If a career in real estate and housing has taught Irene Cameron anything, it’s that the system isn’t perfect. But with her new blockchain technology, she hopes perfection might be getting closer.
As a Cornwall real estate agent, accountant and former land developer, Cameron said her diverse career has “illuminated a weakness” in the real estate industry that she is determined to tackle with GRID, a blockchain real estate management system soon to launch in Eastern Ontario.
In December 2017, Cameron was travelling home from Toronto with her son, Conner, a blockchain enthusiast, when he took the time to explain the technology.
You would be hard-pressed to find someone living in Ottawa who hasn’t had a slice of Gabriel Pizza. Served up in 42 restaurants in Ontario and Quebec, at events including
Have you ever wanted to try something off the menu at East India Company? Read on for some recommendations for the holiday season.
“He made me understand that it’s a distributed ledger, which speaks to me as an accountant,” Cameron explained. “It became very apparent that, within the industry, if all participants were sharing information and we could access it on a shared platform, it would save a lot of time and a lot of uncertainty.
“There are a lot of core weaknesses in the industry and lots of professionals who work in the field,” she continued. “When we look at a property, we all have a unique purpose when we look at it, but we have to get the information from a variety of places.”
Fast forward, and Cameron, along with her son as co-founder, plans to launch her new platform in 2024. GRID, short for geo-registry integrated data chain, “tracks real estate in real time,” she says, allowing all stakeholders of a property to collaborate and access relevant data.
The technology can track and store documents at every phase of a property’s life. The property owner would have 100 per cent access to the data and could selectively share access with stakeholders, from real estate agents to insurance companies.
GRID can track applications and building permits, collaborations between engineers and architects, documents from the municipality, presale and funding with banks, insurance, and mortgage planning.
“It’s really such a powerful tool,” said Cameron. For example, property owners could track every stage of land development, she explained.
“There are lots of things happening simultaneously … there’s overlap between the different activities that are going on and GRID takes all of it and then collaborates and coordinates it,” Cameron said. “What’s in the past, what’s happening currently and what needs to be done moving forward … it’s all there.”
Data can be transferred from one owner to the next, allowing new property owners to easily access the history of their property.
GRID has received letters of support from both the City of Cornwall and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SDG), which Cameron said has been a big boost as she prepares to launch the tool in Eastern Ontario.
While she plans to start “in our little corner” of the region, she hopes to expand the tool for use across Ontario and beyond. With a patent in Australia and pending in Canada and the U.S., Cameron said GRID offers solutions to something that “isn’t just a local problem” for the real estate industry.
Above all else, Cameron says she hopes to change the game for property owners and all real estate professionals.
“There could be a wealth of information on the property that may or may not have been accessible,” Cameron said. “Have you had a flood in your basement? The current owner might not have, but maybe the previous one did. In the current market, you have bidding wars and unconditional terms are Russian roulette. This is an audit trail of the information.
“The goal really is to help streamline approvals, assist property owners to have a better understanding of the history of their property, keep track of maintenance, foster more accountability within the community, and foster better stewardship of our property,” said Cameron.
“We only own property for a finite period of time, so while we have it, we want to take care of it and keep track of it.”