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Transcript: OpenLot – Qi Chen: Land Purchasing Made Easier

Kylie:

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. It's so great to have you here for another season of building connections and community amongst Proptech innovators, real estate agents, and property owners. And sharing our stories, is a great way to do that. And the aim of each episode is to introduce our listeners to a Proptech innovator, who is pushing the boundaries of what's possible across how we design, build, buy, sell, rent, and invest in property, and all of the associated behaviour around that.


Kylie:

And none of this would be possible without our sponsors. So a very big thank you to the Direct Connect team, Dynamic Methods and Forms Live, and the Proptech Association of Australia. Thank you for your support which makes our podcast possible.


Kylie:

And my guest this week, got the idea for his Proptech, after losing entire Saturdays, driving around new housing estates in Melbourne, visiting multiple developers, and trying to find a block of land to purchase. Only to discover that nearly everything he looked at had been sold.


Kylie:

Qi Chen is a software engineer and computer developer, who has experience in both real estate and marketing platforms. Having worked with Proptech's landchecker.com.au and urban.com.au. But it was his personal frustration with buying a house and land package that got thinking, "There has to be a better way." And going out and doing it on his own.


Kylie:

And in just a few years, OpenLot has become a one stop shop for house and land packages, helping buyers research, and compare areas openly and transparently, as well as choosing the right area for them to be located in, and the developer to build their dream home. And it currently boasts over 1500 housing estates in Victoria alone, and is expanding up the SCC board. So, here to tell us all about it, Qi Chen, welcome to the prop tech podcast.


Qi Chen:

Oh, hi, Kylie. Thanks for having me, it's good to be here.


Kylie:

It's great. I am really excited about this space. Tell me what is OpenLot's elevator pitch?


Qi Chen:

Sure. Not a problem. OpenLot is just, because we want to help house and land buyers, and new home buyers, when they're looking to buy in a brand new suburb, basically. Because when you go onto other property websites, or you're dealing with individual agents, it's not easy to get an overview on what development's happening in a suburb. You might get a lot of listings from some of the websites. But it's really hard to do your background research and see, oh actually how many projects, who are the developers behind it?


Qi Chen:

So, this is what the problem we're here to solve, is having a very transparent information platform, and helping buyers to do their step one research, and understand what are the developments in an area, that they're looking to buy.


Kylie:

Okay, so OpenLot is effectively a tool to help the better buying of house and land packages. Is that correct?


Qi Chen:

Right. Give them more options, more information, and be more confident into making their decisions.


Kylie:

Awesome.


Qi Chen:

And we also connect them with the developer directly. So, we have this inquiry function, where it helps buyers to make their short list.


Kylie:

Okay. So, what are the problems that have traditionally existed in buying a house and land package? And how does OpenLot solve them?


Qi Chen:

So, I'll give my personal example. I founded the platform in 2019, over two years ago. And before that, I actually had a personal experience buying a block of land, and be putting a house on it, in Melbourne West suburb. And going through that myself as a buyer, I found it very difficult. Because I remember myself going on a Saturday, driving through a suburb called Point Cook, and stopping at every intersection, because I see a land sales office. But when you walk in, there usually are nothing available. Everything's sold out. Put you on a waiting list. And when you do that a few times, now your Saturday's gone.


Kylie:

Yeah, true.


Qi Chen:

And feel like it's not productive, because I haven't really got any information. They just put my list on something, that I'm expecting a call back. So, I felt that there must be a better way. That that can be done better.


Qi Chen:

So in 2019, my background's in real estate, also technology. So, I've been doing in the marketing space, and be able to come up with the concept, and get a very MVP into a website I've been running. So yeah, I think it's been solving the same problem that I had, but now for a lot more buyers, and our traffic's growing, which is a proof of that problem solving.


Kylie:

Awesome. And look, I took a look at your case study video, and look, congratulations on that. If you're a Proptech out there, who wants to see a really good example of a case study video, that really explains what you do, and how you do it, and how you help your customers, check out Qi's video. Is it on the website?


