The Brussels start-up has modeled in 3D all the buildings located on Belgian soil. By cross-referencing the data, it remotely estimates the value of real estate.
The Brussels start-up Rock.estate specializes in the mapping of buildings. By cross-referencing data from multiple public and private sources, it is able to remotely estimate the value of a building. This service is of particular interest to banks and insurance companies, which seek to objectify, speed up and automate the property appraisal process.
The start-up assessment tools are used by banks as part of mortgage loan applications. They allow to replace traditional expertise, carried out on site by real estate experts. The data collected by the start-up are first of all public location location data, collected from the regional land registry services. These two-dimensional plans make it possible to measure the size of the plot and the floor area of the building.
Added to this are aerial images also collected by the three regions of the country for mapping purposes. These “Google Earth” type images are supplemented by images collected by “Lidar” systems. These systems, which work with laser transmitters, very precisely measure the distances to the ground and make it possible to produce a three-dimensional map.
Rock.estate combines all this data to provide an accurate view of the building to be valued. From this view, the start-up can calculate the volume of the house and its height and give an estimate of the number of floors. With image recognition and artificial intelligence, it can attest to the presence of an annex building or a swimming pool.
This information is then crossed with data reflecting market prices, extracted from real estate advertisements published on the Zimmo website. This is not the purchase price as paid by the buyer, but the sale price. The estimate is therefore not not fully aligned with the real market. The start-up is gradually compensating for this inaccuracy with transactional data from the banks that use its solutions. When the mortgage loan is concluded by the bank’s customer, the latter sends the information concerning the sale price to Rock.estate. The model is refined so little by little.
“Our tools make it possible to obtain a remote expertise in 24 hours, when a traditional expertise, carried out on site, is obtained in about ten days.”
Created in 2017, the start-up convinced three banks to use its tools. ING, Keytrade and Argenta use its services to estimate the value of real estate subject to a mortgage application. “Banks are interested in the speed and precision of our services. We can obtain a remote expertise in 24 hours, when a traditional expertise, carried out on site, is obtained in about ten days”, explains Pietjan Vandooren, CEO by Rock.estate.
Replace real estate experts
The boss of the start-up explains that he is in competition with the big real estate appraisal offices, of the Stadim type. Other companies, such as Smartblock, also develop real estate price analysis tools, intended more for the niche of real estate agents, while Rock.estate is aimed at banks and insurance companies.
In this sector, the start-up has already made a great breakthrough. According to the estimates of its CEO, its solutions are already used by companies (Belfius Insurance, Bâloise, Corona Direct, etc.) representing approximately half of the Belgian market. Insurers are interested in Rock.estate’s tools for calculating home insurance premiums. In addition to precise readings of the surface area of buildings, the start-up can provide useful information to insurers, such as the presence of the property in a flood-prone area.
“COVID made the market aware that remote expertise services could be useful.”
Since its launch, the start-up has essentially operated on equity. In 2020, it benefited from a financing from Innoviris, up to 500,000 euros. It is not in the process of fundraising but does not rule out one day calling on outside investors. She has exceeded one million euros in revenue and aims to multiply its turnover by five in the next three to four years. It has just begun its internationalization with first contacts in France and the signing of a first client in Luxembourg. Before the health crisis, it only employed two people. The team now has sixteen employees. “COVID has made the market aware that remote expertise services could be useful”, underlines the CEO.
- Thanks to aerial imagery, the Brussels start-up Rock.estate has modeled in 3D all the buildings located on Belgian soil.
- By cross-referencing this data with real estate prices, it remotely estimates the value of buildings.
- Its services are of interest to banks, in the context of mortgage loan applications, and insurers, in the context of the calculation of home insurance premiums.
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Rock.estate estimates the value of a property via aerial imagery
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