Make It Super Useable

December 10th, 2014 No comments

User Experience is Everything

Guest Blogger: Matt Dendle, Head of Architecture

 

Although UX isn’t truly a techie subject getting it right makes life as a system administrator so much easier. For those of you who are interested we found this model really helpful.

Elements of UX

The toolset we finally settled on starts with the good old pencil and paper and ends up with a prototyping tool called Azure. These clickable demos are then tested with a some of our current clients (I won’t name check all 40 of you, but you know who you are and thanks a million) as well as non-Dezrez agents.

Mace & Menter (great UX specialists from Bristol) ensured that we focused on satisfying user’s problems, not developer’s whims! If the image below looks a bit complicated that’s because it is. It shows the users and their responsibilities as a property makes its way through the sales process.

Rezi Swim Lane


Written by Matt Dendle, Head of Architecture

Our Star Tech posts are written by our Technical Teams in-house

Our Star Tech posts are written by our Technical Teams in-house

Santa Claus Lives in Swansea!*

December 5th, 2014 No comments

Mr X AppealFor the last 10 years, the staff at Dezrez participate in something called the Mr X appeal and this year more staff participated than ever before. 

Starting in 1959 following his participation in a scheme providing respite to children from a local orphanage, the mysterious Mr X launched a campaign to ask the people of Swansea to buy a gift for a child in care with the aim that every child has a present at Christmas Time.

Mr X will not publicly reveal his identity and at 92 years old, we have been told that his Son is now helping him coordinate the campaign, together with volunteers, schools, businesses and organisations all coming together to ensure this tradition continues.

There are no official websites we can point you to, but there are a couple of articles online about the Mr X Appeal if you’d like to find out more:
http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Spreading-cheer-shadows/story-13828430-detail/story.html
http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/make-child-8217-s-Christmas-extra-special-Mr-X/story-24773486-detail/story.html

It has been said that Mr X is not interested in adulation and thank you’s, nor is he interested in OBEs or MBEs – he simply has the dream that no child will be left out at Christmas. And we think you’ll agree – that’s the true spirit of Christmas.

*We aren’t claiming Mr X is really Santa Claus as we believe he resides in the North Pole.

Priority 1 | Make It Fast | Rezi

December 3rd, 2014 No comments

What Makes Rezi Superfast?

Guest Blogger: Matt Dendle, Head of Architecture

 

We have employed the very latest technologies and every tactic in the book to make the Rezi system as fast as it can be.

We have chosen a lightweight JavaScript framework to implement our SPA. Combined with media queries that are optimised so that a minimum of data is transferred over the internet, we achieve the fastest screen rendering times possible.

When you search in Rezi, it will be super quick. We have a dedicated farm of servers based on the most exciting product in this area –  ElasticSearch.  (Read about it here – http://www.whiteboardmag.com/youre-hot-or-not-why-elasticsearch-raised-24-million-just-3-months-after-a-10-million-round/)

Not only is this back-end search system quick, it is also novel and clever. ElasticSearch is so fast we can provide “fuzzy” matching, returning a list of records graded by their percentage suitability with the applicant’s criteria within milliseconds!

It’s not just about the speed of the application, but we have also focused on the speed at which you can work. This includes the time it takes to get an answer from our support team. Take a look at the screenshot below…

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It shows the system in support mode with every element clearly labelled and marked in green. This forms the bedrock for our new approach, easing communication between the user, you, our support team and the developers via a “common language”.  Simply click on the element you need help with, enter any notes you want and then send to us – no need to dial into your PC or try to explain elements over the telephone or in email.


Written by Matt Dendle, Head of Architecture

Our Star Tech posts are written by our Technical Teams in-house

Our Star Tech posts are written by our Technical Teams in-house

The Star Tech Blog

November 29th, 2014 No comments

Who are the Star Tech Team?

Guest Blogger: Matt Dendle, Head of Architecture

 

Hi, I’m Matt Dendle. I am the Head of Architecture for the Rezi product, and I am very excited to be able to share some of our plans for the Rezi system with you.

Most of the concepts on the blog posts I am writing (along with other people in our technical teams) are, well, technical in nature, I hope that non-technical audiences will see the benefits in some of the decisions we have made in creating Rezi, however this blog is mainly  for the techie geeks out there!

We have timed our project development at a very exciting time, having waited for the right set of technologies to align; technologies that enable us to deliver the experience you dream of, rather than being shackled by the constraints of old HTML standards, low bandwidth and poor legacy security compliance decisions.


If you love cloud based PAAS, HTML5, SPAs, responsive web design, customisable workflow, webAPI and ecosystems this is the blog for you
.