Qi Chen:

Correct.


Kylie:

If it's not, then we'll put it in the show notes.


Qi Chen:

On openlot.com.au/contreras.


Kylie:

Okay. Awesome. So, let's just wind back a little bit. How big is the site? How many house and land packages have you sold through it? Give me some details about the success that you're having with it?


Qi Chen:

Sure. We test ourself as an information and marketing platform, and then we're not agency, we don't actually handle the transaction. But the website launched late 2019. And since then, it grew into… I looked at last month, we were over 70,000 unique visitors a month. So, a lot of it was the content that we had, which getting us recommended by search engines, also with return visitors. But also, the content that we're able to showcase, actually the full picture of the market. It's getting the buyers, and then coming back and doing research.


Kylie:

So, with that research, what kind of things can I find out if I'm a buyer on OpenLot?


Qi Chen:

Sure. And itself, me, five years ago, going down the intersections, so driving around. Well, thanks to also COVID in the lockdown, people have to do it online. You're able to come on to OpenLot, put in a suburb, let's say tiny, and be able to see, here's actually 20 developments that's been planned, or currently selling. And then, you can zoom into any given development, and find out who the developer is, what stages and planning that's active from a council application point view. You can see if they're actually progressing.


Qi Chen:

Sometimes who's the agent that's selling it, the town planner that are behind it. We also got the information from the development, or from the developer. So, their Facebook update, a news article around them. So, having all of these, and also historic land prices in that suburb, which is quite unique. So, pretty much everything around that. Another one is the school. So, there's a lot of information on the page, but they give the buyers a chance to review it, and be able to put [inaudible 00:07:33] actually. I want to inquire and find out more, and get that pricing information. So, that's the experience a buyer have.


Kylie:

Yeah. So, it sounds like you're almost a domain or a real estate.com, but for off the plan house and land stuff. Would that be a good summary?


Qi Chen:

Correct. Yeah, we do compete with those top players, but in a niche scale. You are always going to have your residential market, your rental, on those platforms. But when it comes to just researching house, and land, and new home, we're providing a dedicated experience. And so far, it's been helping… Looking at the growth, it's been helping people. And we get feedback from buyers as well, telling us that this is a… Some buyer said to us, we thought this platform is either only for professionals, or has to pay for. But you know what, it's actually probably available.


Kylie:

Yeah. Okay. So, that's a great… That leads me into my next question. Who are your clients? Your audience are house and land buyers, but are you charging them, or what's your business model that sits behind the site?


Qi Chen:

Great question. We call it as a two sided marketplace. So, while one is, we do the research, we have these buyers coming onto us, and consuming our information. On the other side, we have the seller which are the developer, or the master agent, that are selling the products in those development. We have different marketing plans that can provide to those sellers, being able to promote their products to our audience. Which includes, can be as simple as email, SMS marketing, putting your listing on the top of our search engine. A range of services. So, that's how the platform, how we make money. It's having that relationship with the seller, with the developers.


Kylie:

Right. So, you're a channel to market, to make sure that you're bringing leads, I guess, to those developers, from people who are genuinely motivated about finding a house and land package?


Qi Chen:

A 100%. Yeah. Driving the relevant eyeballs towards what they're selling, and thanks to your mention to the testimonials, that customers are actually telling us, they couldn't ask for more. This is exactly what they were looking for. When some of those other website, they only have a generalised solution. Whereas this is a very… If you're looking for a school driver, this is exact one, yeah.


Kylie:

Yeah. Okay. So, it's going to give you an overview of the whole suburb, I guess, that if we're… Especially when new suburbs are being built, which you're not necessarily going to get, if you're going to an agent site, or an individual developer site. If multiple developers, I guess, happening inside that suburb?


