September 7th 2019
Let me start with thanking you for joining Houfy!
Just a quick note here: Cristina and I moved to Mallorca (Spain) and all is good. Our girls are accepted at a great school and our son Nicholas "survived" Dorian in Atlanta. He is now back at his school in Fort Lauderdale/Boca Raton. Next week "normal" life starts again and Swapnil and I can fully focus on Houfy!
What is Houfy? Houfy is a project I started in 2014 out of frustration of "service fees", "broker fees" and "any other fees" being added to services offered where I think they are too expensive or outright nonsense. So: Houfy is NO FEES! - This in reference to anything real estate related. (= Vacation Rentals/Hotels/Real Estate for sale etc)
Houfy is or will be a marketplace for guests/people to look for places without FEES/commissions etc.. - For more info on how it all started: click here
We are extremely focussed on vacation rentals at the moment and need to make sure our members can use Houfy as a place to book directly, connect directly without additional fees. Once this system works, we can add "multiple room" properties and "shared spaces" to our inventory. (I expect we can roll this out in Q4 2019/Q1 2020) - Home-exchange is another system we could quite easily add.
Problem: USA: Most of the public is used to pay for "services", starting at restaurants/bars - 15/18/20% Tip. - Re-education needed. OTA's (Online Travel Agencies): Marketing expenses to Google: 5% = 10-15% to Guest or Owner(booking .com) I expect these "fees" to move up, just like restaurants.. 15-18-20-22-25%!! How painful will it get for owners and managers to list on Houfy?
Houfy & Real Estate? Yes: We added real estate and tested and removed real estate. (For sale by owner - or for sale by broker without secondary agent) 3 + 3% in the US and most countries world wide. (Europe: 1-3%). Should Real Estate agents become "showing agents?" Long term rent? Should the broker get 1 or 2 months rent as a "commission"? I expect more rules and regulations forcing owners to move from short term to long term. Houfy will be prepared. (We will reconnect in Q4/Q1 2020)
Real estate closings usually happens at a notary or closing company for a minimal fee. And who does most of the legal (more important) work? The real estate agent or notary/lawyer/closing agent?
Who owns Houfy? I, Thijs H. Aaftink, am the sole owner of Houfy. 100% of the stock is owned by me. 15 Million Shares. Houfy is a Colorado Corporation. Currently worthless as not 1 person has bought 1 share. (And not 1 share is for sale!)
Plans? I might create a subsidiary in The Netherlands, owned 100% by Houfy Inc. (USA) or vice versa.. Dutch company would own Houfy Inc. I will need to check tax advantages and might consider another country. (Luxembourg)
Member ownership? I have plans to do something not seen before. Offer ownership to our members in the form of "membership stock options". This will require legal hurdles with the Securities and Exchange commission in the US and maybe European regulations to be taken away - Crowdfunding is another option, however not preferred as again: commissions need to be paid! Houfy would offer stock directly! - "Blockchain powered" (This is just an idea)
How will Houfy market? I simply do not have any funds to market Houfy. I have worked on Wall Street and learned a few lessons: Money talks BS walks. Put your Money where your mouth is.. etc. (With Houfy, I plan to offer ownership and see who puts in their money and risks to lose it all or maybe make it big.. money talks..) Many of you might "know", I am truly trying to fix a problem; what comes after, comes after and for sure it has not much to do about money! My wish is to share with my members. (Currently I am taking ALL the risk)
Houfy has about 6K listings as I am writing this with 5K members and I believe as a group we could be quite influential. It will depend on the activity we all show, socially and with friends. Houfy is growing every day, slowly and steadily.
You might have seen: we partnered with Fabstayz.com (Robert) - LGBT friendly. We will partner with other sites - family friendly/pet friendly/etc. in the future. - This is a test.
Future funding by members could be used for marketing. (I'll need to carefully study)
What can you do now? Help us! You share your listing, your views go up. This is easily traceable and calculated at the bottom of your listing. This means you are active and should be rewarded for this. I plan to do this when the time is right. You are Houfy! Without You, Houfy is non existent!
I am well aware many members have other ideas, prefer to promote their own websites or some market specialists do not believe in our movement/site etc; to those I can just say 1 thing: we will not stop! Acting like a specialist is just an act. I have not seen many put their money where there mouth is! And please.. don't tell me you do.. smile. Money Talks, Time walks! Yep, many specialists put all their time in book direct.. Time just passes and is worth nothing! Doing something about it is!
I am also very aware Houfy is being followed by larger companies. I do not have secrets and if I do, I would never write them online or on any paper anywhere. To you, following us.. keep on copying what we do.. we will not stop!
SO: What is Houfy? I'm trying to create a network.. a network of owners/guests, a network of stories, guides, a network of like minded individuals who truly support the book direct movement without any form of fees/commissions/kick backs. Help us, promote us, join us with Houfy. We are just a group trying to educate the public and nothing more.
Swapnil and I will correct issues (Inviting members/importing stories/booking process/online rental agreement signing etc. etc.) It will take time and we will get there. (The basics work pretty well.)
Thanks everyone for your support and our love ❤️ for this project is getting stronger every day!
Thanks Thijs ✌️😊