed. But there was nothing I could find that really put the customer at the heart of the journey.

 

And that really importantly integrated seamlessly with our existing systems. And so we did a lot of work internally, we drew up some digital roadmaps in terms of everything that we wanted to achieve. And then we looked at Residently and it was a little bit of an epiphany that everything that was on our digital roadmap was either already there in Residently, or there was a plan to build it. It looks good, it's intuitive, it's contemporary, it's something that I would enjoy using as a customer. And most importantly, it's customer focused rather than property focused. We had a really good existing system that helps us manage property but to really deliver that residence experience, we needed something different. And that's what Residently brought to us and why we wanted to form a partnership.

 

Louisa

How was the whole integration, where there with any obstacles in the way of this partnership? You work across a lot of your property management system, but how was the whole integration process at the beginning?

 

Were there any obstacles to the integration of the Residently and Touchstone partnership?

Helen

It's still a journey in progress and I think we'll talk later about integration, but that's critical. Tom and I had a very honest conversation right at the beginning, where we talked about anything that involves double keying, or lack of efficiency wasn't going to work. So it was really important that the back end of Residently was important as the front end. And so that's been something that we've worked through a lot together, and we continue to work with. But I think it's putting together really well. I think anyone that runs a property business knows that there's lots of different sexy, exciting PropTech things on the market but actually for me, what's most important is finding a team that you can work with and that you have a relationship with, so you can continue to work together to finesse that product. And I think that's what we found in our partnership.

 

Louisa

And I guess in terms of, Tom maybe this is one for you as well, there’s been plenty of changes in regulations in the rental market over the past few years, one being the tenant fee ban. How does that affect your business and product? And then probably go ties in quite nicely to what Helen just said about and being able to change and adapt your product to meet the client's new needs.

 

How do new changes in rental market regulation affect your business? 

Tom

So I said it's interesting. So in the tenant fee ban itself was probably quite helpful for us, because we as a business we don't have any fees for our landlord or property management partners. And we don't have any fees to the renter. The way that we monetise is we take a commission of home services that we enable on our platform that are provided to the renter at point of need throughout the life cycle. And what we think of the life cycle is, the period we're trying to find a property, the period where you found the property and you're trying to secure that property, the period where you're living in that property, and then what happens when you move out. And so by being able to monetise those things in a virtuous manner, as in the service, the services don't cost any more to the renter, and it's a better experience than going direct to a partner. We've been able to monetise without having to charge the landlord or our property management partner, which at a time when agents are getting squeezed slightly and they're having to pass on their fees is something we were not going to be able to do.

 

The other thing for us, we shifted our business model quite a bit from when we first started. And the approach that we took was to do everything ourselves, so that we could understand the whole end to end experience. And that at the time included doing property management, we felt we needed to be able to control every part of what was driving that experience to the end renter. And when Helen and I started chatting, it was very clear that we had an alignment in how we viewed the renter as customer. And I'm a firm believer that businesses can only really be very good at one thing. And for us to spend a meaningful amount of time in product and engineering a resource, developing solutions for property management, when you've got someone who's an expert who's been doing nothing but this for as a as a company for decades, just law of comparative advantage, it makes sense to divide and conquer! And so we actually changed our model, I'm very glad that we started off doing those things, because it meant that we had a reasonable understanding of some complexity. But it also meant that it made it a bit easier for us to understand and appreciate the value that a partner like Touchstone and their expertise can bring.

 

Louisa

So we spoke about the changes in the product, and that's something also come down from changes in the market, with the landlords and what your tenants are looking for. What's the big change that you have seen from a landlord and tenants perspective?

 

What changes in the rental market have there been for landlords and tenants?

