Ever tried to sell your house and been put off by the umpteen visits by uncommitted buyers and real estate agents who overpromise, yet under-deliver? A Dubai-based startup promises to ease all that when you list your property on SellAnyHome.com, offering to sell your house within 30 minutes.
You get an approximate estimate of your property's valuation on the firm's website after you type in some basic information such as location, number of bedrooms, square footage, etc. Then, you book a free appointment through the website with one of SellAnyHome.com's offer consultants, who visits the property and conducts an appraisal, taking pictures and inspecting various check points. After the pictures are uploaded to the app, buyers make offers within 30 minutes, and the seller receives the highest offer. There is, however, no obligation for them to accept the offer.
"The difference between a real estate broker and us is that between a stock broker and a stock exchange. We bring real time market coordination between buyers and sellers which, in turn, promotes transparency, higher deal flow and convenience," says Omar Chihane, co-founder and CEO of SellAnyHome.com.
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The startup only targets professional investors as buyers on its platform. SellAnyHome.com leverages technology to accelerate the buying process.
"We cover high net worth individuals who are looking to add properties to their portfolios. We also deal in individual investors who are looking to buy multiple properties. We have investors looking for capital appreciation, yields, short-term and long-term rentals. Our job is to get as many such investors as possible because that will higher value to the seller," explains Chihane.
Investors pursuing capital appreciation are keen about a property's location and views while those seeking good rental returns keep the common area fees in mind.
The startup, which began operations in August this year, claims to have a substantial pool of buyers that is growing at a rate of 200 per cent month on month.
"Buyers have a transparent evaluation of the property. We take pictures inside out and outside in. They get to see the view from every room. We don't embellish the pictures. Buyers get the highest deal flow in the region from the comfort of their home," observes Chihane.
He adds that the platform is seeing a lot of interest from overseas buyers (from the GCC and beyond) who have powers of attorney here.
The startup charges a one per cent commission on the buyer once a deal goes through.
The top three locations for homes on sale being listed on SellAnyHome.com are Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai Marina and Business Bay.
"We cover almost 59 areas in Dubai. So far, 50 per cent of sellers have chosen us as the first door to try and sell their property," adds Chihane.
Of the properties listed for sale on the website, 37 per cent is villas and 63 per cent is apartments - 26 per cent between studios/one-beds, 51 per cent between two and three-beds and 4-beds and above account for 21 per cent.
"Demand has been great. We have been oversubscribed on both ends. Ease of transaction is something the market needs," says Chihane.
It's a win-win for sellers since there is no fee to join the platform and the on-site inspection is free as well.
"Sellers don't have to meet strangers. Having multiple touch points between buyers and sellers creates a lot of noise and additional costs and time. We aim to get rid of that," he adds.
The on-site inspection is performed by agents certified by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority. The startup is currently on the lookout for offer consultants.
"We want to reduce the lead time from the seller booking an appointment to us being able to meet them. Our aim is for a seller to book an appointment and for us to make an offer on the same day. Right now, we are lagging a bit on that front," points out Chihane.
The startup also occasionally participates in the process of placing offers, but says it has been outbid most of the time.
"The main stumbling block between buyers and sellers agreeing on a price is emotion. Someone may overvalue a certain aspect of a property which an investor does not. Other than that, the process is fair," he adds.
SellAnyHome.com closed seed funding, mainly backed by Saygin Yalcin, also the chairman of SellAnyHome.com and the owner of SellAnyCar.com. The startup is looking to raise $10 million by early 2018 and aims to achieve $100 million valuation within the first year of business.
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It is also on pace to extend $100 million worth of binding offers to property owners within the first year of business.
"Real estate is under-served with technology. Bringing in liquidity with a real-time managed marketplace will not only make property easier to sell and buy, but also make it more valuable. Imagine having to buy company stock from a public company without having a stock exchange. It would make the company's shares less valuable due to increased coordination costs and decreased liquidity," says Yalcin.
He adds that the nine biggest cities in the GCC have a combined annual residential real estate transaction value of $100 billion. "We plan to have a five per cent market share within five years," concludes Yalcin.
By Deepthi Nair
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