Kylie Davis: (00:00)
Welcome to the Proptech Podcast. It's Kylie Davis here and I'm delighted to be your host as we explore the brave new world where technology and real estate collide. I passionately believe we need to create and grow a sense of community between the innovators and real estate agents and property people. And sharing our stories is a great way to do that. Now the aim of each episode is to introduce listeners to a Proptech innovator who is pushing the boundaries of what's possible and to explore the issues and challenges raised by the tech and how they can create amazing property experiences. And my guest this week is someone very well known to most in the residential real estate industry and someone I'm delighted to call a friend, the fabulous Steve Carroll, who is now CEO of Proptech startup HomeLoop.
Kylie Davis: (00:47)
Now Steve was the director of firstname.lastname@example.org for nearly 10 years. And during that time, he became one of the best and most polished presenters on real estate technology and how it was impacting on real estate agents and our clients. And I have watched him many times on stage and being blown away by his presentations. Steve also set up Digital Live, a programme that combined helping agents to build their digital presence and understand digital marketing with a fundraiser. And most recently he's been raising funds for an orphanage in Thailand, raising tens of thousands of dollars. It's a fabulous initiative.
Kylie Davis: (01:26)
Since leaving REA like many of us he's had a whirlwind year with COVID, but he's recently taken up the role of CEO at HomeLoop, a Proptech, the promises to streamline the communication process between buyers and agents, especially around that open for inspection process. So here to tell us all about it, Steve Carroll, welcome to the Proptech Podcast.
Steve Carroll: (01:51)
Why thank you Kylie. Privileged to be here today.
Kylie Davis: (01:54)
It's lovely to talk to you and to hear all about your exciting new venture. So we always start off with an elevator pitch Steve, so bust it out what is the HomeLoop elevator pitch?
Steve Carroll: (02:05)
And I have to say when I saw the in brackets short and sharp, I thought to myself, Kylie obviously knows me really well because I can go on and on and on. So I'm kind of guessing short and sharp was specifically to me. But hey look, HomeLoop offers real estate brands. So when we talk about brands, we're talking about obviously Marshall white or Ray white. So offers real estate brands are white label platform that gives buyers and tenants the ability to give instant feedback on properties they have looked at. Now, if you think Tinder for real estate, that will help you kind of get to, not necessarily the interface of HomeLoop, but what HomeLoops about.
Steve Carroll: (02:53)
Now that's the elevator pitch for the consumer. For the agent, what the technology allows agents to do is to qualify the hundreds of people that come through their OFIs into a hot bucket and a not so hot bucket. And that is what HomeLoop does.
Kylie Davis: (03:12)
Right. Awesome. Okay. So look the short and sharp is not personally directed at you. Because a lot of people in Proptech want to bust out the long one. But what we can do is go into a bit more detail in the next question, which is so what are the problems at HomeLoop solving? Why do we need a Tinder for buyers and renters?
Steve Carroll: (03:34)
Well you'll never hear me use the word Tinder when I'm being serious. Now they're doing a sales page, but for your audience and for you and I Kylie, Tinder is okay. Well you know, I mean, obviously I've worked in this real estate space for about 15 or 16 years now for REA and for News Corp. And one of the things that always baffled me was the communication between agents and buyers or property managers and tenants. Because I just think it's done so inefficiently. It's painful for all parties and incredibly labour intensive. So what I mean by that is that I've met very, very few agents who really enjoy ringing back 200 buyers from the weekends OFI. It's kind of right, what I've been at top up with the caffeine and get stuck in.
Steve Carroll: (04:33)
I haven't met many moms and dads who welcome being bombarded with phone calls on a Monday from agents asking the question, I'm just phoning for some feedback. And I haven't met many business owners or principals who have described the whole communication loop as anything but labour intensive. So I think that-
Kylie Davis: (04:57)
Steve Carroll: (04:57)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I think the whole process is broken and as a result of that data and insights are lost every second in an inefficient process. And I'll just give you a bit of an example of what I mean by that. So I'm actually looking for an investment property right now. I reckon I've been to what, 20 open for inspections over the last two months. Of those 20 open for inspections I would say that at least 10 inspections have resulted in nothing. No follow-up, no anything. And the other 10 that have made an effort to call me the quality ranges from really, really good to absolutely dreadful. And and that is what the HomeLoop technology solves. It's a piece of technology that enables moms and dads to give instant feedback using their mobile phone to the agent which hopefully will just improve the whole process.