Helen

I think I've been in this world for four years now and even in that short amount of time, the expectation from our residents and from our landlords have massively increased, which is quite right. They expect to seamless intuitive service that they can access 24/7, and for me there are 4 million households privately renting in England at the moment that's grown massively over the last 20 or so years. And our mission has been to improve renting and really kind of challenge that stereotype and the negative stereotype of renting. So as our customers want more, we've had to step up to that mark. We've got to a point now where we have really good allAgents ratings, where customers are recommending us, we've invested really considerably in recruitment and getting the right property management teams. And so this kind of next step of the digitalisation is critical from a customer requirement. So just like you and I want to return things on Amazon without talking to anyone at 5pm at night, our customers want to access their rent accounts, and they want to make payments, and they want to check up on maintenance issue that they put in, all of those things need to be seamless, easy, intuitive. And that's absolutely the expectation, it's almost a ticket to play now, rather than a USP.

 

Louisa

Yes. And Tom, have you seen any particular standout changes from your clients?

 

Tom

Well, I think the two big changes that have that have happened and COVID has also brought together is one, you've got an overall shift towards renting from home ownership. And the fact of the matter is that renters today are going to be renting a lot longer than they used to. And I think the impact on that at the market, is that the value of an individual renter, in a world where people rented for a short period of time until they owned, there wasn't a whole lot of point or value in creating a great experience for that renter. Yet in a world where some demographics and lots of people talk about that trend to renting being driven by high property prices. But what's really interesting for me is actually, the fastest growing demographic of renters in the US and the UK are the affluent people who can afford to buy but choosing not to, because ownership is not really compatible with their lifestyle. Not compatible for a few reasons, right. One is tying up a meaningful amount of capital in an illiquid asset that isn't appreciating at the same kind of levels that it used to for previous generations is simply not a very good investment. And If you're going to live in a property for less than six years, the transaction costs associated with buying and selling that property just make it not a very sensible option. And the fact of the matter is, we live in a world now where we're not in jobs for 30 to 40 years, we're in jobs for three to four years. And if you want to be able to maximise your value, you need to be able to move and change.

 

And so renting really is about flexibility and convenience. And the rental process today isn't very flexible, and isn't very convenient. And so that's one side of it. The other side for me, is that consumer expectations are moving so fast, in pretty much every other segment of the wallet. We have really high expectations of service over the relatively trivial parts of our wallet. We expect to be able to very secure a taxi, a takeaway or a trip away in seconds, and yet for the thing we're spending the most on, and we'll spend the most on for the rest of our lives, that fundamental need of shelter, safety and security of us and our families, we tolerate something lesser. And we tend to do that in every element of our wallet until there is an alternative. And so the thing about consumer expectations is that they only ever go in one direction. And so that's both a challenge and an opportunity. And COVID has, as in many areas amplified this impact, because suddenly for the first time, landlords have been starting to find downward pressure on rent. And particularly London and New York, which are our first two markets. Which has meant that for the first time folks have realised the need to invest in customer experience, and how important retention and engagement with renters is. And so I think there's a there's a fundamental shift that has happened and is continuing.

 

Louisa

And there's also been a massive shift to businesses realising the importance of data and clean data. Touchstone is a massive business Helen, have you seen TouchStone changing their approach to the recording or using of data and making sure you're using a more effectively?

 

How is Touchstone collecting and using data in real estate? 

Helen

Yes, this certainly wouldn't be a property podcast if we didn't talk about data at least, it's a hot topic. Yes, data has always been, but certainly grows more and more critical every day to us and to our clients. We know that if we properly measure, record, analyse and use it, we can make a real difference to our client’s portfolio performance following appropriate anonymisation compliance. So two years ago now we recruited our first data analyst, and we now just launched a live client reporting dashboard. So our clients can access their data at the touch of a button 24/7, and cut it and shapers as they need it. We're involved in some of the more industry wide data gathering exercises during COVID. It's always a little complex for us, it's not technically our data, it belongs to our clients, we need to make sure that they're happy for us to share it. But with their permission, we then share that in. I think what's interesting is that certainly over the last couple of years, the definition of data has really changed. So we no longer talk about things just like tenancy length or rent levels. But we look at lessons to customer engagement. So for example, what events have attracted the most customers so we can plan future events. And data, both property and customer related, is absolutely at the corner of our understanding of how particular assets perform, and by extension, then how we can better assess those future opportunities for our partners.