Qi Chen:

Yeah. And also, we take the content inquire independently, and diligently. We have a research team that actually monitor, and actively making sure the content is transparent. We don't want to hide. If a big parcel plan that's being submitted to the council, we want to make it transparent, because that's public information. And it helps the buyers that are in the area, looking to buy in the area, understand, "Okay, well that puzzle of [inaudible 00:11:07], it's actually going to turn into a community."


Qi Chen:

So, that's the level of making sure the information, that we can actively monitor, it's independently curated. I think that's the difference from just a pay to list model, where you see what people are promoting.


Kylie:

Okay. Awesome. So, are you just in Victoria? How big are you at the moment? Where are you?


Qi Chen:

Yeah, we started most of our space in Victoria. We started in Victoria 2019, and that was our main market, up until earlier this year. So, the most recent, so three to six months, we've gone along with the Eastern sea board, New South Wales and Queensland are more recent focus. And we've already onboarded five new customers, just as soon as we relaunch, and now we're getting the buyers through as well. But so far so good. And it's been a good market for the house and land specs.


Kylie:

Yeah. And so, how big is that market in Australia? How much house and land specs gets done?


Qi Chen:

Yeah, a 100%. We're still studying the market as we're building it, obviously. But let's say Victoria, for example, we're reading some of the latest reports from different Institute in Victoria. We're having our strongest month rather recently, but it could be that the whole state are releasing around 7,000 lots a month across, it could be two or 300 estates, that are actively releasing.


Qi Chen:

So, that's on a transaction point of view. On a higher level, how many active estates? We think that the larger ones, probably sitting around in Victoria, it's around 200. But on our website, we actually list more, because we are capturing, sometimes it could townhouses, development, or the ones that are still at planning, but they're not quite ready. They're waiting for council approval. But we still consider it as a development, it's just at the earlier stage.


Kylie:

So, there is a chronic housing shortage in Australia. It's one of the reasons why… The lack of supply out there, is one of the reasons why housing's so expensive. Is OpenLot actually helping solve that at all? Or are there benefits to developers in helping them understand, making them more efficient, so that more properties can be developed?


Qi Chen:

Yeah, it's a very good context bringing, because traditionally think about house and land and new homes, it's actually tiered towards your first home buyers, and entry level of the market. And that's where we're seeing, from the data coming through, and the data information we're capturing with our audience. It is an efficient tool. It helps people getting into the market by providing an easier way to look at the entry level of house and land stock. But also naturally, if there's a platform that people are spending time on educating themselves about developments, then we are progressing this audience more towards making a decision.


Qi Chen:

So yeah, I think we play a role, that helps service those opportunities. Buyers register on OpenLot, they're getting information about new developments they could be interested in. So, by providing that information, putting them into contact with the selling agent, it is helping. I think on a high level, the shortage is, a lot of it's out of our control. It's like the developer, customers we have, are pushing through more stock, and that's what they're working on a 100%.


Qi Chen:

But at the same time, relies on the council. The council needs to be approving, and getting the releasing schedule. We hear developers from New South Wales, for example, they're saying that they're having difficulty getting those planning approved. So, that's something that I guess the government, and the industry needs to work together.


Kylie:

In the next couple of years, or even a year or so, as you start to see more data coming through your platform though, are you going to be able to see that correlation between the release and the sale? Are you going to be able to be part of that bigger picture for, not just council A to understand how land release in their area has actually been taken up, but actually for government to start to see all these different… Are you going to be part of that picture?


Qi Chen:

Yeah. One thing that's very interesting around this topic is, we had a developer coming to us. They want to promote one of their developments, which we got information from public sources. And we've been, their buyers interested on that development. But what we found was, when the developer said to us, they wanted to get planning approved by the local council, it's a regional council. The regional council want them to have subdivided lots around seven and 800 square metre. Because they think that that's suitable for that local area.


Qi Chen:

But the developer obviously wanted to have more lots. Which brings down the cost of each lot, and cost of the house. That's what they're trying to push through. And that's the argument they're having with the council. And when they come to OpenLot, because we're capturing data near that area. We're actually collecting data around what lot size the buyer in that area actually prefer.