Kylie Davis: (06:10)
So it let's say agents understand like how to prioritise the people who are most interested in the property based on their feedback.
Steve Carroll: (06:19)
Absolutely. I was talking to Ray Ellis from First National a few weeks ago and he showed me a photograph of an open for inspection that the First National office was running, I think it was in the Sunshine Coast. And there was this huge crawl of people or queue of people, it was like getting into the MCG on a footy day. And so bottom line is the agent on a Monday needs to call all of these people back. And that's just from one OFI and like where the hell does he or she start? How do they know who is seriously in the market to buy and they've got a property potentially to sell versus a tyre kickers who just get kicks out of looking at a property and probably have no interest whatsoever? So the poor agent on a Monday is scratching his head or her head saying, well, who do I call first? And that's why the whole process is broken Kylie.
Kylie Davis: (07:28)
Yeah. And it's breaks a bit more every three to six months I reckon. Because my husband and I were talking, Mark and I were talking last night about how the only people that phoned him are people he doesn't want to talk to. So the only people who use the phone to communicate now seem to be people who are trying to pitch him something, scammers or family members telling us news we don't want to hear. So people's reluctance to pick up the phone is increasing every couple of months I reckon as a communication medium, it's becoming less and less effective.
Steve Carroll: (08:09)
Yeah, absolutely. And when do you think about it, Kylie, you and I have been fortunate enough to go over to [inaudible 00:08:16] and we've been fortunate enough to visit a lot of these tech companies. Speed and personalization is what consumers expect today. And the fact that I'm still waiting on 10 properties that I've inspected, I've had no phone call or nothing, is just dreadful and it's not good enough for this industry. And the fact that of the 10 that did call me, it ranged from quite pathetic to actually very, very good. And the founder of HomeLoop, and we'll talk about him later on today, has recognised this as a problem. And for the last two years has been working on technology that will make this so much easier for the principal, the agent and also mum and dad.
Kylie Davis: (09:15)
Okay. So you said that it's a white label app though. So each agency can have their own version of it?
Steve Carroll: (09:22)
Kylie Davis: (09:23)
How does that work? Doesn't that mean that if I'm a property buyer I have to download like six or 20 apps in your case to see 20 different properties because they're all run by 20 different agents?
Steve Carroll: (09:34)
So where do you live Kylie?
Kylie Davis: (09:36)
I'm in Russell Lea in Sydney.
Steve Carroll: (09:38)
So how many real estate agencies, if I wanted to buy a property in that suburb not familiar with, but if I was wanting to buy a property in that suburb how many big agencies with clout, operate in that suburb that you live in Kylie?
Kylie Davis: (09:59)
So I'm in an interesting suburb probably because we have a lot of small boutiques and smaller groups. So Ray White are active in the area? Raine & Horne are active in the area, LJ Hooker. But then there are a lot of very good and very good independence. And there's probably 12 to 14 agents in the area who with five minutes of thought I could list out for you.
Steve Carroll: (10:28)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That's good. Now it's interesting because when I asked that question to most people the answer is three or four.
Kylie Davis: (10:36)
Yeah I'm being difficult, sorry.
Steve Carroll: (10:39)
That's fine. And that just proves that we haven't rehearsed this [inaudible 00:10:44] podcast. So most people say to me, three or four. And I'm thinking about where I live in the Western suburbs of Brisbane, there's three or four agencies with real clout. So my thinking is you would definitely want to have three platforms or three apps on your phone which will give you a good base for the area that you're looking at. Now, this is important Kylie. One of the wonderful things, and this is all new to me, this won't be new to you because you're an expert in this startup area. But one of the things that I'm learning is you have to be good at hypothesising and you have to get good at making assumptions.