Written by Matt Dendle, Head of Architecture

Our Star Tech posts are written by our Technical Teams in-house

Our Star Tech posts are written by our Technical Teams in-house

5 reasons to embrace cloud-based software like Rezi

November 28th, 2014 No comments

5 reasons to embrace cloud based software like Rezi

Guest Blogger: Freya Davies, Rezi Product Manager

 

“The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”

Elbert Hubbard

Powerful Headline banner 600x210px-01

 

  1. Small business, big dreams. Cloud based software like Rezi allows smaller businesses to streamline their operations allowing them to focus on staying competitive and additionally gives them the opportunity to offer enterprise size services.
  2. Reduced upfront costs. Cloud based solutions remove the need for upfront costs associated with either starting up a new business from scratch or investing in new software. Rezi omits the costs of expensive hardware, servers and there is no need for software installation. All you need is an internet connection.
  3. Business resilience. Rezi takes away the need for timely backups on site and users are able to retrieve the latest version of their data instantly from anywhere. In a cloud environment, if you lose your laptop – or worse, your whole office in the event of something catastrophic like flood or fire – you can get back to business in no time. All your business information and files are securely in place.
  4.  Holding Rezi iPad AirWork smart, anytime, anyplace. Cloud based solutions offer easy access and information sharing from any internet connection anywhere. Staff, whatever their location, can access and work in collaboration in real time improving productivity and creativity. Many businesses today have employees working remotely, and need both mobility and flexibility. Cloud based solutions are straightforward and an affordable way of addressing those needs. Your team are more productive knowing they can easily access information from Rezi whilst away from the office, finishing tasks whilst on the move and receive updates in real time.
  5. Cloud computing is easy.The transfer of business information into “the cloud” is very straightforward. No need to install new hardware or software and no IT administration. All upgrades are done for the user, in the case of Rezi, upgrades are free. It is often seamless to the user. Making the decision to use cloud based solutions shouldn’t be daunting. (It doesn’t mean you have to make big changes to gain. A mix and match of in-house and cloud-computing software works just great!).

Freya_Avatar_Head

Written by Freya Davies, Rezi Product Owner

Our Star Tech posts are written by our Technical Teams in-house

Our Star Tech posts are written by our Technical Teams in-house

Tenancy Fees to be displayed on Rental Adverts

November 26th, 2014 No comments

Dezrez Suport Header

 

Important Updates to Rental Adverts on Portals

Recently some proposed changes discussed by the CMA and ASA have now concluded that all rental adverts need to clearly reference specific details of tenancy fees imposed by letting agents.

Don’t worry, you still have time to get all your tenancy fees advertised on all your rentals by the 1st December 2014. Just remember to keep applying the fees after this date too.

Top 3 Q&As

Have Dezrez made any changes?

Yes, we have updated all our portal feeds to include the fees information.

Where do I put this information?

There is a text box called charges in the edit page to hold this information.

What if I currently use a description box?

As long as the fee information is in the same description box for all the rental properties, we can customise the feed to include the tenancy fees from your desired description box.

 

If you need some further information, please review the CMA Guidance page.

Rezi is Ready

November 20th, 2014 No comments

We’ve packed two decades of innovation and expertise into our new flexible, powerful, superfast product Rezi.

We’ve made sure it is totally customisable and has the most up-to-date features and functionality. Rezi has been designed specifically for the property industry, to help you do what you need to do better and faster.

We are controlling the release of Rezi and there are a limited number of slots available – there’s already a waiting list for slots in 2015, so make sure you enquire today!

DezrezOne Top 10 Estate Agents For October

November 17th, 2014 No comments

DezrezOne Top 10 Estate Agents For October

All of these estate agents have achieved this status by consistently using 90% or more of the entire DezrezOne system during October 2014. We can monitor your usage of DezrezOne from our specially designed software, making it possible for us to tailor training specifically for your estate agency. We can also offer you advice on how to improve efficiency in your estate agency, so contact us today if you’d like to find out more!

Top 10 Dos & Don’ts of Marketing Properties

November 12th, 2014 No comments

Emma linkedin-cover-template-Marketing

Now I’m not going to teach Grandma to suck eggs, nor Granddad to do the Jive, but sometimes we get so wrapped up in doing what we do, that we occasionally forget the basics. So, make yourself a brew, grab a couple of biscuits and see what you could do to improve your business.

DO…

  1. Target your Audience Appropriately
    Don’t go sending a mass email to 1000 contacts about a nice flat available in a retirement complex when only 100 of your contacts are over the age of 50. Irrelevant content is one of the main reasons people unsubscribe from mailing lists.
  2. Use Multiple Platforms
    Print/radio/TV/online advertising, leaflet drops, direct mail, email campaigns, social media (especially Facebook & Twitter), dynamic window displays, interactive displays etc. – the more people who see/hear your brand and message, the more chance of making a sale!
  3. Have a Clear Call to Action (CTA)
    Make it easy to understand and don’t have too many – if you want them to contact you, provide your contact details, if you want to get them to enter an online competition, only publicise the competition page URL.
  4. Include your phone number in your CTA
    If you want customers to contact you, encourage them to call! Selling to someone is easier over the phone than it is through email as you can pitch appropriately based on discussions.
  5. Avoid Deception
    This one is pretty obvious, but it is important to clearly state what the offer is.
  6. Build Joint Ventures & Partnerships with other Businesses
    Companies that provide useful related services to your clients (local businesses, schools, press, local council, local MP etc.) will enrich your offering to customers and help you reach more people with joint promotion and (hopefully!) online social media discussion.
  7. Thank Your Customers for Their Business
    A simple “Good Luck in Your New Home” card, a box of chocolates or a simple email thanking them for their business – it is all word of mouth marketing gold.
  8. Take Attractive Photos of Your Properties
    No one wants to live in a pit (other than Shrek!), but even the less attractive properties can be appealing if they are shown in their best light! No need to be David Bailey – just make sure your thumb is out of the way and that dog walker has cleaned up after their pooch!
  9. Open Houses
    More of an “American” thing, but people like a freebie and won’t feel under so much pressure if others are looking around at the same time. It also gives people something to look forward to and offer them an incentive (as well as increasing the chances of an offer there and then for fear of losing out!).
  10. Offer Virtual Tours on your Website & In-Store
    The most valuable thing in 21st Century Britain is Time. We don’t have enough of it! We are also spending more and more of our time online, so why not offer prospective customers the chance to save time by having a virtual tour of a property online! If they like what they see, they will be sure to book a proper viewing and you know that they are a serious lead as they’ve already seen it!

