Buying and selling property is expensive. Is it time for disruption? | Fin24
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Buying and selling property is expensive. Is it time for disruption?

Nov 21 2017 13:15

The cost and complexity of buying and selling property has long seemed a necessary evil. is working to change that. Their technology and processes allow them to charge a single transaction fee of R29 500, payable only when they successfully sell your property. This is saving sellers in Cape Town on average 75% on commission.   

After two years of developing and testing, recently launched is already disrupting the market in Cape Town. “The adoption has been amazing” says CEO Shaun Minnie. “We concluded our first 40 sales well ahead of projection and saved our customers millions in commission”.

Their proprietary technology allows buyers and sellers to transact transparently but in a secure manner – something completely new to the residential property market. Also, information that used to be the exclusive domain of estate agents is now available to buyers and sellers.

“With technology the process is much more efficient, surely this must translate into tangible benefit for the transacting parties. “says Minnie.

The traditional estate agent system has remained fundamentally unchanged for decades, and one of those immovable facts of life was that you need to pay your estate agent 5% or even more of the value of your property when you sell it.

So spoke to thousands of buyers and sellers. They discovered that in addition to achieving the best possible price for their property sellers most wanted to see lower commission costs. In fact, they showed a distinct preference to pay a fair fee that covers the entire estate agent’s service, rather than commission based on the value of the property. The research showed widespread unhappiness about commissions from both buyers and sellers – that commission does not offer fair value.

While mainstream estate agents have taken to the internet to advertise properties, their business models have not changed to embrace the full capacity of technology, and little or no cost benefit is passed onto customers from the efficiencies created by technology.’s solution is to use technology to improve the process and create efficiency of at least 5X enabling them to offer the full estate agent’s service, but at a single fixed price.

Buyers can browse their site for properties, each of which is advertised with professional photography and videography – as well as being advertised on popular portals such as Property24 and Private Property. This not only ensures every potential buyer is aware that the property is for sale, the video walk-through means only genuinely interested buyers need come through the property.

Offers to purchase are made and received online and potential buyers interested in properties are automatically notified of the value of other offers made, providing a transparent and incorruptible platform and ensuring sellers achieve the best price. also makes sales data available for the neighbourhood you’re looking in – which allows buyers and seller to get a good sense of what fair value for a property is.

Trading property, especially if it is your home, is unavoidably stressful. However technology does offer opportunities to better facilitate the process, to make it more efficient, and to improve on often outdated and expensive business models that erode value for buyers and sellers alike.

Considering that the value of estate agents commission is more than ten billion rand annually, much of which will remain in the pockets of buyers and sellers if and other disrupters have their way, this is going to be an interesting space to watch. The traditional estate agent industry will no doubt fight back, but either way, consumers are likely to be the real beneficiaries when they next buy or sell a home.

For now, is focused on Cape Town, but they have plans to launch in other major cities over the next few months. 



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