When it comes to finding a sharehouse to move into, finding one that won’t cost you a kidney for a room the size of a shoebox and bathroom you have to share with six other people can be an arduous task. Then there’s the task of making sure your housemates aren’t potential serial killers – you can never quite tell.
Essentially a Flatmates.com.au with video, Real Estate Tube aims to help people make faster and better choices when it comes to their living situation by helping them get more of a feel for their potential housemates and location than a simple static listing would do.
The platform allows those looking for a room to upload a video showcasing their personality, and those with a spare room needing a housemate to showcase themselves and the property, with the accompanying listings detailing all the personal information and notes about the house and location.
With over 25 years of experience in the real estate industry, cofounder Steve Makris originally came up with the idea as a solution to the problem of how to show properties to the overseas buyers interested in investing in Australian property.
“I thought to myself that images really didn’t do the properties justice, as they didn’t allow potential buyers to see the size of the property and everything it entails. I also was looking for a solution to bypass language barriers,” he explained.
“I decided to film the properties using my phone and email it to the buyers. Since that moment and our incorporation of real estate videos, the company has had such a positive response from the public that I knew we were onto something unique.”
Development began in 2013 with seed funding from a “small handful” of investors, among them La Trobe University. With this, the startup was incubated at the University, working in collaboration with students from the Computer Sciences and Media and Communications faculties. One student, Isaac Suter, then joined as cofounder.
The process of developing the platform was challenging, Makris said, as the team spent a lot of time designing and planning a number of features that users didn’t end up finding worthwhile.
“We had too many listing features that over-complicated the listing process,” he explained.
The Real Estate Tube app allows users to easily record a video in-app or upload one they have created externally, then create a listing detailing other information about themselves or their property. Videos can also be uploaded on a browses, with those searching then able to contact the user if interested in learning more.
According to Makris, over 50 percent of listings have been successful in placing people in sharehouses since the startup’s launch early last year.
As one would expect, the startup’s plans extend beyond the sharehouse market, with Makris looking to bring the wider rental market onto the platform before incorporating residential and commercial sales across Australia and overseas.
Listings are currently free to create, with the startup planning to incorporate fees when it expands beyond the sharehouse market.
The platform comes along with a growing appetite for video not only across the internet, but in the real estate market. The likes of Domain and Realestate.com.au – which acquired Flatmates.com.au last year – have been looking at the development of virtual reality listings, allowing users to walk through a property on their own terms, and it will be interesting to see how Real Estate Tube fares when it expands beyond sharehouses.
The immediate plans for the startup are growing its user base and in turn listings, with a view to raising funding to help expand overseas.
Image: Steve Makris. Source: Supplied.