Steve Carroll: (11:31)
And so my hypothesis and our assumptions here at HomeLoop is if you are super, super, super keen to buy a property in Balmain, for example, you'd actually be quite happy having four, five apps on your phone to cover all bases, as well as of course domain and realestate.com.au. Now we'll talk a little bit more about what we've been up to since we got going in January, but we're going to learn loads over the last three or four or five months, and we'll find out whether or not it's okay to have seven apps, six apps, three apps, two apps. And what we'll also learn Kylie is whether or not it changes with demographics, you know, whether or not people in their twenties are different people in their fifties. We don't know the answer to that at the moment. And as part of our rollout of HomeLoop there are certain things that we're having to find out. And obviously that question that you've just asked me is a good one.
Steve Carroll: (12:42)
But what I would say is once you've downloaded the app on your phone, you never need to go to the app because there's two things that the app does for the buyer. Number one, it gives them the ability to give feedback on properties that they've looked at. Yes, this property is for me, this is what I'd like to happen next Mr. Agent, Mrs. Agent. Or this property is not for me, don't bother calling me about this particular property. So that the app or the platform does two things. One, it gives mum and dad the ability to give feedback instantly. The second thing it does, it enables mum and dad to put in their filter to say, look, every time you launch a brand new property into Balmain, we'll use Balmain as the suburb, can you let me know straight away? And then again, what happens is the ability for the consumer to get those alerts and then in effect swipe left or swipe right, although that's not how the interface works, but we understand what I'm saying when I use that analogy?
Kylie Davis: (14:03)
Yep. Thumbs up thumbs down. Yep.
Steve Carroll: (14:04)
Yep. Thumbs up or thumbs down. So of course everybody sends out alerts. You know REA send out alerts, domain send out alerts, CRM send out alerts, Ray White send out alerts. And so having a white labelled app that sends out alerts is not new, but what is new is the ability for someone to get a phone, get a notification, have a look through a couple of photographs and then either thumbs up, thumbs down, swipe left swipe right and the rest is pretty self-explanatory.
Kylie Davis: (14:40)
Steve Carroll: (14:40)
That feedback goes back to the agent.
Kylie Davis: (14:42)
Right. And then the agents able to prioritise who they need to speak to in more detail?
Steve Carroll: (14:49)
Absolutely. So it saves time and it just brings a high level of personalization to everything.
Kylie Davis: (14:57)
And now let's hear a word from our sponsors.
Kylie Davis: (15:00)
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Kylie Davis: (16:07)
So you used to be at REA what, tell me a little bit about how you've come to be involved in a Proptech. And I'm very sorry about the 14 agent thing. I'm probably over overexplaining it. So you would be right. There would be probably four or five dominant agents in the area that haven't pretty evenly split up.
Steve Carroll: (16:29)
Yeah. No. What was the question again?
Kylie Davis: (16:35)
The question. What was the question? The question was tell me about you've come from REA, tell us about how you came to be involved in a Proptech.
Steve Carroll: (16:43)
Yeah, absolutely. Well you're kind of party right when you say I've come from REA, but of course at the beginning of 2020, I started a brand new job heading up the real estate portal in Dubai, Property Finder. And and of course that role only lasted about two months or three months because of COVID. So I managed to get back to Australia around about March, April, 2020. And so I spent most of 2020 because I mean, this is a Frank conversation, REA made my role at redundant. I had an amazing 10 years at REA, so no hard feelings whatsoever, but, I'd got redundancy pay and rather than jumping into another job straight away, although of course when the COVID hit there wasn't that many full-time jobs. But I made a decision that I'd spent a lot of 2020 just looking at the technology that people are talking about as far as fundamentally changing the way that people are going to engage with property over the next decade.
Steve Carroll: (18:00)
And I had time on my hands to obviously do a lot of reading, a lot of research. And what I learned was there's a lot of great new ideas out there. But the one that really stood out was HomeLoop because I just felt that it genuinely addressed one of the core pain points experienced by agencies, agents, and consumers which is what we talked about five or 10 minutes ago, which is why I joined the team. And one of the things that I really liked about HomeLoop's proposal was what I found was many, many tech companies, they would say to me, our piece of technology will save the seller money. Not all of the pitches, but many. And obviously when it comes to get behind technology that is going to disintermediate the real estate agent, that's not where I want to be because I've got a lot of friends and a lot of colleagues and I'm a big supporter of the industry. And some people, some people would have technology and they'd talk about, well this will be an alternative to realestate.com.au and again it just didn't fit comfortably with me.
