While some Australians may be slugging it out at inner-city auctions, willing to pay $1 million for a one bedroom apartment, a growing number are heading further out to start fresh, picking up parcels of land on which to build their own dream home.
However, a piece of land isn’t exactly a clean slate – there are still things such as location and amenities to consider, as well as whether there are any restrictions on development.
To help inform consumers around land buying is Landguide, a Western Australian platform allowing consumers to find and compare residential blocks of land for sale across the state.
Cofounded by Chris Bashall, Ben Pearse, and Mark Campbell, it allows buyers to compare up to six blocks of land once, detailing information around factors such as sustainability, dimensions, position, local amenities, and so on.
The idea came to Campbell after buying his first property through a sales agent who he believes didn’t have his best interests in mind.
“I paid more for an inferior location. This spurred me to see if there was a product which could have helped me through this big decision. I found that nothing existed and so teamed up with Chris and Ben to further evaluate the market,” he said.
Pearse, who had been working as a civil engineer in the land development industry for five years, told Campbell that land is relatively standard, and that there are typically a number of developers operating within key development corridors, and across the state, offering similar products.
Campbell explained, “Ben said the biggest problem was in the smaller developers not being able to compete with the larger ones in terms of marketing and exposure. We engaged Chris, our data expert and we went about building a database and launching a platform that enabled people to compare blocks of land.”
The platform aims to provide prospective buyers with a full picture of what land and area they are buying into, including current and future points of interest, infrastructure and roads, suburb profiles, sustainability ratings and region scheme data.
As well as pulling in data from sources such as the WA Government’s Landgate website, the platform allows a developer to input their masterplans, sales lists, points of interest, and sales collateral, which is then listed in a visual format.
“Rather than static PDFs and sales brochures, the data will be displayed in the one place and in a format that is more easily digestible for buyers. Developers can login via an admin section and manage their listings manually. Alternatively we can link directly and are able to ingest API feeds typical to all the major real estate platforms for automated updates,” Campbell said.
Enquiries coming through Landguide are then sent directly to the nominated sales agent, or put through the developer’s CRM.
Meanwhile, a prospective buyer can search by suburb, estate, region, or by interacting with the map; they can search and compare up to six properties at a time, before connecting directly with a seller if interested.
Rather than advertising, Landguide will be looking to implement a monthly subscription model for land sellers, as well as a data analytics product based on how land buyers interact with the website.
“Using gamification, we will get even more current data about home buyers than any other website, which when combined with social media login credentials, will give us a very clear picture of the current home buyer: what features they like and are interested in as well as where they are and how far they travel,” Campbell said.
Taking this concept a step further is House and Land, founded by Dean Kyros.
The platform looks to enable buyers to find their perfect parcel of land, and then puts to work an algorithm that matches this land with a home design that best suits its particular features, or vice versa.
As concerns around property prices grow, House and Land looks to help those anxious to get into the market that they do have the option to make their own choices when it comes to what their property is and looks like.
A land developer, Kyros said House and Land was born out of the frustration he experienced because of the disconnect between the various parties involved in the building, development, and sales process.
“The lack of technical sophistication of consumers led to a dysfunctional, time consuming and costly building, development and sales process which often ended with a nil result and duplication of work. It was designed to address the difficulty in matching house and land buyers with the appropriate selection of building and land to expedite the sales process,” Kyros said.
In most cases, Kyros said, a buyer will select an allotment of land, and then search a builder or developer’s individual websites – if they even have one – to find suitable display homes, land estate design, plans, and images.
“Failing that they resorted to searching the newspaper for the open times and locations of display villages and estates – a time expensive and frustrating exercise, in a world that is time poor and demanding.”
Allowing builders, developers, and sales agent to list their land and designs, the platform then enables a consumer who makes a selection to then get in contact with both the builder and developer.
Beyond the House and Land platform itself, the startup offers its matching algorithm to builders and developers through a SaaS model, to integrate a matching feature on their own websites. Offering this service, Kyros said, is key to helping the industry and consumer understanding of the product grow.
“The new home builders of Australia are generally not aware of problems they may face during the process. We therefore have a responsibility to educate them, whilst allowing ease of use and therefore champion a new way forward. Data becomes integral, as does constantly monitoring market changes and most of all, listening to the industry to ensure we continue to provide an authentic solution to support the industry,” he said.
Primarily targeting new home builders, Kyros said the startup is “most” active in WA, South Australia, and Victoria, while it also recently expanded into Queensland and will soon be looking to step up its presence in NSW.
Image: Mark Campbell, Chris Bashall, Ben Pearse. Source: Supplied.