 

Louisa

Yes, I guess importance of sharing it as well. The idea of who controls the data varies from country to country, which is always a hot debate topic. Speaking from differences in country to country, Tom you mentioned you launched in London, you launched in New York, two the biggest cities in the world. What are the next big plans and how do two of these markets compare?

 

How does launching in London and New York real estate markets compare?

 

Tom

I’d say the customer is the same, right? The renter is the same, the renters’ expectations are the same, perhaps Americans and New Yorkers in particular, are slightly more demanding but fundamentally, the needs are the same. You don’t want renting a property to be a process that takes up a lot of time and causes a lot of angst, right, and you want living in that home to be delightful. So the renter experience side is pretty much identical. What's very different is the supply side. So landlords, and I think when we started a lot of people thought we were crazy to launch a pilot in New York right at the beginning. And we did it for a couple of reasons. Number one, is we are dead serious about building the world's rental brand and to do that, you need to be thinking about things you need to be thinking globally, from the outset. From my time at eBay, I'd seen how a company could get it so wrong by assuming that everywhere is exactly the same.

 

So what we found was the renter experience, renter needs are the same, but the supply is very different. So in the UK 80% of the market are coming from private landlords, 20% from institutional landlords. In the US it's in reverse, it's pretty much 70% institutional, 30% private. And so we'd actually started to solve in the UK for private landlords, because we thought given that was the majority of the market, that was the sensible place to start. But from talking to institutional landlords in New York, we actually found the approach that we've ended up taking in in the UK, which is to give away our platform for free to large landlords, to property managers soon to estate agents. And using those partners as channels for how to partner and acquire supply for the platform.

 

Louisa

Comparing the markets again, is there is a more of a hunger for adoption in the USA? Just from personal experiences looking at our some of our clients and their growth, if I compare the US to say more like the European market, they’re more open.

 

Tom

We're not expanding in the US at the moment because we feel the product we have today is not yet a winning product in the US where it is in the UK. We've got one more part of the lifecycle we need to cover before we're ready to push the US, so I can’t really comment so much on that. What I can say is that there's been far greater depression of rent in New York than there has been in London. The approach that we're taking now is one of providing national coverage rather than city by city. But I wouldn't particularly want to be a New York landlord today.

 

Louisa

Well, best luck of developing the product. And Helen you have been in the residential real estate space for some time, and you've seen a huge amount of change. What would you say the biggest barrier to the renting property management space is in terms of innovation? What's the biggest change you've seen?

 

What is the biggest barrier to innovation in the renting property management space? 

Helen

I think there's probably two big barriers, one which we're very much starting to overcome as an industry, which is this kind of changing the culture, moving away from the landlord tenant very feudal relationship, to one that absolutely recognises that customers or residents have a choice. And they choose to pay their rent and to remain in this sector we have to provide an experience that lives up to that.

So for me that’s number one, I don't think we can do anything until we've changed that culture. And I think that is really starting to change and certainly a lot of my clients really recognise. I think the more technical barrier is about findings systems that can work really well together. And so there's an increasing tendency to use a suite of systems rather than just a single all-encompassing management tool. We use Qube MRI as our base system but it's really important to us that that can then integrate with other providers like Residently to give us the flexibility to create a bespoke solution that works perfectly for our residents and for our landlords. So if we're going to be feet of foot and we are going to keep up with that customer expectation, we have to create that flexibility for systems to work together.

 

Louisa

And the final question, Tom what's next for this partnership between you and Touchstone, have you got some big plans?

 

What are Touchstone and Residently planning next? 