Qi Chen:

And what the data's showing us is, the buyers in that area actually prefer 400 to 500. Rather than what the council's insisting. So, the developer can go and say, "Hey, we want to use this data, and put it into our planning." Because this is aligned with what they wanted to achieve, and it's also aligned with what the buyers wanted to-


Kylie:

What they're looking for.


Qi Chen:

… getting to market with the smaller block and maybe less lawn to mow.


Kylie:

Yes. Less lawn to mow, and maybe a more affordable house.


Qi Chen:

Correct. So, I think these are the little things that as we discover the data we're collecting. And by the way, the data can be found on our website. We have a little, very innovative tool, where you can see every suburb, what people are actually looking for. We have 10 data sets or land size floor plan, building budget, type of buyers, pre-approval even. So, there's a lot of data set, we're telling you, "Hey, in this suburb, people are looking for 300 square lot."


Kylie:

Okay. Awesome.


Kylie:

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Kylie:

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Kylie:

So, tell me a little bit more about your background, Qi? So, you mentioned before that you'd been working in property technology and marketing.


Qi Chen:

Correct. Yeah. I studied computer science, and IT background. But I was fortunate to get into marketing, and real estate at IA group. So, I was there for over two years, learning about the market, and the industry. After that, I went to a few other startups. Some of them are Proptech related, which gave me aspiration of starting my own business, and solving real problem in society. That's where the OpenLot idea came about, when I feel like the timing's right. And I know this is a real problem, and I think I can really add value to those people going through the same problem.


Kylie:

So, I know that sometimes house and land developers do releases, and people even camp out for a day or two, to make sure they get the lot that they want. Do you make that not necessary? Because that just sounds like a hideous experience to me.


Qi Chen:

Yeah. Look, it comes back to the other question you had around affordability. And obviously, the supply issue. In New South Wales, all the estates that we're talking, discussing with developers, they're selling out. Like you said, people camping out [inaudible 00:20:41]. It's just a lack of supply. And the developer also complaining, it's the council not approving it quickly. It's a process, really long.


Qi Chen:

So for us, we suggest, people can do the research with us, at least every development have a fair opportunity if come onto OpenLot, and be able to attract the buyers that's actively searching. And yeah, I guess there are the solutions in the market that's trying to solve the issue. I think Release.Me, that's one of the other startups that we've been watching, and they're look looking to solve that problem. But also, some agents that we talk to, they don't allow people to camp out, because they feel like that's not right.


Kylie:

Good.


Qi Chen:

Yeah. Whether it's using ticketing system online, Event Tribe. We've seen also this different technology that can be put in place.


Kylie:

Yeah. Okay. So, you said you started in 2019. How big are you now?


Qi Chen:

We have six full time team members, working very hard on solving the problem, and making the platform better. As I said, we're in the three states, and we're looking to really… We felt that we got a value proposition validated in Victoria. We want to bring that to other market, and then have the contraction, and cover the whole country. So, that's our next 12 months, and where we're trying to be, is to be the land solution in Australia.


Kylie:

And how are you funding it?


Qi Chen:

It was, I would say, bootstrapped. So the first year, we didn't have any revenue. But because I have a technical background, so we're able to build a platform at a very low cost, if you look at the market. And that got us through the-


Kylie:

[inaudible 00:22:59].


Qi Chen:

And we started become profitable a year ago. So, when we started charging our developer clients, and then it quickly become cash flow into the business. And now, we'll be able to expand the business as we… The revenue goes, and bring on more people, which helps get the train running.


Kylie:

Awesome. Well done. Congratulations. That's very impressive, in such a short period of time, for a tech business.


Qi Chen:

Thank you.


Kylie:

So, do you think that you are an Australian only solution? Is this house and land package malarkey, something that is just us crazy Australians love, or do you see that you've got the ability to expand it globally?


