In the space of three years, Brisbane-based start-up Hutly has transformed the way in which real estate contracts, from leases to sales, are managed in Queensland and Victoria.
The tech company’s founder Jeremy Hastings said the idea to digitise and centralise contracts was formed from personal experiences at a young age and later in life as an investment property owner.
“I grew up in Sydney, the son of a single mother and with three siblings,” Hastings said.
“We were constantly renting and moving with the market and during that time I would constantly see the fears presented by bills or unexpected costs that would place a lot of pressure on my mother, despite us being fantastic tenants.
“Cut to 2011—my wife and I had an investment property in central NSW while we were living in Queensland, and the property manager was shocking, unable to reconcile rent and providing incorrect details in spreadsheets to us.
“After changing property managers and connecting with the tenant we realised quickly that there were issues with the roof and air conditioning that hadn’t been addressed by the previous property manager—who had falsely said that we, as owners, didn’t want to assist.
“What I saw at that early age combined with my own experience led to me asking the question; is there a better way?”
In 2019, Hastings—alongside chief operating officer Kathryn McCormack and chief technology officer Jonathan Jenner—assembled a Brisbane-based team of technology experts and web developers to build its contracts platform, Hutly.
“The problem that Hutly is solving is one of psychology—the tenant needs shelter, the owner needs financial security and the agent needs to survive and thrive as a business,” Hastings said.
“By drafting a better outcome and relationship between those parties the benefits are profound, not only for the mental health of all parties involved, but for efficient and stronger economic performance.”
Hutly initially partnered with the Real Estate Institute of Queensland—a cornerstone to the real estate sector for more than 100 years, rolling out products and enabling its services across the REIQ’s vast agency network.
After the successful roll out in Queensland, Hutly has secured the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, with the introduction of One Touch signing technology now live for Victoria’s new Residential Tenancy Agreement.
The REIV has a rich 85-year history of supporting members to run compliant, responsible and profitable businesses.
The REIV’s involvement has now seen Hutly push its active users to 2500 agencies and 145,000 tenants, with upwards of 600,000 contracts executed and 500,000 properties onboarded to the platform.
“We are taking our partners on a journey of digital transformation of real estate contracts to then enable a modernisation and optimisation of the broader property market ecosystem,” Hastings said.
“Our objective is to make real estate institutes structurally essential in a digital world while generating sustainable returns for our partners.”
Through One Touch Execution in Queensland and VicForms in Victoria, users are connected to Hutly where tenancy agreements can be signed within minutes with required documentation, additional contract terms, and contract signature capture and due dates all centralised in one program.
Users also can access the history of the contract activity and track its status in real time, keeping participants compliant and up-to-date with shifting legislation and case law, with the stamp of accuracy from the state-based real estate institutes.
Hutly’s “smart contracts” are blockchain enabled with distributed ledgers removing the risk of fraud, changes to contracts post agreement, intermediaries and also to speed up transactions, thereby reducing costs.
“When you think about the volume of contracts running through Hutly, we can now turn this data—which would once live in paper-form in an office—into real time insights,” Hastings said.
“We can then embed those findings back into our platform to give a user accurate, real-time information to better inform their decisions.”
The company’s acceleration and adoption has led to Hutly being recognised as a finalist in the 2021 Fintech Awards.
The start-up is also a founding member of the newly established Proptech Initiative being driven by the Brisbane Economic Development Agency (Brisbane EDA).
Under the Brisbane EDA PropTech Initiative, emerging local proptech companies are able to incubate, network and scale, while being bridged with connections to potential property industry partnerships.
“Two or three years ago, Brisbane’s proptech scene was a very disjointed and a fairly closed network,” Hastings said.
“What I love about Brisbane EDA is that the message isn’t Queensland for Queenslanders approach despite Brisbane leading the charge.
“The Initiative is not just about improving proptech in Brisbane or Queensland alone but the sector as a whole across Australia.
“It is heavily engaged with other proptech associations and other states and territories which is a very collaborative and in my opinion the right way.
“They want to promote economic development in Brisbane and to achieve that they have identified they need to look at a number of channels around how they build the profile of Brisbane and technology by forging strong networks for these start-ups and initiatives to bridge with one another.”
To learn more about Hutly, click here.
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