Tom

We have huge plans! So effectively, we started in a pilot with a relatively small number of properties, while we started to figure out and understand each other's capabilities. And we're now expanding beyond that pilot across other parts of Helen’s portfolio. The key things that we've had to do is, as Helen mentioned, is integrate with the other partners that Touchstone work with, which we're making pretty good progress on. So prior to our partnership, we were operating with a relatively small number of properties and in London. And we're now operating with larger number of properties across the UK. And so I think, what were the Yes, I messed that up for you did No,

 

Louisa

And Helen what about you, any improvements or changes in the partnership or big plans you have?

 

Helen

Yes, I think one of the really exciting things for me will be to start to be able to measure the metrics of what we're improving through working with Residently. So looking at things like our average amount of days from a customer submitting an offer, through to signing a tenancy agreement, we think we can cut that time by 50% by using resume technology. And I think some of those really measurable KPIs, I want to see those coming to the fore now. And I think over the next month or two months, as we're rolling out across new client portfolios, we'll really start to have the kind of volume of data to see the changes we're making.

 

Louisa

Awesome, always goes back to the data doesn't it. And we're coming to the final part of the podcast, and it's called the LMRE part, which is L lessons learned in your career, M mention anyone or just give someone a shout out, R any regrets in your career, Tom yours might be moving and working in ridiculous time zones. And E what are you most excited about in the future of PropTech? So Tom, are there any big lessons you've learned in your career?

 

Lessons learned in your career in PropTech? 

Tom

So I would say there are two things in particular that I think have had a very positive impact. So the first one is not to underestimate the willingness of people and experts in particular, to be willing to help. If you're able to reach the right person, ask them the right question in a way that shows that you understand their needs, we've had this a couple of times where there's been someone we're like, Wow, if we can get this person to understand and to help us with this, and I'd say it's probably happened two or three times over career And just making the effort, you'd be surprised at who is willing to help. So asking for help is underestimated. The other one for me is also I'm a believer in karma. There have been a few times where you're doing the right thing, from the perspective of making an extra bit of effort, you could maybe say it's just a way of looking optimistically at the world but I'd say that there have probably been four or five transformational moments career wise. Maybe I'll give an example, so my last company Shutl, we needed a very large multi-channel retailer to build our business off and I knew nothing about retail, or even what multi-channel retail was. But I did look up on LinkedIn and first of all, I established the largest multi-channel retailer in the UK is Argos.

 

And I didn't really know much about Argos from beyond the catalogue as a child, and I look up on LinkedIn, and the guy who is the multi-channel director at Argos, literally the decision maker was someone that I had come across very randomly probably five or six years previously in a previous life, who had used to be an investor. We ended up going with someone else on the deal but we kept a relationship, I introduced someone I had worked with to him, that someone ended up working in a company, that company ended up getting acquired by someone else that I'd introduced. And it just happened that this guy was in the exact position to be able to have a very meaningful impact, in our business Argos was the client that we scaled within the UK before we took our business to the US and before we were acquired in the US. And I think there have been there have been a handful of those, which for me I can trace back and I can look back, and I can say this is because of that. And so ultimately it's a treat people right, do the right thing.

 

Louisa

Yes, I couldn't agree more with you. And it's as nice when you can actually properly reflect and work out and specific moments as well and recognise. And, Helen, what about you, is there any lesson that sticks out for you?

 

Helen

I think actually in a similar vein, one of the things I've realised as I've got a bit more experienced in the world of work is that we don't have to conform to stereotypes. So I think when I started out, I was always very professional and very formal. And actually, I've learned over the years that it's far more effective to bring your authentic self to work, even though it's not quite as perfect. You mentioned earlier kindness and leadership. For me, that's just everything. People work for people they like they work with people they like, they buy from people they like. And people give so much more when they feel like they're trusted and valued rather than micromanaged. So from my perspective, the more we can almost just relax into our authentic selves, which sounds very Californian and give that kindness and compassion and empathy that we would give, the stronger we are.

 

Louisa

Very good point and definitely a good takeaway. This is the fun question, anyone you guys would like to give a shout out to?

 

Special mentions in the PropTech world? 