DON’T

  1. Don’t Take Photos of Dark Cluttered Rooms
    Pretty obvious, but it will make the room look smaller (not “cosy”!) and less appealing.
  2. Don’t Just Include a Basic Property Description
    Would you enquire about a new car without knowing more than the fact it has 5 doors, 4 wheels and is a manual? Or would you prefer to know it’s MPG, Fuel-Type, Engine Size, colour, make, model and if it has Bluetooth etc.? Be sure to include the property’s key Unique Selling Points (USPs) to attract the right customers so you know the leads that come in are worth more than time spent describing the property only to be turned down (or worse still – they don’t call!).
  3. Don’t Reject New Property Marketing Ideas
    We’re all a little apprehensive about change, but just because it’s new, it doesn’t mean it’s rubbish. Explore every opportunity available to you possible, carry out some market research and test it in a small capacity to see if it’s something that might work.
  4. Don’t Make Unsubstantiated Claims.
    Using creative adjectives are good, but let’s not make a 1 bedroom flat seem like a mansion if it’s not.
  5. Don’t Ignore Prospects Questions or Engagement
    No one likes to be ignored. Respond to people as quickly as you can – have a “Thanks for your enquiry” template in your email to use when you’re really busy, promising that you’ll get back to them ASAP so they at least know you’ve received their enquiry.
  6. Don’t Enter a Room in Front of the Viewer
    Simple physics: If there are more people, there’s less space! Let them enter the room first and experience the room without obstruction.
  7. Don’t upload just one photo
    Just like eBay and Dating sites, people don’t trust anything with just one photo…
  8. Don’t just use traditional marketing methods
    Be creative and try to reach out to new markets, social media is a great way to engage with and build relationships with potential customers and partner businesses – it’s also a great way to get your corporate personality known and let people get to know you!
  9. Don’t include animals or pets in photos
    My Mother would disagree as she thinks houses will sell better if there’s a cat in the photo, but many people don’t like animals (or at least the notion of the carpets smelling of dog!), so best steer clear if possible.
  10. Don’t restrict access to information
    The more information the better, floor plans, room sizes and photos will mean that it you do get a viewing, chances are they’re very ‘Hot’ prospects. Although if your primary goal is to increase your marketing database, you may want to add a “sign-up” box to access some of the more detailed information – but be warned… this can deter prospects and they may end up going on another Agents’ site!

I hope you found this post useful and entertaining. What would be you’re Top Do’s & Don’ts for marketing your properties?

Now That’s A Long Term Tenant

October 28th, 2014 No comments

3 Properties You Wouldn’t Want To Visit This Halloween

Haloween Dezrez-01

There’s no getting away from it these days. As soon as the kids are “back to school” the seasonal aisle of the supermarket undergoes an overnight transformation by some devilish trickery, and nestled uncomfortably against the jolly chocolate Santa’s and cheerful tree decorations you will find all manner of witches, zombies and skeletons.

But while for most of us Halloween is just one day a year, spare a thought for the residents of these haunted British houses, for whom daily life is surely more trick than treat…

 

The Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire

Ancient Ram Inn

According to hauntedrooms.co.uk, this is one of the most haunted private properties in the UK. Its sole (living) occupant is John Humphries who bought the building in 1968 for £2,600. Mr Humphries is outnumbered by ghosts including a witched burned at the stake, previous owners, a monk, and a centurion on horseback.

 

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland

Chillingham Castle

This impressive castle dating back to the 12th century has seen its fair share of military assaults and executions, and if the stone walls of its dungeons could talk, they would surely share some gruesome tales. No wonder then that the aptly named Chillingham Castle plays host to any number of tortured souls with unfinished business.

 

50 Berkeley Square, London

50 Berkeley Square

 

Reputedly the most haunted house in London, this unlikely looking property is the subject of numerous creepy tales and was featured in the 1913 book Haunted Houses by Charles Harper.

Visit haunted-london.com for details of this and other haunted London locations or see SkyScanner’s Blog on the Top 9 creepiest ghost towns in the world… including a place called Island of the Dolls – Yikes!!