Every individual on this planet has dreamt about buying a house or property some time or the other. The idea and the process of buying property are challenging. It includes saving money, finding a suitable property as per requirements, contacting the owners or realtors, negotiating the budget, and finalizing the paperwork.
All this old-school work has become easy with digitalization, where everything is done online. Even the auctions and bidding for properties are done online with zero chaos and accessible from any place that has Internet.
Many companies and agents associated with the real estate industry help people buy and sell properties through online and offline services. Proppy.co.nz. is one such website based in New Zealand, where people can buy and sell their property smoothly. They have reduced all the unnecessary costs that help their clients save a truckload of money with transparency.
Hannah Walker, Co-founder of Proppy.co.nz. shared with us how her organization operates and how helpful it is to run a business online.
Below are the highlights of an interview:
Please describe Proppy.co.nz.
Proppy.co.nz is a New Zealand-owned real estate agency established in 2015. Proppy has eliminated the need for the traditional brick-and-mortar offices, allowing us to reduce our costs and pass on the savings to our clients. Proppy.co.nz is smart enough to buy and sell real estate. We have a safe and secure online platform that allows people to negotiate, sign sale and purchase agreements online, and hold online auctions. And the icing on the cake is that we only charge 1.75% + GST commission compared to competing agents who charge you approx. 3.95%.
Proppy.co.nz is not only a website but also a real estate platform allowing sellers and buyers to transact real estate in a safe and secure manner with the assistance of licenced real estate professionals. As such, we have incorporated rigorous systems and processes in the platform, allowing for the transaction to occur according to current Real Estate Authority rules, REINZ best practice, and the law. Our platform is innovative, and we believe we are one of the only companies in NZ or even the world which allows you to list a property online and then sell property online.
Hannah, tell our audience about you and shed some light on your professional journey in the auction and bidding niche.
My name is Hannah Walker, and I wear many hats! Mum, business owner, friend, teacher, nurse, referee, IT professional, wife, chauffeur, cleaner, laundry maid, and sales weapon – just to name of few of my daily hats!
My business (my third child) Proppy.co.nz was born in an auction room in Auckland when my husband and I were trying to upgrade our house and move into something bigger before the arrival of our first child. As most people have experienced, buying a property is a stressful time. As the auction was in full swing with my husband (Tyson) bidding, I went into labour.
We knew there had to be a better way, and so we got thinking. We did a whole bunch of research, looked at what was happening overseas, spoke to some super-smart people, and realised that this old-school way of doing business could, in fact, be taken online and could save everyone a whole lot of time and money.
And so, in 2016, just one year after our son arrived (for the record – not in an auction room!), Proppy was born.
Before I started Proppy.co.nz I had different sales jobs involving technology and have always been interested in new and innovative things. Creating the first NZ online auction real estate platform has been challenging but rewarding, knowing that we are making a difference in people’s lives.
What were the initial challenges that Proppy.co.nz had to overcome, and how did you pivot those?
When we started the business, we thought our easy-to-use online platform might appeal mainly to the people more familiar with online transactions and younger customers. As our marketing strategy developed and feedback from our customers started coming in, we realised that we appeal more to mature customers, especially people who have bought and sold properties already. It was a challenge educating them on the new way to buy and sell property, but we have overcome this now, showing them how technology and innovative ways of selling can get them great sale prices.
Our main customer base, at present, is first home buyers and baby boomers. Our marketing and branding are uniquely designed to engage with that segment of the population. We use the usual marketing materials like all other real estate agencies such as signs, brochures, maildrops, TV, Radio, etc. However, we have a big focus on social media where we can target and retarget customers and create innovative campaigns to help us excel.
Another challenge when we started was trying to get sellers to believe in our technology which was early for NZ’ers. They had to take a risk and trust that we could get the best price for their house using online auction technology. Hard work and perseverance got us through. We held our heads high and believed in our technology, and are proud of what we have achieved.
What was your inspiration behind venturing into the auction and bidding space?
My personal experience in buying and selling property inspired me, and I realised that the real estate industry needed a “shake up”. My husband and I tried to buy numerous properties in Auckland and failed to be successful through the traditional auction method. There was no transparency in the industry. This was something we wanted to change. After going into labour in an auction we decided online auctions were the way forward, and we started our journey into launching proppy.co.nz.
What is the current scenario of the auction and bidding market?
The real estate market is starting to change in NZ currently, and it is becoming more of a “buyer’s market”. There are more listings, and the banks have tightened up on their lending. Because these auctions are not as popular in the current market as to buy at an online auction, your buyers need to be unconditional (escrow) to bid and buy property. This is becoming harder in this NZ market. It’s cyclical, though, and this will change again.
What can equipment buyers do to ensure proper preparation for bidding at an auction?
All our buyers are educated about online auctions, the best strategies on bidding, and how to be successful at securing a house. We teach them how to use the auto-bid functionality and how important it is to bid strong to secure the house of their dreams! How-to videos and live demonstrations are provided by the agents selling the house so that buyers are prepared and know what to do during a live online auction.
We also ensure that our vendors are protected by ensuring that the buyers create a login at proppy.co.nz and then verify their identity online to make sure we know who is bidding.
How is Proppy.co.nz leveraging modern technologies for auction and bidding?
- All users of the platform (Buyers and Sellers) are vetted and have their identities confirmed according to the Anti Money Laundering Legislation through an integrated third-party provider-www.cloudcheck.co.nz. This is streamlined and innovative.
- Once verified, clients can participate in listing their property or purchasing a property.
- All documents, including Listing Agreements and Sale and Purchased Agreements, are signed electronically online through another integrated partner, Secured Signing.
- Third-party auditors perform our Anti Money Laundering audits on a regular basis.
- All transactional deposits are held according to REA requirements with Public Trust-NZ Real Estate Trust www.nzrealestatetrust.co.nz, independently audited by third party.
- Our day-to-day accounts and performance are monitored through Xero, with a dedicated local accountant responsible for our business.
- Our online auction process is unique and innovative
What would you like to advise the budding aspirants who are willing to enter the auction and bidding niche?
It’s a tough road when starting a new company, but at the same time, it is rewarding. Online auction technology is exciting, and technology is always changing. So, it’s important to keep on top of “new” things coming to the market and being able to adapt.
– Proppy.co.nz – Winners of the 2019 Digital & Technology Innovation Award (Westpac Tauranga Business Awards)
– Finalist in the Outstanding in Innovation Award for Ignite Wanaka Business Awards