Steve Carroll: (19:25)
The founder of HomeLoop said to me, this is going to help agents make money. This is going to help agents save time. This is going to give consumers a more seamless experience. And I just liked that language and that's kind of why I ended up wit ah HomeLoop and started there in January of this year.
Kylie Davis: (19:53)
Okay, awesome. So who's the founder of HomeLoop? Give a shout out.
Steve Carroll: (19:59)
The guy involved is a very, very successful wealthy entrepreneur. His name is Stephen Pharr, P-H-A-R-R. He really, really flies under the radar. It's very difficult when you Google him to find anything. He's very much wants to be sort of in the background, building the technology. And he'll probably be pretty pissed with me for mentioning his name today, but Steven Pharr is his name. Now what I found out was at the age of 22, he launched a premium text messaging service, I suppose you'd call it called Bongo. And he sold that when he was about 24 for something like 10, $15 million. And and I think that gave him a real appetite to get involved with technology. And he's got platforms that work across recruitment, employment, wholesale, car trading, education. Not only in Australia, but across the world, he lives in [inaudible 00:21:21]. And he's still under 40 years of age, which is quite incredible. And although he's not unfamiliar with real estate because he did do a lot of property development after Bongo, HomeLoop is his first venture into this vertical. And so he he got hold of me and he also got hold of a guy called Michael [inaudible 00:21:53], who was a former partner at KPMG. And he's come on as acting chairman. And between Michael and myself we're kind of the face of HomeLoop or have been over the last three months.
Kylie Davis: (22:09)
Awesome. Awesome. So, so how big is HomeLoop now? Like what's your staff size or your market cap or client numbers. Where are you at in your roll out?
Steve Carroll: (22:23)
Yeah. Well, let me, let me answer each of those one by one. So I'm obviously scaling up a team in Australia. We're sitting at about six or seven right now. So we're very, very small and nimble. We've got a development team that are in Eastern Europe which is made up of about 30 developers. Although I in effect was employee number one, I mean, not quite, but just come with me in January, 2020, Steve, and his fellow partner, a guy called Chris Eade, they'd been working on HomeLoop for two years. And so this is not a three month old company. This is a company that's been in the market for three months, but a lot of spade work and hard work over the last two years has been put in and of course the whole COVID thing, just screwed things up a little bit.
Steve Carroll: (23:26)
Now we're self-funded at the moment, obviously we've got a very I'm sure he'd hate me to say this, but a very successful owner in the business. But we will as we get into the end of this year look to do some fundraisings, some capital raising, and that's obviously an area that Michael, who I mentioned earlier on will come into his forte. Which will enable us to scale in 2022. And it enables us also to go internationally with HomeLoop. So we're currently investigating other countries where we feel the technology would work well. And we're doing a lot of interviews with countries from all over the world and obviously more and more info on that as that unfolds Kylie.
Kylie Davis: (24:18)
Cool. So how does the charging work? Is it a SAS model or is it like per seat or how does that work?
Steve Carroll: (24:29)
One of the really good things about HomeLoop as we stand is I persuaded the owners of company and Michael to have a go to market strategy, which was by invitation only in 2021. And so what, what that means Kylie is I'm speaking or intend to speak to about 50 brands to invite them, to use this technology at no cost until 2022. And the reason why I've limited it to 50 is because we're a small team, we really only want to work with brands that have thought leading or sorry, we only want to work with brands that have a real appetite to move forward. We want to work with business leaders that understand technology and understand keeping the status quo because the status quo is being okay is not the way to go. So the reason why I used the word invitation is I've kind of hand picked 50 brands where I think they will have an appetite to move forward and continue to evolve the industry.
