In their top ten trendiest suburbs listicles, real estate news websites never talk about the mountains of paperwork that come both before and after the auction is won, and for good reason – it’s painful. Buyers and sellers have to liaise with half a dozen different service providers to get a deal done, with each chasing the other up for document after document and signature after signature.
Melbourne startup Rundl, cofounded by Graeme Perkins, Ian Perkins, and Richard Bootle, has created an online platform that aims to streamline the process by connecting buyers with the multiple parties involved in a property transaction in one place, from sellers to finance brokers to real estate agents and conveyancers. Rather than the old rigmarole of sending documents by mail from one office to the next and waiting for signatures, it allows these parties to collaborate and keep each other up to speed more easily.
With the three cofounders all having worked at lawlab, a law firm specialising in conveyancing services, Graeme Perkins said the idea for the platform came from seeing the need to bridge the “geographic geographic divide between the communities that form around service providers.”
“[We] knew that there was a real opportunity in the real estate market to make the entire process of buying and selling a property easier, particularly when dealing with a high volume of repeatable complex transactions,” Perkins said.
“Throughout the life of a property transaction, there are a range of service providers who each deliver a service to help the customer complete one part of the journey. Rundl offers those service providers the ability to work in conjunction with each other on behalf of their mutual client, while maintaining control over their end of the process.”
The platform works by having each service provider integrate their CRM applications with Rundl and then interact with Rundl through Rundl’s API, while integrations with products such as Docusign, which helps capture signatures digitally, further helping speed up processes. Perkins said it works “a lot like social media”, with users creating a private group to which they can invite colleagues and service providers to share documents and discuss a transaction.
“In the property space, buyers and sellers are usually invited to join Rundl by their lawyer, mortgage broker or real estate agent. Once in Rundl, the buyer or seller has complete control and visibility of where their transaction is at. Service providers and the client receive notifications when an action or approval is required or critical steps in the transaction are completed,” Perkins explained.
For example, when the mortgage broker shares the signed loan documents on Rundl, the conveyancer and buyer will get a notification that they can begin the process of transferring the title, saving everybody the time and hassle of having to check up on the broker.
The platform also offers services such as access to pre-completed sales contracts and the ability to for service providers to schedule face-to-face client identity verification checks, which are required by law.
Since launching in January last year, Rundl has brought around 5,000 users on board, with more than 10,000 real estate transactions already having been settled through the platform. Clients include big name real estate agencies such as LJ Hooker and mortgage brokers like Aussie, with much of the growth coming from referrals as, of course, the use of the platform itself depends on a number of service providers being able to collaborate.
“The feedback we’ve been getting from our network is that they want to streamline and simplify their customers’ journeys as much as possible and put an end to the need for multiple repetitive phone calls, emails, meetings and piles of paperwork to complete a property purchase or sale. What we’re noticing is that once clients and service providers get a taste of the platform and see how efficient transactions can be, they are keen to use Rundl for all their professional relationships,” Perkins said.
The startup, which has thus far been funded by its founders and directors, is already looking beyond the property market for future growth, with the team looking at other sectors where “geography and communication have made service delivery a gruelling task”, including the financial services space and the healthcare sector.
“Just like a property transaction starts with a customer engaging a real estate agent and then bringing in a mortgage broker, accountant and lawyer, in medicine it starts with a patient who goes to a doctor and is then referred to a specialist, pathologist, radiologist, physiotherapist. All of these professionals need access to your medical information in a secure and transparent way. With Rundl, the process can be streamlined through an online community that forms around the patient, enabling secure sharing of information, efficient communication and collaboration between professionals – with the patient in complete control of their journey,” Perkins said.
Perkins said the startup is open to outside funding as it continues to expand, though over the coming months the focus is on securing partnerships with other tech companies, such as its deal with Docusign, to further enhance the Rundl platform.