Chris came to us with his idea for a new property platform, DwellDown. He had just moved into his new dream home with his family and young daughter. On paper it ticked all their needs: more living space, great neighbourhood, within budget.
After just one week, they had realised they made a big mistake, excitement quickly turned to anguish. Damp, mould, broken appliances and no response from the landlord. However, they were able to get in touch with the previous tenants and asked "What prompted your move?" Their answer rang true. "We were expecting a child, there’s no way you could raise a baby in that house."
This is how the DwellDown journey started, a platform that aims to bring peer to peer transparency into the private rental market and reduce renters’ risk.
Chris realised there was no transparency in the market. It was not possible to gain insights into the previous tenants’ rental experience and therefore difficult to make an informed decision regarding whether to rent or not.
DwellDown is a unbiased platform that allows tenants to rate the standard of accommodation on the basis of overall quality, comfort, communication, amenities and neighbourhood. This collection of data will help future renters make an informed decision on where they choose to live based on their needs.
The average renter spends 30% to 60% of their monthly disposable income on rent yet there is no platform available to access information on the living experience offered versus the rent being charged.
Together with Chris it was our goal to fix that.
What did you wish you knew before moving into your current home? That was the question we started with. After compiling all of the questions we came up with five categories they would fit into.
A key element to us was bringing value to all the users of DwellDown. Being realistic in the early days it would be unlikely your accommodation would have a previous rating. How then could we make the product valuable for those users.
We complied ratings, information and various forms of data on all the neighbourhoods in Dublin. Using this we created unique information cards for each area. When you search for a property without a rating you can still get value. You know what the area is like along with average property ratings nearby.
DwellDown had to be accessible to all. We looked at the core of the idea again and again. It always came back to the property. So we based the user experience and design with the property detail screen at the centre. Whenever you use DwellDown you will see the search box is there ready to be used.
The layout and design of DwellDown had to scale to all devices. We built it from the start with responsiveness in mind. Users had to have a brilliant experience on either mobile or desktop.
The property detail screen is where the real value of DwellDown lies. This is the centre of the whole product. Up top there is a big image of the property to draw the user in. Under that is the ratings and scores compiled from all the previous tenant reviews on the property. We decided that a traffic light system would work best for the scores as users can quickly glance and get an idea of how a property fares. Green for good and red for bad.
When someone comes to the site they are looking to get to a property as quickly as possible. To combat this we added a big autocomplete search box on every page. The user can start entering their address and it will autocomplete using Google’s powerful maps API.
We wanted to make it as simple as possible for a user to leave a review on any property. Once they have found the property they can click directly through to the review page. Over many iterations we cut down the review page to only the most important information. A user can leave a review in as little as a minute.