Technology can make property investing a lot easier yet so many people fail to take advantage of what’s out there. There are now plenty of apps available to help you invest in property, recently we were introduced to Imfuna a great app for completing your own itinerary. It’s used by many letting agents but is also accessible to landlords too, after having a play around with it we contacted serial entrepreneur Chris Raniere for a an interview.
Hi Chris, who are you and what do you do?
I’m the CEO of Imfuna, which before you ask is a Zulu word meaning “to want”, “to love” “something you must have”. Our founder is from South Africa and came up with it almost overnight. Of all the companies I have started or helped start this was the easiest trademark submission process ever.
As for me I am a serial entrepreneur with a love of the Internet and it’s evolution. If I was not working on Imfuna I would probably be kiteboarding in a warm and sunny climate. However, the Imfuna concept got me really excited when Jax Kneppers, the founder presented it to me because it is one of those “do good” products. It creates transparency and helps everyone involved. It is also a product that was developed out of necessity – I love that. Jax owns an engineering forensics firm that specialises in analysing buildings which means a lot of inspections. He and his team built the original proto-type to solve their own needs, we took that idea and applied it to a more generic market.
What is Imfuna and how can it help?
Imfuna is a digital inspection application that allows users to easily collect, manage, share and store condition data of a property. The product uses mobile devices such as a smart phone or tablet to quickly collect inspection data using the devices camera, dictated voice recordings as well as meta data created by the workflow. The device sends all the collected information to the web where the magic happens.
Our system organises all the collected data (pictures, dictations, room names, condition ratings, etc) into a simple interface for review and editing. It also automatically sends the dictation out for transcription by humans, checks for accuracy and then places the transcriptions in the right place within the inspection data.
How can technology make life easier for property investors?
Once you have a property in your portfolio keeping ongoing condition records of that property is critical for long-term value calculations. The Imfuna app makes it very easy to do regular inspections and store them remotely in the cloud. Overtime you have a historical record of the property that can be used for anything from Insurance claims to valuation negotiations. On a more day-to-day basis the app is the ultimate in deposit protection. The use of dictation and transcription and integrated picture taking with pre-made property templates makes creating high-value inventory reports a breeze. .
We have recently had one of our users report back to us that he has had five deposit disputes on properties where he had used Imfuna for move-in and move-out reporting and he won all five disputes being awarded the exact amount being requested for damage done.
What’s the best investment you have made?
This is not the answer you are looking for but it is definitely the best investment I ever made. And that was and is all that I invest in my relationship with my wife. She makes is all worthwhile.
What’s the worst investment you have ever made?
That’s a horrible story but it was a stock investment as the internet bubble was bursting. I knew it was happening but still thought I could ride one more wave and doubled down on a large technology investment that ultimately almost wiped me clean. It was a long road back as it was for most folks.
As you are based over in the USA, from an outsider’s perspective how do you see UK property investment performing in the future.
This market is extremely strong and unlike the US market limited so the demand is almost always going to be higher than the supply. From what I have learned my next new investment strategy is going to include property in the UK. It’s economics 101 (And I did attend LSE way back when) – supply and demand.
Finally if you were a property what type of property would you be?
That’s easy – a Caribbean Island! Plenty of beautiful water, sand, warmth and wind for kiteboarding. Plus when it gets too populated a hurricane is guaranteed to come through and clear out the faint of heart.