Re-View takes real estate to the cloud
Most of us put little thought into the behind-the-scenes of buying and selling properties. Immersing ourselves in the property market is often only something that we’ll do a few times over the course of our lives- if we’re lucky, that is.
Re-View is a cloud-based application designed for real estate agencies and their agents, offering them a complete solution that they can use for appraisal and listing right through to the completed sale. It will soon fully integrate with Xero as an add-on, and can even handle complex processes like tracking agent commissions.
The startup launched in early 2014 at Xerocon in Auckland after over a year of product development and testing. Rory O’Connor, CEO of Re-View, and Tom Wallace, CEO of Re-Leased, started the company after they recognised a need for modern real estate software in the market. The two entrepreneurs had been previously involved with the real estate business and saw that many of the big agencies in the country were using outdated, enterprise-level software, and had not yet experienced the cloud revolution.
Fast forward just a few months, and some of the largest real estate companies in New Zealand are now using Re-View software to manage their listings, collect and distribute data, and even upload their properties to websites like TradeMe and RealEstate.co.nz.
Rory and Tom first met in a Hawkes Bay high school, and then went to the University of Otago where the two students flatted together. Rory is not involved with Re-Leased, but it was Tom launching the company that got the ball rolling for Re-View.
“Around the time of its [Re-Leased] launch I was working at Colliers in Napier in commercial real estate,” Rory explained in an email. “Tom and I were talking about Re-Leased and various business ideas and after experiencing other software, and we felt there was an opportunity for a modern real estate software.
“We kept building on our ideas, scoping the product and looking at the market, and after a few months we decided to launch Re-View.”
The software has quickly become popular because it gives agencies an advantage by cost-effectively allowing them to deal with enormous amounts of data. Users don’t need to have any technical systems or experience to manage their agencies since the entire application is cloud-based.
“Re-View capitalises on this by not only storing all of an agencies data, such as contacts, properties and listings, in one place, but then reproducing it in a way that actually helps to create sales,” Rory continued.
“We believe that the greatest asset a real estate agency has is the agents they employ. We empower these sales people with a number of tools to help them manage their workload and leads which ultimately make more sales.”
For example, agents can track campaigns and sales, produce flyers and send emails out to all customers right from their dashboard. Agency owners can monitor sales activity, view opportunities, and manage all of their listings from one location.
The entire tool is built around a database which is structured differently to what you may find other software using. There’s a distinct focus on listings and physical properties, which allows the firm to combine information that they were previously storing on a local disk and a listing system into one single database which gives the user more capabilities when they are searching, accessing, or displaying the data.
“We also focus on the user experience and design of our software and place great importance on how agents interact with Re-View,” Rory said. “It is the agents that drive a real estate business, so we have used our experience in the industry to identify where other systems have failed to engage the user and developed tools to ensure an agent wants to use Re-View.”
The company has taken on no outside investment to fund its development, relying on private funds and the work of Red Jungle, an application development company in Napier, to take it from concept to reality. Without pressure from investors, the team behind Re-View has had the opportunity to focus on making it the best tool on the market.
But the same fresh approach and novelty that Re-View is praised for by its customers has also made it challenging for the company to enter the market. Most large real estate agencies have known Re-View’s competitors for the last 10+ years, have cemented relationships with them, and have used their products as the core of their agencies for a long time.
“A company’s software underpins its entire business operation,” Rory says, “so it is a bit of a leap of faith for users to take on a young, relatively unproven product. This can make it hard to convince people to change, but the software is really robust and we have developed strong relationships with early users who believe in what we are trying to achieve.”
“While being a young company has been an obstacle, it has also worked to our advantage,” Rory adds. “We have found that people are often impressed with the energy we bring to the market, and as a result we’ve found they will stop to take a look at our offering.
“Then it’s a matter of showing them how our product will improve their business.”
Re-View plans to expand its user base in New Zealand and continue development of the product this year, and then the startup plans to go global. Rory says that Re-View recently secured its first client in Australia and they will be exhibiting at Xerocon Sydney in a few weeks.
“This will be a great introduction to the Australian market, and we plan to open an office there in the next 12 months,” he concluded.
Do you know anyone in the real estate business? Send them a link to Re-View.com and you could change the way they do business.