Steve Carroll: (25:48)
Now in exchange for us building their platform and managing their platform until January next year at no cost in exchange for that, obviously those brands understand and again, you'll understand this from your position Kylie, those brands understand that there will be learnings for us. There will be times where we have to go, do you know what? That's not quite working, let's pivot, let's change. And let's be blunt, there will be times where we launch features that just don't work as well as we thought. Yeah. And so I think the the arrangement that I'm going to have with these 50 brands is, hey, look, you get onto this platform really early so you get that first mover advantage, but work with me to obviously develop it and make it better so we can then have more of a rollout with a paid model in 2022.
Steve Carroll: (26:53)
Now we haven't decided on what the cost is going to be right now, but I will tell you this Kylie, I think that the value per office, per month is going to be around about $249, yeah. Per office per month. Now, one of the things that I'll want to consider is maybe there are three levels of subscription. There's an office subscription if you've got X number of agents and then a lesser cost, if you've got a smaller team of agents, and if you're a very, very small agency with just three agents, then it may not be 249, it might be 199. But that's the thinking at the moment.
Steve Carroll: (27:41)
Now the biggest challenge for us, which is why I'm very excited, because this is so different to what I had at REA, was we've got to work bloody hard between now and Christmas to prove the value. Because the brands that are coming on board nice and early. So the Novaks are coming on early. Laing Simmons are coming on early. Buxton's are coming on early, Stop there Lego, Biggin and Scott we've got to work really hard with those brands between now and Christmas, because at Christmas when I moved to a paid model, if they're not seeing value, they're just going to switch that. They'll just going to say, look, just switch the app off. It's not worth two and a half grand a year or whatever the cost is.
Kylie Davis: (28:31)
Yeah, Yeah. Okay. So do you have any competition in this space Steve? And we talked a little bit before we started the interview, but there's another business at Proptech app they called Listing Loop. And you're very definitely not them. Two very separate businesses. Is there anyone else doing anything in this space?
Steve Carroll: (28:51)
Well, before I answer that question Kylie, I was with Mark McLeod from Ray White a few weeks ago and just explaining the technology and how it works. And I said to Mark, I said, look, if you walk away from this meeting and you say, Steve Carroll is the CEO of a piece of technology that's all about off market then I've absolutely failed in my delivery of my communication. The technology, the white label technology that we give brands to use improves communication between buyers and agents or tenants and property managers. That is the main purpose for the technology. The fact that it also enables the user to say to Biggin & Scott, hey can you keep me informed of every new listing that you have within hours of it becoming on the market? The fact that it does that as well is an added bonus, but it is very much an interactive communication platform. That's what HomeLoop is.
Steve Carroll: (30:09)
And as a result of that I'm scratching my head thinking, well, I'm not sure of any other technology supplier that can go to Johnny Cunningham as an example, don't know why I just thought of Johnny Cunningham, but I did, to go to Johnny Cunningham and say, look, John, we can create a branded platform in your colours that sits in the app store in Google Play, that's branded Cunningham's that enabled mums and dads to do this enables agents to do that. And it enables people to give instant feedback in real time. I'm not sure I found anybody that does that. Are there competitors out there that notify people of listings before they go on realestate.com.au and domain? Absolutely. There's lots of them. I haven't seen any that enable mum and dad to have a quick look and give instant feedback to the agents on whether or not it's a thumbs up or thumbs down.
Kylie Davis: (31:14)
Okay. And so does it give feedback to the principal about who has, or hasn't responded or done something to those who are swiped, I don't know, I don't know my Tinder. Sorry am my swiping right to say yes from anyway, I've given the thumbs up. I've said I liked the property, but I still haven't been contacted by anyone.
Steve Carroll: (31:36)
Yeah, absolutely. So this is the plan. So the brand that we applied it to this technology with is actually Biggin & Scott. And they've got about 30 offices and we went live with Biggin & Scott two weekends ago. So we've had two weekends of learning and obviously one of those two weekends was the Easter weekend when there wasn't a lot of activity.
