The idea was to create a website for the Real Estate and Travel industries where members could easily add properties for sale or for rent. A combination of Zillow/Realtor with Airbnb/VRBO. Saving on commissions with direct communication. (For sale by owner or broker/For rent by owner or manager) The site needed to include a local information sharing network to have a potential to go “viral”. (A market network) - To see more about our last years: click here
Vision: Imagine a worldwide AIRBNB looking site for anything what has to do with property. This can be from marketplaces (RE and Lodging) to local activities and information provided by its members. (A true local information sharing platform with clear and transparent pricing and communication)
How should the site look like:
The success of Airbnb is tremendous. Use a similar system. Large pics, simple, 21st century. (Real Estate sites are “old fashioned” and only Airbnb seems to work well for the next generation - you will most probably see Airbnb enter the Hotel scene (booking.com) very soon)
Why Real Estate?
Try finding Real Estate for sale in Marrakech? or Playa del Carmen (Mexico)? You will end up at many, many different websites and see different listing prices for the same property? You will see 100s of different agents with different websites and all with different opinions about their market. Some of these issues we see worldwide. (Imagine just 1 site, where all listings are listed) Do you really need a real estate agent in the future? Should it not be a “showing” agent?
What is the price for the agents showing services? 3%, 2%, 1.5%? Will real estate offices exist in the future? Like travel agencies did in the past?
Why the Travel industry?
Try finding a place to stay for your next holiday in Breckenridge, Colorado. You will most likely end up on: booking.com, airbnb.com, vrbo.com or tripadvsior.com - you might look on google and search a few property management companies on the first page. Most likely, you will choose one of the larger four OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) and book “instant”. You are paying 12-20% fees for this service. I believe the future might look very different. People will be able to pay direct much easier than in the past. (Bitcoin, Paypal, Apple Pay, Square, etc.)
Is 10%, 15%, 20% a fair price to pay for the OTA’s services?
Why a social site?
Late in 2013, I started managing the inquiries we received from Airbnb and VRBO for our properties in Breckenridge, CO. and responded by e-mail, (lengthy informative ones). It became clear, we needed a website for each property. (Imagine a marketplace, like airbnb or Zillow where I update information “linked” to my website). The social site was needed to easily update local information as well as invite friends/clients. Each post on social sites is a webpage and “indexed” by google. This will help Houfy be found in the future, when prospective users search for local information.
Click here to see: What are Houfy's plans for future growth?