Tom

So for me it would be my co-founders, both at Residently and Shutl, because being an entrepreneur and founding a business, it's assumed that you've got what it takes, but one person never does. And for me having amazing co-founders has been the thing that has made my life so much easier. So thank you to Sam and Steven, particularly.

 

Louisa

What a lovely shout out, I completely agree with that. I don't know where I’d be without my co-founders as well. Helen what about you?

 

Helen

Mine would be my property management teams and the support teams. Property Management is not a glamorous business, it's hard work. It's a huge amount of responsibility and it's often looking after people who are quite cross about something that's happened in their homes. So my guys who work in this business of rock stars, and I have every bit of kind of gratitude and respect for what they do every day. And they're brilliant and we're so lucky to have them.

 

Louisa

Yes, I think property management is a very thankless task. Tom any regrets in your career?

 

Tom

I did used to have regrets. I was a very naughty boy when I was at university, I started with fake ID business which got me in a lot of trouble. And I was effectively on the run for about five years and it was why I ended up having to become an entrepreneur, I was pretty much unemployable. But if you had asked me for over a 10-year period, what the one thing I could have changed would be, the one regret I had would have been doing that. However 10/15 years later on, if I had done that, I wouldn't had to become an entrepreneur. And so it's funny how perspective changes things and time. So I don't think regrets a very healthy.

 

Louisa

Yes, I agree. What about you, Helen?

 

Helen

I'm the same, my mantra is very much you don't fail until you quit. And it took me five tries to pass my driving test but because I kept going, no one, apart from all of your wonderful listeners now know, that it took to pass. And I think that's the same in life as it is in careers, people make mistakes, we all make mistakes. But if we're humble enough to recognise those mistakes, pivot, fix them do something else, then there's nothing to regret. I think I'm really lucky, I love my job.

 

Louisa

Yes, unfortunately, it's learning from your mistakes that’s hard! But we will make them every single day, I make about a million. Okay, the final question, guys. So what are you both most excited about in the future of real estate innovation?

What are you excited about for the future of real estate innovation? 

Tom

So for me, I'm excited that the prospect of creating complete liquidity within the rental market, which I think is the natural evolution of what happens with rising expectations and adoption of new technology. I don't think that ownership is very efficient. I'm a believer in the law of comparative advantage and so I think when we get to a place where there is liquidity and there is no friction, we end up all with a lot more time and we end up with a lot more capital, which we can deploy in parts of our lives that will have a far higher return on investment than they do today.

 

Louisa

Helen, what about you, is it going to be property management related? Is it going to be maybe a different vertical you're interested in?

 

Helen

Oh, now I'm going to be very boring. It's all about property management! Really passionately, we want the private rental sector to be one that people choose to live in, and that they talk about being amazing that they feel enhances their lives. And that's been our mission for the last four years. And what we've created and what we're creating with PropTech just puts the cherry on that cake in terms of making it a really desirable sector to live and work. And so I'm really excited about what we're doing and what we're going to go on to do in the future.

 

Louisa

Awesome, best of luck to both you and also for the future development of the partnership between Residently and Touchstone. Unfortunately, we've come to the end of the podcast and, Tom what's the best way for people to connect with you?

 

How to connect with Residently?

 

Tom

Send me an email Tom@resident.ly

 

Louisa

Awesome. Thank you for that, and Helen?

 

How to connect with Touchstone?

Helen

Much the same, our website is www.touchstoneresi.co.uk I'm Helen.kings@touchstoneresi.co.uk and we're also on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Louisa

Awesome. Well look, thank you guys for joining me and I'm looking forward to catching up with you after the show. Thank you for joining us this week on the podcast and a big thanks to our guests and our sponsors CREtech and Reimtech. Make sure you visit our website www.lmre.tech where you can subscribe to our newsletter, keep up with our industry news and events or if you’re looking for your next career move it’s all on there. The Propcast can be found on iTunes, Spotify and YouTube where all good content is found. Whilst you're at it, if you found value in the show, we'd appreciate if you could spread the word and tell and friend about it or even write us a review, and I’ll catch you next week.

 

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