Could Uber's approach work for property?

Private Property South Africa
Maziar Arsalan

Sharing economy is the buzzword of 2014 & beyond: A good number of start-up ideas nowadays are about empowering individuals to make better purchase decisions by having full control over the services they use as consumers.

This week we will be looking at two concepts in the US and Australia that have an impact on the property industry.

The 23 year old founder of Rentity has one of them: Daniel Ahmadizadeh had a look at the fast turning rental market in New York and had an idea. If you look at the value chain of rental properties and the life cycle of a tenant, there is one aspect that is evident. The first person who usually will know that an apartment will be vacant soon, is there previous tenant. Way before the landlord, an agent or even a portal, this is where the source of that valuable information is.

But what is the incentive for the previous tenant to ‘take the property’ to the market? None. This is where Rentity starts its business model: By offering a cash-back to the previous tenant to reveal the information about a property that is going to be vacant. It sources that information and make it available to everyone who is searching for rental properties, particularly in metropolitan areas, where demand usually surpasses supply. The prospective tenant connects to the previous tenant directly and if he agrees to move in the fee is shared between Rentity and the previous tenant. Let us know what you think about this idea and if you believe it is going to be successful or not if it ever comes to South Africa…

AgentPair founded by Clark Giguiere is another one: If you think about property search from a consumer’s view, one of the bottlenecks that still exists in our business is how we schedule viewings. While many restaurants nowadays offer online bookings, we are still short of a digital solution in the property industry. AgentPair aims to solve this problem by offering a holistic communication platform for agents and their customers by bringing the entire conversation to the AgentPair platform. Similar to a WhatsApp Chat the two parties can have a listing related chat including asking questions beforehand and arranging viewings.

What both ideas have in common is making property search easy, efficient and stress-free. By adding value and empowering consumers, existing gaps are identified and closed by these new business ideas.

Next week, we will be covering how the reputation of the real estate agent and their brand building has and will be changing in a digital world. Looking forward to catching up with you on that.

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