Kylie Davis: (32:07)
Steve Carroll: (32:08)
Now, all of the feedback from the buyers goes into the Biggin & Scott platform. So if an agent's got five listings, they can obviously through the Biggin & Scott app get an idea of how many people gave a thumbs up and how many people gave a thumbs down. And obviously if there's any commentary around the up or the down, they can read that as well. Which then clearly helps when they follow up that potential buyer, it clearly helps them personalise the conversation. Now, what we're working on at the moment is a dashboard, which we'll be able to give to principals. So a principal on a Wednesday can call in Kylie Davis, Kylie, have you gone a minute? You had five open inspections at the weekend. You had 200 groups come through in total. It looks as though there are 30 groups that gave the thumbs up to one of those five properties and there doesn't seem to be a conversation in the system what's happening. So obviously we want to build a dashboard for the principals so they can manage the efficiency better. So everybody wins. Mum and dad wins, the agent of wins and the principal wins as well.
Kylie Davis: (33:39)
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Kylie Davis: (34:48)
So I'm loving the sound of all of this. What I also want to know is like, you're one of the best tech speakers out there to come and talk about how tech is affecting agents. What are the trends that you see HomeLoop is playing into?
Steve Carroll: (35:11)
Yeah, absolutely. Well-
Kylie Davis: (35:14)
And where are they going to go next?
Steve Carroll: (35:16)
No, it's interesting. So let me be controversial for a moment because I'm pretty sure I'm not breaking any contracts. The big companies, your REAs is of this world, your Domains of this world. And obviously the technology companies overseas that are looking at the Australian real estate market, they don't want the industry to be too clued up on technology. They don't want the industry to solve the problems that buyers and sellers have because the likes of REA, they want to do that themselves because it puts them in such a strong pole position. And let's be honest with you, REA have done a bloody good job at streamlining and making the experiences of buyers and sellers and renters and landlords so much better. And clearly these big players want it to be that way.
Steve Carroll: (36:23)
I think what HomeLoop does is HomeLoop gives all brands, irrespective of how big or small they are, the opportunity at a very reasonable cost to have their own platform where the data from the feedback goes back to them and then they're in a richer position to obviously do something with it. So I think that HomeLoop is doing its little bit along with a lot of other great tech companies in Australia to just put a bit of power back to the agents and the agencies to enable them to be the holder of data and to make the good decisions based on the data that they've got. But look at the end of the day Kylie, if agent A gets this rich feedback through HomeLoop, but agent A decides not to reinvent his or her behaviour or to evolve his or her behaviour, then the whole ecosystem just doesn't change and the big brands like REA and domain and Facebook will just get stronger and stronger and stronger.
Kylie Davis: (37:48)
Yeah. So what do you think the next five years holds, Steve? What are we going to see? I mean the last five years have been so extraordinary in all the tech that's come through, what do you think is going to drive what comes next?
Steve Carroll: (38:01)
Yeah, no good question. So I think these are two or three big trends that I just predict and I might be wrong. So I think we'll see a consolidation in the number of tech players companies like HomeLoop out there. When I talk to people like Mark McLeod or Ray Ellis or Leanne Pilkington, they're telling me that they're getting contacted 15 times.
Kylie Davis: (38:30)
Steve Carroll: (38:30)
Yeah, absolutely. A hundred percent. And I'm very fortunate that I'm able to get in to see these people because I'd like to think that I've built a good friendship with many, many of them over the last 10 or 15 years. But at the end of the day principals and the franchise groups wants the best that they want less tech and they want brilliant tech and they don't want to be spending lots of time wading through all the different options that are out there. And there are plenty out there and I'm sure you would agree with me on that. So I think that we'll see consolidation in the tech space. The one interesting thing I do want to call out, and again, I'm being a little bit controversial here, but when I came to Australia in 2005, if I was looking for a house in the Gold Coast, I guarantee that in the Gold Coast Bulletin on Saturday, virtually every property would be in the Gold Coast Bulletin. Yeah?
Kylie Davis: (39:40)
Steve Carroll: (39:40)
If it wasn't a full colour picture, it was a linage ad. But if it was for sale, it was in the Gold Coast Bulletin. And also I'd add to that, if there was a job going in the Gold Coast, it was in the Gold Coast Bulletin, and if there was a car for sale, it'd be in the Gold Coast Bulletin. That was 2005.
Kylie Davis: (40:01)
The glory days.
