Online real estate platform Revalu8 has launched as a member-only site to connect buyers and sellers of residential property. With comparative tools for people to analyse, compare, and purchase property online, ReValu8 looks to offer a transparent negotiation of property to help buyers find a better investment.
“The accepted practices of advertising and selling real estate in Australia favour the advertiser, agent, and then the seller, while the buyer is almost forgotten, despite it being the buyer’s money,” said Chris Bilborough, CEO of ReValu8.
“ReValu8 will bring a new level of transparency to the industry to empower purchasers – in particular first-home buyers and investors – to be able to make an informed decision on the property that is best suited to their needs.”
The platform is a free online service that connects buyers and sellers directly to an agent who has listed on the site. From there a negotiation of property sales takes place. The properties that are listed are advertised on ReValu8 with no upfront or ongoing charges, with payment for advertising and commissions only completed on settlement of the property. The transaction between the buyer and vendor is completely transparent and currently can be conducted Australia-wide.
ReValu8 was initially created to give the power back to the hands of the buyer. As a member-only platform, the startup enables members to share in the commissions and advertising fees that would normally be paid to agents and advertising companies.
Along with providing consumers with a comprehensive listing, the website also features an option to speak with an external financial broker who can provide assistance on borrowing capacities and loan repayments, which is free of charge and can be used to analyse any investment property locally or nationally.
Properties that are listed on the site are ranked according to the most incentives given back to the buyer, which can mean less overhead costs and the amount at which the advertising and commission fees upon settlement are set.
“Not only will users receive instant access to unbiased, comparative information about property based on real figures, but ReValu8 also gives buyers a fair share of fees that would otherwise go towards advertising costs and agent commissions,” explained Bilborough.
The launch of the platform follows on from the recent announcement of a nationwide campaign against property spruikers led by Consumer Protection WA. Chief executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre Carolyn Bond told the ABC rent-to-buy or vendor financial deals expose buyers and sellers to risks where they are often not protected by the law.
“Desperate buyers who enter into an agreement to pay off a home and they nearly always fall over, we see people who are desperate to sell their home and end up in a deal they don’t expect that they get a bad deal out of,” she said.
With ReValu8, spruikers who run misconducted operations can be exposed as the platform allows for free of charge comparative analysis of property from anywhere in the country. As such, ReValu8 looks to minimise the number of dodgy deals that are transacted every day between uneducated consumers and property spruikers. Bilborough believes that this level of transparency has yet to be delivered.
Approximately $10 billion is spent on real estate advertising and commissions yearly. With real estate being a fast moving and highly competitive industry the whole process around securing deals and making transactions is moving towards greater levels of transparency.
The real estate market is undergoing a massive transformation with the real estate industry becoming early adopters of digital platforms and VR technology. Startups are looking for more innovative ways to connect buyers and sellers and on the whole are providing consumers with more benefits and higher levels of understanding on property choices and financial decision.
In the US the two most well-funded real estate startups, RedFin and Compass, have raised a collective total of US$284.9 million, which just goes to show how big this space is. Because real estate transactions can now be completed through the cloud, Australian companies can think global from day one to access larger scale international markets.
In May this year Melbourne real estate app iCommercial set itself up to make waves on the international scale by enabling agents to run their daily business via their smartphones. In this space it is set to compete alongside communication assistive real estate app Followit, which also delivers real-time information to the public on property listings and local sales.
As the real estate market enters the world of real time connectivity, Australian startups have the chance to tap into international markets. The shifting face of the industry means that startups like iCommercial, Followit and now ReValu8 are picking up on the imbalances within real estate and are finding better and faster alternatives that provide consumers with added benefits.
Bilborough said of Revalu8’s vision, “It’s not just a positive change for buyers and sellers but real estate agents also, who are now able to sell any property nationwide and earn a fair commission through the website, while still finding the best property for their client – a real revolution for an industry currently stuck on sole agencies.
“We want to help more people get into their first home sooner, and with less overheads and advertising costs, we are able to direct these incentives back to the buyers and sellers themselves.”
Image: Chris Bilborough. Source: Supplied.