Overview

Safely.ee is a property management platform combining insurance and real estate management. It helps landlords keep all renting-related documents in one place and reduce the financial property risk to the minimum.

Thanks to Safely, landlords can use several tools for efficient day-to-day property management. They help them cover: 

  • Proper contract & delivery deed
  • Costs distribution and invoicing
  • Reminders, readings and manuals
  • Dispatcher and service provider management 

The platform also offers a lease agreement creator. The landlords can create documents and edit the agreements using a flexible template. When the contract is ready, the tenants can review the requirements and make comments before signing it off.

The Idea

The idea behind setting-up the platform originates from insurances. The industry noticed that rental claims and their management were similar. For example, insurers missed handover protocols with information about the condition of the estates. This caused problems with maintaining photo documentations of the rental apartments state. The insurers also reported recurring problems of missed maintenance schedules that often made warranties void.

As a response, Safely started as a simple tool that has developed over the years into a robust management platform, incorporating an inbuilt risk engine and credit bureau integrations for underwriting the insurance policies.It is worth mentioning that Safely’s risk engine can evaluate the insurance risk based on statistical analysis and risk scoring. 

The Challenge 

The biggest challenge was to satisfy and automate complex business processes within one platform.It quickly became evident that the best practices in the real estate business domain do not exist. Almost every company has their own processes, legal interpretations, tenant-related practices, and existing IT services. 

We were looking for a single, maintainable platform, and so the challenge was to design a flexible and modular system. We wanted to build a tool against custom apps for a single business entity. We were pleased to go for RoR because Rails enabled us to achieve flexibility and configurability while still maintaining a common platform.

The Product

The product design is complex due to the set of applications powering the management.

Legal Automation Engine

This application uses variables to fill legal document templates. The data come from the internal database and third-party data providers. The landlord can also complete them manually. 

The engine uses workflows, data entry forms and multi-language support to provide content across different languages.

The said workflows are useful for sharing notes and collecting approvals. Landlords can add them to the flow when the business objective is to create documents in order – an annexe to the document applies after the tenant has signed the contract and before it ends. All this constitutes the contract engine and saves time on every real estate deal. 

Tasks and reminders

In real estate management, the business cycle can span years and decades. Therefore it is crucial to remember and document everything. We enhanced Safely’s with tasks and reminders to help users keep track of all information.

Tenant background check

Before renting an apartment, the landlord can run a tenant screening. The process is simple and requires the email address of the tenant. The verification starts when the tenant receives a screening request. The screening results come as listed characteristics written in a form. This way, the landlord learns about their financial solvency and their personal information. Based on the information, the tenant can assess the compatibility and come forward with a contract.

Dispatch chatbot service

Every landlord happens to pick up the phone in the middle of the night and hear that the oven light is out or someone is smoking.

First, the chatbot boosts dispatch services with an AI component that manages escalations and handles matters on time. Secondly, the conversational API helps landlords upsell services and manage notifications – so everyone stays in the loop.

Overall, this is a great solution for small and medium-sized rental businesses that cannot afford the customer support desk.

Accounting and cost distribution

The Safely platform has different levels of inbuilt accounting solutions. B2B can benefit from a full cost calculation and distribution because the algorithm ensures all tenants carry the correct number of expenses. The system also takes care of meter readings.

Technological Solutions

To start marketing Safely, we needed to launch the system fast. With Ruby On Rails, we could release the functional prototype in weeks rather than wait for months until the development is over. We used the ROR conventions because this made Safely easy to keep. And the framework is regularly updated with all necessary security patches.

From the system perspective, we opted for a common core component. We wanted to handle basic technical tasks such as user management, registrations and passwords.The remaining components are what we called micro-applications. Larger than micro-services, they contain full business solutions for cost distribution, document management and invoicing, among other features.

The Safely infrastructure uses a single codebase which we deploy to different countries. It allows customers to manage white-label solutions in their stack. Since we run the system from one codebase, it is also efficient for our team as platform developers. 

There were also other reasons for choosing Ruby.

  • Robust security: ROR has a lot of inbuilt security measures.
  • Performance: ROR enforces a set of performance indicators that developers follow from the start.
  • Modularity: instead of building a monolithic application, we created a combination of smaller functions.

When it comes to HTML and the front-end, we decided to use the Stipulus Javascript framework. It let us boost up our code and make the web app animation flow nicely.

Result

In effect, the insurances are more affordable if the owners manage properties correctly. The Safely customer wins double because they pay less for the insurance and are better off as the real risk is lower. 

Today, the concept has expanded to support a sales funnel for finding new tenants. The system also provides legal automation as well as dispatch services. The latter enables even more difficult verticals such as upselling insurance products or cleaning as part of the residential services.

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