Steve Carroll: (40:05)
They were the glory days. They were the days when the classified section when it hit your driveway, put a crack in the driveway because it was so heavy. And obviously the Rupert Murdoch call those days, the rivers of gold and you know exactly why. Now since 2005, what we've seen with real estate is less and less properties have got into the Gold Coast Bulletin and today maybe 95% of properties don't go in the Gold Coast Bulletin and 5% do. So you've seen this trajectory of 90% of properties in 2005 down to 5% now. I predict that the real estate portals are going to go the same way. And what I mean by that is five years ago, I reckon if it was for sale, it was on realestate.com.au or Domain. But I think over the last five years as a result of agents being more sophisticated, databases being better managed, younger agents coming into the industry who understands social media, I think that people are working out ways to actually launch properties that will probably never, ever go onto the real estate board walls.
Steve Carroll: (41:27)
And I don't know the number, but I recognise just take the Gold Coast as an example, I reckon that there would be at least 20 to 25% of properties for sale in the Gold Coast, not on one of the key portals right now. And I think that trend and everybody talks about it being off market, but whatever you want to call that, I think that trend is going to continue over the next three to five years, which I think will significantly change the way the whole real estate landscape works. And this is not great news for the buyer, because the buyer if they are looking to buy a property in the Gold Coast, they want to go to one place where virtually every property would be listed and in the golden days, that was the Gold Coast Bulletin and five years ago that was realestate.com.au.
Steve Carroll: (42:29)
But now you're not getting all of the properties because so many of those are sold off market through different social media methods and platforms, or what have you and that's not great news for a buyer. It just makes the whole experience more stressful. Which is why I think that HomeLoop be enabled to, if you were looking in the Gold Coast, you download the five or six major players that operate in that Gold Coast. You keep email@example.com and Domain and as a buyer, you'd feel as though you've got most bases covered.
Kylie Davis: (43:12)
So what you think is coming in the next five years is buyers are going to have to hunt further, in more spots and create relationships with agents to find the properties that are really out there? Or commit to a relationship with them?
Steve Carroll: (43:28)
I think is happening now.
Kylie Davis: (43:30)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, I'd agree with that.
Steve Carroll: (43:33)
I think it's happening now. And one of the reasons why REA had the TV ads recently really urging sellers to stay clear of agents that were doing off market is because they understand that there is a potential of the whole newspaper cycle reappearing with the real estate portals. And look, I might be wrong, but your question was, what are the trends that we're likely to see over the next two or three years? And I think that is a big one.
Kylie Davis: (44:13)
Yeah. And I guess agents owning their own data again too, is part of what you're doing that is one of the trends that we're seeing in the tech space is looking at tech that is giving agents the power to start to see and interrogate and collate and collect their own data on their own performance and on, you know-
Steve Carroll: (44:37)
Absolutely. And look, and most importantly be able to have personalised conversations when you're doing those follow-ups. So if you came through an open for inspection and you basically gave that particular property a thumbs down and the reason for it was location, then at least when the agent rings you, the agent is not saying, hey Kylie, can you give me some feedback on the three Smith Street, the agent can ring you and say, look Kylie, you came through three Smith Street. I understand the location is not right for you. But can I, you know, ask this question or ask that question and the conversation is a lot more post-personalised and it's a lot more real.
Kylie Davis: (45:26)
Yeah. Awesome. So you've got your dashboard on your roadmap. What else does the future look like for HomeLoop?
Steve Carroll: (45:36)
Well, the plan for me is to get 50 brands using the platform in 2021. And by the end of April, we'll have close to 10 brands are using the platform. So we obviously need to get that to 50 by Christmas. But most importantly, we need to work with those 50 brands on building a world class piece of technology that will give the thousands of other brands in 2022, the opportunity to have their own white labelled platform. So that is the absolute priority. Whilst I'm working on that the founder and the chairman are looking at other countries that are potentially would benefit from the HomeLoop technology. And we've already earmarked a couple of locations where we think the technology would work well and once I can get on a plane and fly internationally, then obviously we'll be testing that hypothesis with the work that we're doing.