Qi Chen:

Yeah, anything's possible. Especially, we can look at similar markets. It could be New Zealand. And there will be similar market where we can replicate what we've learned, and the processes that we develop here. But at the same time, a lot of people come and ask us, would you consider doing apartments? Would you consider doing even solution for builders, or solution for commercial listings? Because development site, can be sold as a commercial site. So, those are all possibilities. But at this stage, we want to focus on getting the land proposition right, and be the platform for that.


Kylie:

Inch wide, mile deep, right? That's the secret to success in Proptech initially.


Qi Chen:

Yeah. We have to own our place, and at least get one thing sorted.


Kylie:

Yeah. So, you mentioned before Release.Me, and I think we've got a schedule to talk to Amber Keogh from Release.Me, in a future episode. But how do you see the competitive landscape? Who else is out there that is doing either similar stuff, or how are you different?


Qi Chen:

It's actually a very small… When it comes to the solutions in just greenfield space, that's what we call it, there's actually very few players. Obviously, you've got your traditional real estate portals. But yeah, apart from that, there's some solutions for builder, in the builder space, which we're not really competing with. But in terms of land, it's an interesting area. Because a lot of people, when it comes to new home, they want to focus on our apartment, because that's where the profit is-


Kylie:

Volume is. Yeah.


Qi Chen:

And the volume, especially probably like five years ago, and there's a lot of international fund and investors coming in. The land it's afterthought. So, we're fortunate that it's something that we're able to quickly capture, and hopefully provide a good solution. We're open to talk to anyone that's solving similar problem around the same problem in the same space, and see how we can work together. There's a few other solutions more for the customers, like CIM providers, we're working closely with, and some other builder technologies companies that we work closely with. So yeah, we're very open minded, and we think that it only, the industry only move forward when we work together, and provide a value more efficiently.


Kylie:

My mind's going at a 100 miles an hour, I'm thinking about five people I need to introduce you to, into this space. But what are the biggest objections that you get from developers, or real estate agency, who should be using your tool? What excuses do they come up with?


Qi Chen:

Yeah, sure. That's a very good question. One of the things more recently, is the market's been very hot. What that means is-


Kylie:

Oh, yeah. Why do we need it? [crosstalk 00:27:12] discuss that themselves.


Qi Chen:

Yeah. What that means is, they've got a waiting list of 200 people, waiting for the next five broker lands. And they can't keep up with the demand coming in, organically. So, that's a market, there's always coming down. Because at the beginning of COVID, that's when we started, a lot of the first few customers that we had, that was from March to June last year, they said to us that, "Qi, if there was no OpenLot, they would've made no sale that month." So that's when, how quiet the market was. And they just need that one or two sales to keep the momentum going.


Qi Chen:

But now it's a lot of the same customers, are turning over 40 lots a month, and running out of stock. So for us, those customers that we go to the lows with, they trust us, and they know that marketing is needed. But now, if we're introducing to new customer, when everything's selling quickly, that's one objection. Other than that, I think we are fortunate. We're in a space that we are not reinventing something that's changing behaviour of what the agent's already doing. So, we're in a market that people are already spending on marketing. People already need to talk to buyers.


Qi Chen:

So, that removes a lot of objections of what's this, and they don't understand. Everyone understand, they need to do marketing. And we just do it in a way that's more tailored to them. So yeah, on a high level, our sales team talking to prospective clients, it has been quite a positive conversation. And once we'd be able to demonstrate, why OpenLot? How it [inaudible 00:29:06]? What's the value proposition for a buyer? Because the first question they always have is, why aren't everyone on [inaudible 00:29:15] domain already? Why do they come to another platform? Then we have to explain, "Well, we provide different information. We have a different value proposition for the buyers, and they actually seeing more content, and makes time easier when it comes to finding out-"


Kylie:

And making them feel more confident, I guess, at what they're about to do. Which is a very scary thing, if you're doing it for the first time, that what they're about to do, is going to work, and it makes sense, and that they've researched it properly.


