Justin Leve and Sean Godoy, cofounders of PropDD share more about the proptech startup...
Please briefly tell us about PropDD?Justin Leve
: PropDD is essentially an online platform encompassing a unique, step-by-step toolkit that simplifies the residential property due diligence process for buyers, sellers and estate agents, either prior to or during a property sale.
Our vision is to pave the way for greater transparency in the marketing and negotiation process, which we believe will ultimately result in smooth and successful property transactions.
How did the name come about? Sean Godoy
: We wanted to devise a name that aligns with the simplicity of the toolkit, and since the abbreviation ‘DD’ is widely used in property circles when referring to ‘due diligence’ we considered ‘PropDD’ as being most appropriate.
How and why did you get started?Godoy
: Justin and I met after being appointed as co-head tutors on the acclaimed UCT Property Development and Investment Short Course presented by GetSmarter. Justin’s property career originated in the commercial sector, where his client-facing roles have been focused primarily on investment property deal facilitation and due diligence advisory.
My experience as a property market analyst evolved into providing a range of advisory and training solutions to the property industry. I am also a proptech enthusiast, having co-founded the SA Proptech and Proptech Africa Associations.
With the astounding pace of innovation taking hold in the proptech sector, we felt that there could be no better time to collaborate in bringing to life an online solution that demystifies the property due diligence process for buyers and sellers. To this end we were lucky to have assembled an enthusiastic and highly skilled team, working round the clock for just over a year.
What is property due diligence?Leve
: Property due diligence is all about verification! It is a process of investigating and evaluating the key legal, technical and financial aspects of a property being bought or sold.
Through this process, a buyer should seek to fully understand the risks, responsibilities and costs associated with a property, as well as the potential upside. This is especially important considering that in South Africa all risks and benefits of ownership pass to the buyer once a sale is complete.
Due diligence is equally important for a seller due to circumstances that require them to disclose information that could impact a buyer’s decision-making, such as defects in the property that the seller is aware of at the time of selling. Thus providing relevant information upfront will increase transparency and likely aid the decision-making of potential buyers in a positive way.
We, therefore, see due diligence as being a two-sided process, simply because a successful due diligence outcome will depend on the level of cooperation between a seller and buyer. This is where the PropDD Residential Toolkit comes into play.
Tell us a bit about the PropDD Residential ToolkitLeve
: The Toolkit, which is designed for a single residential property and associated transaction, takes a registered user through the key legal, technical and financial stages of the due diligence process, and allows the user to upload important documents and input information where required.
Included with this process is a downloadable, legally compliant sale agreement applicable to both freehold and section title properties (the use of which is optional), as well as a comprehensive property inspection checklist where the user can identify and flag any physical issues, upload photos and input any important notes that relate to each issue detected.
All documents and information are stored in a secure toolkit vault to which only the user has access to. However, should they wish to share read-only access to their Toolkit Overview page with any designated party of their choosing, they can do so by using a secure sharing function. This will enable the designated party to download any documents uploaded to the user’s toolkit vault, including a Due Diligence Report containing all information inputted by the user as of that date.
A user is also granted access to a number of other useful resources when they purchase their first Toolkit, such as cash flow calculators and a helpful 'how-to' market analysis guide.
What solutions will PropDD bring to the local property industry?Godoy
: PropDD provides a solution for buyers to thoroughly investigate and understand the important legal, technical and financial aspects of the property they are looking to purchase. The Toolkit facilitates this process, allowing them to record their due diligence information and generate a professional Due Diligence Report which they can share with external parties, for example, the financial institution where they apply for finance. They are also able to build a simplified cash flow based on their purchase strategy.
Sellers are able to fast track the due diligence process for buyers by providing relevant property information upfront that is often not easily accessible to them, thus helping buyers to make quicker, informed decisions. Sellers are also able to make use of a legal compliance sale agreement to facilitate their sale, while the Toolkit allows them to share secure access with designated parties and generate a customisable and professional due diligence report on completion.
Our ultimate goal is to improve transparency and aid decision-making around residential property transactions.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly in the property space?Godoy
: There is such an abundance of opportunity to innovate in the property space. Thus if you have an idea that you believe shows potential but feel that your skillset or knowledge may be limited in certain respects, collaboration with other skilled stakeholders is likely to offer the best chances for a successful outcome.
Where would you like to see PropDD in the next five years?Leve
: We envisage that effective property due diligence will become the industry standard, thus over the next five years we see PropDD as being the primary facilitator in driving this process.