Under the hood: make an offer

As we all know, the restrictions put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic had a massive impact on the real estate market in 2020.

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In the early days of the pandemic, the housing market saw a big flurry of activity to try and close out as many campaigns as possible. This was followed by a long period of a reduction in listing levels.

"We needed to figure out a way to integrate into [real estate agents’] current workflow so it's almost frictionless.” - Daniel Bignold

However, for ANZi alumnus Propps, physical restrictions created an opportunity for digital solutions to fill the gap. According to Propps Founder & CEO Daniel Bignold, these changes advanced the usage of digital tools which Propps was able to leverage.

“Agents were trying to leverage virtual tours and online auction type solutions. Buyers were then having to figure out the technology and embrace that as part of their property search and subsequent transactions,” he explains.

The high level vision for Propps is to enhance the buying and selling process for real estate – a big challenge to tackle. To make the business simpler and scalable, the team initially focused on improving the experience of making an offer on a property.

Real estate agents who partner with Propps gain access to a “make an offer” button embedded into their existing website infrastructure. This allows them to direct buyers to their own website to make legally binding or non-binding offers. The agent has full control over the offers which can be centrally managed in one place, securely forwarded to the vendor or referred back to the buyer, making the process more streamlined and standardised.

As part of the ANZi process, the Propps team were able to develop and test their product and business model and were “spun out” of the ANZi team in July 2020 with a minimum viable product ready to be piloted with agents across Australia.

“Some of the key lessons [from the early research] were agents telling us the last thing [they] wanted was another app,” Bignold says. “We needed to figure out a way to integrate into their current workflow so it's almost frictionless.”

Bignold says another key complexity for the business was around how different the offer process can be state by state.

“A lot of people don't realise there are different rules and regulations per state. Different clauses a buyer can include, different settlement times, some states have holding deposits and others don't, some have cooling off periods and others don't,” he outlines. “[We had to] lock down all of those variations and make sure the platform could facilitate any and every offer from each state.”

“Any private sale or private treaty style structure is a way in which an offer would be submitted through the Propps process, and that's actually a vast majority of the country. Melbourne is actually the auction capital of the country - in some other states, there are little-to-no auctions so the highest percentage method of sale is by some form of offer.”

Following a successful soft launch, Propps is now looking to launch at-scale. This means testing the proposition with higher volumes in a housing market where ANZ Research expects price gains of 9 per cent in capital cities.

Shayne Elliott is CEO of ANZ

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