Qi Chen:

It's a big decision in life to make, and it's a big purchase. It's a big transaction. So, anyone that's making… I'm recently buying a car, I still want to know, am I getting the best deal, or am I talking to the right person? It's the same thing when you're buying a block of land. You want to make sure, did I research all my options in that little area? Because are the next two streets going to be cheaper? So, people wanted to make sure they're in control, and OpenLot gives them exactly that. So, the peace of mind, it's a fear of missing out, making sure, "Hey, we're here. Information's all there. Just come here. You're not talking to just one agent. We're here to be independent."


Kylie:

Let's just take a short break and hear a quick word from our sponsors. Do you run a Proptech business, or are you the founder of a Proptech? Make sure you join the Proptech Association of Australia. It's Australia's new, not for profit association, made up of tech people who are passionate about the property industry, and committed to improving experiences in how we buy, sell, rent, manage, build, and finance property. Joining will give you access to events and networks across Australia and globally, to help you promote and grow your business. Go to proptechassociation.com.au, and follow the prompts to join.


Kylie:

And so, what are the biggest challenges that you face as an entrepreneur? As a Proptech entrepreneur?


Qi Chen:

One thing I alluded to earlier was, I guess that's fortunate, is I had this technology background and marketing background. So for me, I was able to have this website spin up, and have this process in place quite efficiently. What's lucky for me was, I got another business panel that had this go-to-market, and sell background, that can add into the mix. So, we were able to… He was able to come in, and help us build that sales process. So, that was what I would've been lacking, if I was doing it on my own. And fortunately, we're solving those problem now. And


Kylie:

That's what makes a good co-founder. Basically, when your skills offset, or compliment each other really strongly.


Qi Chen:

Yeah. That's exactly right. And yeah, we feel like we are on the right track. We're solving problem. We're getting more traction. I guess it's challenges any startup will face. We have this bottom up strategy. We have smaller clients, and they're moving upwards. And then, as any other B2B sales, you've got to build that momentum. Get that recognition. Get that market so that people recognise your brand. Build that trust, build that really strong B2B proposition. Sometimes it takes time, sometimes it's different angles, marketing, testimonial, that you've seen, share a voice. So, that's what we're working on, and hopefully it's progressing.


Kylie:

Hang on. I've got a quick question about the shape of how land sales work. It's a fixed price, isn't it? Or can you negotiate the price of the land up, if there's multiple buyers interested in it?


Qi Chen:

Yeah. I wouldn't put a disclaimer out there. I'm not a real estate agent. So, don't call me. But from my understanding as a buyer, if it's off the plan, it's usually fixed price. Because usually it's a valuation. Because a master plan community will have a release of maybe 20 lots, and maybe 10 of them are exactly the same shape, and all that. So, if they're all the same price, it makes the valuation process a bit easier. Because those release of 20 lots need to settle at the same time. So, it'd be the same value, or similar banks, to value them.


Kylie:

Ah, got it.


Qi Chen:

If they're a different price, like 20, 30K off, even if the buyers wanted to pay for it, the bank's going to go, "Why are they different? Just pick the lowest number." Then it becomes the settlement risk for the developer.


Kylie:

Got it.


Qi Chen:

So, the developer rather have, of the plan, we just set the price, which we know it's going to work, and works without forecasting. And the buyer just comes in, and put a deposit down.


Kylie:

Right. Awesome. Got it. Thank you. So. What do you think the next five years holds? Crystal ball out, what does the next five years hold for the house and land industry in Australia? Are we going to see more releases? Do you think, how much growth is in it, or… And what do you think are the tech trends that are… Because the only thing more painful than buying a property, is actually building one or renovating one. That can be quite a traumatic process. How do you think the tech's going to play out in that space?