Steve Carroll: (46:54)
But what's really exciting Kylie is I was very spoiled at REA, great company and I loved everything I did there, but I was spoiled because there was so much certainty with the product. You could be certain that if REA launched a product, it would work brilliantly well. And what I'm really enjoying working in this startup space is there's so much uncertainty that actually gives you a real good reason to get out of bed in the morning with passion and sometimes trepidation as well. Like what the hell, if this doesn't work, what am I going to do next?
Kylie Davis: (47:42)
Yeah. It is a bit addictive, isn't it? All that adrenaline.
Steve Carroll: (47:45)
Yeah, no. Exactly, exactly. I mean just out of interest, we found out through Biggin & Scott, we've only got one brand that we went with once, so we could pilot, and then we're obviously launching others over the coming weeks. But we learnt that buyers, when they get invited to download the Biggin& Scott platform, their preference is not to get an invitation during the day of Saturday, because they've got a lot of opens to get to and obviously, although it's only a one minute job, what we've learned is that preference is to be invited to download the Biggin & Scott app at the end of the day. And our assumptions were, as soon as they turn up for an inspection through the APIs we've got with the CRMs, let's send them an invitation to download the Biggin & Scott app and that was our hypothesis and our hypothesis was wrong. And actually invited them at the end of the day when they've got a beer or a glass of wine in their hand and they're reflecting on the six properties they've looked at, that's when they're more receptive to having communication from Biggin & Scott and that's what I mean by uncertainty and excitement.
Kylie Davis: (49:17)
Yeah. Awesome. Well, look, we're going to include your contact details in the show notes. So if there are any real estate brands out there that would like to be one of Steve's and HomeLoops beta testers, I guess, start using the product it'll be easy for you to reach out to him. But Steve it's been absolutely awesome having you on the Proptech Podcast. Thank you.
Steve Carroll: (49:43)
Yeah, absolutely. I'll send you a link to our YouTube channel. We've got three very, very short videos that explain how the technology works, and if you'd be kind enough to include that, that would be great.
Kylie Davis: (49:58)
So that was my mate, Steve Carroll, from HomeLoop. Now what are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them. So I think HomeLoop is right on the money in identifying a problem that desperately needs to be solved in residential real estate. That process of follow-ups between agents and buyers after open for inspections is inconsistent at best and absolutely chaotic, or even non-existent at worst. But isn't an app for every major agency the best way to solve this. Now, look, I'm just a focus group of one, but that's where I'm going to watch HomeLoop with real interest, because this idea that the way you solve the problem of buyer inconvenience, by asking them to download three or four apps that all do exactly the same thing but adjusting different colours. Well, that's the bit I'm struggling with. But look, as Steve said, testing these hypotheses is always part of Proptech and HomeLoop is in beta now and no doubt, they're going to give this thinking a really rigorous working over. So I look forward to learning more about the outcomes and wish HomeLoop every success.
Kylie Davis: (51:00)
Now if you'd like to become one of those 50 agencies that uses HomeLoop for free until next year, I've included Steve's contact details in the show notes, and we've also included a link to their YouTube channel so that you can see the app in action. And if you have enjoyed this episode of the Proptech Podcast, I would love you to tell your friends or to drop me a line either via email, LinkedIn or on Facebook. You can follow this podcast on Spotify, Google podcasts, [inaudible 00:51:27] and Apple iTunes. And I'd like to thank my audio support, Charlie Hollins, and the fabulous [inaudible 00:51:32] and our sponsors Direct Connect, making moving easy, Smidge Wines, exclusive wines made in limited quantities and available only via the cellar door at smidgewines.com and HomePrezzo, now part of active part and helping you make engaging content for your email marketing.
Kylie Davis: (51:49)
Now do you run a Proptech business or are you a founder of a Proptech or make sure you join the Proptech Association. It's Australia's new not-for-profit association made up of tech people who are passionate about the property industry and who are committed to improving experiences in how we buy, sell, rent, manage, build, and finance property. So joining will give you access to events and networks across Australia and globally, and will help you promote and grow your business. So go to proptechassociation.com.au. That's it for me for this week. Thank you everyone. Until next week, keep on propteching.