In his quest to provide an affordable solution for real estate agencies, house owners and house hunters, Cameroon’s first real estate management application, Digital Renter has been launched in Buea.
The application was developed by Silicon Mountain’s entrepreneurial visionary, Fongoh Martin Tayong with the aim of mitigating the limitations with manual real estate management and house rental services in the country. With a particular focus on using his tech savvy skills to solve daring societal challenges, the founder has successfully brought real estate agents/landlords, caretakers, and tenants on a single platform.
The entrepreneur, Fongoh Martin got inspiration to develop the real estate robot in 2016 after he received some management complaints from a friend who had paid part house rents but no receipt was issued which created a problem between the landlord and tenant.
Real estate management across Africa has remained an unsolved mystery in the past decades. Landlords have had a hard time making their houses available for house hunters because of the lack of a platform they can advertise their vacant property.
Imagine losing the receipt booklet with records of your tenants’ payments. It could be so frustrating. You will have no clue as to how much each tenant owes you and you may have to go to every tenant requesting for their receipts. What if you could have an electronic system that will manage all those transactions? What if the information is safely stored in the cloud?
— Digital Renter (@digitalRenter) August 3, 2017
The Frank Knight 2017 Report reveals a growing volume of capital is targeted at Sub-Saharan Africa real estate investment and development. The need to, therefore, deploy digital real estate management systems is an important one for African startups and entrepreneurs.
Digital Renter is a web-based real-estate management application that gives real estate agents and landlords the ability to list their properties (for rent or sale) as well as making it easy for house seekers to discover houses that match their taste, price, and location.
The digitally enhanced real estate management software was developed by Fongoh Martin Tayong in 2016 and only launched in 2017. As an entrepreneur, Martin envisioned a future where property management, search and listing of estates will be effortless.
In developing such an advanced software, Fongoh Martin at certain stages of development felt the urge to abandon the project half way. “About 3-5 times, I had thought of giving up on the project. Some people I came across told me it will be difficult to get landlords to subscribe to the service, but the zeal to solve societal challenges kept me going.”
Being one of Silicon Mountain’s newest startups, Digital Renter promises to be the best real estate rental and management application the country will ever have. The application assigns various roles to real estate agencies, landlords, caretakers, and tenants on the system.
According to its founder, “Digital Renter does not only provide property listings, it starts with a base framework for managing properties, adding listings on properties, managing users/relationships (agents, landlord, caretaker, tenants) and giving users the possibility of signing a digital rental contract, recording payments and generating receipts/reports.
How Digital Renter Works?
Just with an internet-capable device and an internet connection, the application can be used by even the least technologically savvy users.
The application can be accessed online via https://digitalrenter.com. It helps give house owners the ability to advertise their houses while providing house seekers with the ability to discover houses for sale or for rent.
Digital Renter has 4 main users; Real estate agents, Landlords, Caretakers, and Tenants. On the back end of the software, Landlords and real estate agents after creating their accounts, can add a property for management, rental contracts or payment (a house to let/sale or piece of land) and create a listing to be discovered by potential tenants. They can also invite caretakers and assign to them different properties; giving them management rights over the assigned property.
On the front end of the application, tenants can view and search for houses matching their criteria; by town, house type, minimum/maximum price, and location. In case the desired property is not found, the user can submit a request for the desired property.
Who can use Digital Renter?
- Landlords: Create and advertise (list) empty houses, invite and assign caretakers, sign digital contracts, and record the payment.
- Real-estate agencies: Keep track of all transactions and also make listings to attract customers.
- Councils: Create and advertise (list) free stores and sheds, create digital rental contracts and record revenue collection. (In the future, receive mobile payments.)
- Tenants/house seekers: Search for houses and approve rental contracts. In the future, pay for rents and utilities online.
— Digital Renter (@digitalRenter) August 9, 2017
What the future holds
The application will in the nearest future, enable fast payment of bills and utilities by integrating local and international payment processors like Mobile Money and PayPal. Future improvements will also include automatic alerts when a real estate agent/landlord posts a property that matches a tenant’s specifications.
Fongoh’s vision for the platform is to “make Digital Renter an eBay for real estates” in Cameroon and Africa as a whole.
Given the mobile-centric age we find ourselves in, Digital Renter will definitely have to build a mobile app that will make the house search and listing process even easier.
Earlier this year, a similar mobile application was developed in Bamenda. The Bongalo app by Epafred Minuifuong helps house seekers to easily locate empty houses.
With the development of these house rent and management applications, the African continent may just be on its way to curbing some of its most faced challenges in the field of real estate management.