Qi Chen:

Again, very good question. And I think on a high level, it is a market, that there's a lot of things happening. But at the same time it progress, from a technology point of view, very slowly. So, it's hard to predict something, because 90% of the time it would be wrong.


Qi Chen:

But I think from a supply point of view, especially with COVID, the apartment market is probably not in favour with… Even a few years ago, with a lot of build quality issues. But now it's also the lifestyle. People are working from home, and looking for bigger space. So, I think that trend will drive the demand of greenfield suburbs, and the sprout of the new development in greenfield areas.


Qi Chen:

And then capital city, we're looking at Sydney, there's a lack of land for that greenfield. But then, for Queensland and Melbourne, that's where a lot of greenfield land being rezoned. And those rezoning activities are happening.


Qi Chen:

So, supply point of view, that's where the focus is. Technology, it's hard to know. The good thing with technology is, you've got to always have to solve a problem. If you've got an idea, you've got a tech, you've got a solution, what problem you're solving? So for me, it's about finding what those problems are. Like you said, the camping out, that's real problem for buyers.


Qi Chen:

So for me, I'd change the question to, what other problems can we solve currently? We're already seeing some technology adoption. It could be digital signing, thanks to COVID again. Most land contracts, we're seeing now, are not on a dotted line, and photocopies. So, they're on DocuSign. So, that's already a wing. And that's only happened in the last maybe 12 months.


Qi Chen:

There will be things like that, it just happen throughout the transaction. But I'm always curious to see what other problems we can be solving. One problem, like you mentioned is, yeah, once they've got a block of land, what can I build on it? So, we're also watching that space. How can a platform that help buyers selecting builders, or floor plans, a bit easier? Yeah. There's [crosstalk 00:37:40]-


Kylie:

I guess virtually, things like that are going to play in that space. So, being able to walk through your house in your home virtually, before it's even built. And start to move the pixels around, so that you can add a bedroom, knock down a… Put an extra bathroom in, all that stuff. So, what does the next five years hold for OpenLot, Qi? What's on your roadmap?


Qi Chen:

Sure. Like I just said a bit earlier, focusing on land, and getting it right. That's the number one for us. And we've got a team dedicated to achieve that. We'll be learning as we go, talking to our customers. See where else can we add value, any other problem we can be solving for you? We're still being open minded, and look at what that could be. But in the short term, next 12 months, we want to cover the whole country, being the only platform for house, and land, and new home townhouses, search in Australia.


Kylie:

Awesome. Well look, congratulations on everything you've achieved so far with OpenLot. It's been great to have you with the Proptech podcast.


Qi Chen:

Great to be here. Thanks for organising it.


Kylie:

So, that was Qi Chen, founder of OpenLot, a new Proptech, making it easy to buy house and land packages, by allowing builders to both research the market, and compare developers and areas, all in the one place. The land market is such an interesting beast in Australia. The fact that land supply is so limited, yet prices are fixed, creates a real pressure cooker situation for both buyers and developers.If you see something that fits your price, you have to jump at it or risk missing out. But that can lead to poor decision making, and it can be taken advantage of.


Kylie:

And you have to remember that a lot of these buyers are often first home buyers, which adds to the anxiety of getting it wrong. Making the ability to research new suburbs with the same degree of insight and clarity, that you can look at existing suburbs, is hugely powerful. And it brings both transparency and confidence into the new build market. Now, I think Qi and his team have got a great product, and it's great to hear about their success so far. And I look forward to hearing about them continuing to shine.


Kylie:

Now, if you have enjoyed this episode of the Proptech podcast, I would love you to tell your friends, drop me a line via email, LinkedIn or Facebook. You can follow the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor, and Apple iTunes. I'd like to thank my podcast producer, Charlie Hollands, and our sponsors, Direct Connect, making moving easy Dynamic Methods, the name behind Forms Live, REI Forms Live, and Realworks. And the Proptech Association Australia, Australia's industry body, to support the flourishing Proptech community. Thanks everyone. Until next week, keep on prop ticking.