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Agorafy is an open platform organizing and sharing real estate information in New York.

Our mission is to be the most accurate resource for commercial listings, residential listings, and property information, allowing users to make highly-informed decisions based on current market data.

We believe in creating value for real estate professionals by providing them with a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips, which can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. Spend less time retrieving information and more time on closing deals. 

We look forward to your participation and feedback as we grow.

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Monday
Jul212014

TOOLS FOR SUCCESS IN REAL ESTATE

As we enter the dog days of summer, it never hurts for New York real estate professionals to take respite from the heat, pour a tall glass of iced tea, and reflect on the past year’s business strategies to consider ways to better serve clients.  While your evaluation might begin by considering incorporating real estate technology solutions, like Agorafy, into your everyday routine to help save your business time and money while reaching and connecting with clients quicker, this is also a good time to revisit some basic tenets of a successful real estate agent. Here is what I mean.

Throughout my career, I have found that successful New York real estate agents possess a valuable set of professional skills and personal traits that set them apart from their competition.  At the same time, top real estate agents understand that theses professional skills and learned traits require continuous sharpening and offer opportunity for constant improvement.  Thus, identifying and regularly reviewing characteristics of success not only speed a new agent’s development at the beginning of their career by expanding their “tool box” of professional skills, but also guide their sustained success in the industry through refinement of their craft and keeping said tools in good working order.

Whether you represent the latest Class A commercial office building and are leasing-up millions of feet of space at breakneck pace or you are advising your client on ways to set a new record sales figure for their luxury penthouse apartment, see if your tool box includes all eleven of the below bright and shiny gadgets for success employed by your peers. In reviewing this non-exhaustive list, keep in mind that it is never too late to upgrade outdated tools or learn more about your craft.  To this point, the New York real estate community is unparalleled when it comes to collegiality, experience, sophistication and innovation. So, without further ado, here are eleven helpful tools (in no particular order) for building and sustaining a successful real estate career:

Marketing - In order to be a successful agent, you must first build a strong foundational skill set. Becoming a strong marketer will undoubtedly serve as the rock solid base of your real estate career. Being able to market and sell goods will then stand out as the base to build all other skills around. A good agent is a great marketer.

Dedication & Commitment - Real estate requires a high degree of dedication in order to excel.  It is important to have a strong work ethic and to get things done efficiently because your clients and colleagues are working on tight schedules. For instance, if a client is looking to sell or lease their property, he or she wants an agent who is going to commit time and effort into finding a buyer or tenant quickly. Similarly, buyers and tenants demand dedicated and committed professionals that help meet their real estate requirements in a timely and professional manner.

Honesty & Trust - To be a top real estate agent you must be honest and trustworthy.  In your role, you will be entrusted with representing and advising clients.  To that end, you will be responsible for protecting your client’s interests, property and funds. Clients and the real estate community demand that agents be honest and fair, and this trust of individual agents is what keeps our industry healthy, vibrant and functional.

Communication – Real estate agents must be master communicators, as they are often a main point of contact on a transaction for clients, lawyers, bankers, architects, and other related real estate service professionals. Moreover, clients need to be well informed throughout the real estate transaction process. It is the real estate agent’s job to keep the client up to speed and help the client understand the process. Some aspects of a deal may be complicated and hard to understand; an agent should not only be able to help their client identify and comprehend these details, but also be able to communicate them.

Informed Adviser – In working to be the best real estate agent you can be, do not forget that sometimes there are outside factors or implications that impact your client as part of a transaction.  This could be potential tax consequences, environmental effects, possible legal implications, or the like.  In some deals there can be factors with implications on a larger scale than just the property being bought or sold, an agent needs to strive to understand these matters in order to not only succeed, but to excel.

Knowledge of Market Inventory - As an agent, knowing your real estate inventory, inside and out, is crucial. Having a strong knowledge of the market inventory may include many details, such as property location, space pricing and size, among other specifications. Your market understanding is especially important because a client is always going to want to work with someone they feel is competent, adds value to a transaction, is uniquely accomplished, and has market insight within the industry. So, in order to maximize your potential as a real estate agent, stay on top when it comes to inventory knowledge.

Punctuality - Early is on time, on time is late. Only by fulfilling this adage can an agent achieve any form of success. Every consumer desires punctuality and preparedness from their agent. High efficiency and well planned schedules are the requisites of an agent with prime listings.

Professionalism - Sometimes overlooked is how an agent projects himself or herself in-person. Maintaining a professional air and manner is paramount to success in the industry; this sense is given off by the agent’s knowledge base and expertise, but also by their choice of professional attire at meetings and showings, as well as an agent’s organization and preparedness at in office and on-site meetings and showings.

Negotiation – Negotiation skills are critical to an agent’s success. Develop and continue to hone your negotiation skills throughout your career.  Do you stay informed or study new negotiation trends or techniques? All fifty-fifty decisions that are swayed in a real estate agent’s favor through negotiations represent a success that your consumer will value and not overlook when rating your performance and considering you for their future real estate needs as well as referring you business.

Uniqueness - When choosing an agent, consumers often ask:  “Why this agent?” In order to stand out to the consumer, separate yourself from the competition, and generate business, it is important to adopt a unique perspective on the market or particular assignments that sets you apart from the crowd. This uniqueness may be as simple as a new technique for marketing or selling a property. However, a fresh perspective can serve as a key differentiator over your competition and help attract potential business.

Multitasking - In order to be a truly successful agent, it is essential to be able to properly maintain multiple focuses. Whether this means handling multiple projects or listings at the same time, or dealing with several ongoing issues or problems while also completing other projects, successful agents are able to handle their workload diligently and smartly, never becoming spread too thin. 

I hope you enjoyed the above traits and consider incorporating them into your self-review process or regular evaluation regime.  Please feel free to Tweet us additional tenets that have helped you and your colleagues become successful at @Agorafy and follow along to join the conversation!!! 

As always, Agorafy intends to continue to assist real estate professionals to market, research and connect by creating a transparent, open real estate marketplace where all players have the ability to be successful. Our platform was built with the real estate professional in mind.  Whether it is marketing your listings, researching property information, or networking with clients and real estate colleagues, Agorafy’s integration of Commercial and Residential real estate listings on one, easy-to-use platform is what makes Agorafy unique and powerful. Please visit us at www.agorafy.com to submit your exclusive listings for FREE and get them marketed to our open user base, including potential buyers, tenants, and investors. While you are there, create your own real estate professional profile and market your experience and expertise to the entirety of the New York real estate community – owners, buyers, landlords, tenants, and real estate professionals.  Harness the power of Agorafy’s open real estate marketplace and put it to work for you today!

Richard Du is the founder and CEO of Agorafy, New York, N.Y

 

Monday
Jul142014

Q2 Rundown

Here's your quarterly cheat sheet on what we've been up to lately.

As Agorafy continues to expand its platform and our user base expands rapidly our team wants to make sure we are keeping our registered users up to date as we roll out new releases and build out the tools professionals are asking for.

Blog Posts

The Value in Sticking to a Purpose – Driven Mission

Question & Answer Session with Rich Du of Agorafy

Agents Taking An Active Role

New York’s Up Trend Still Has Legs

The Case for Asking Prices

Changing the Competitive Landscape

New Releases

Dickinson (0.30) – Professional & Company Snapshots

Dickinson (0.30) – Huge Feature Updates

Carroll (0.29) – New Look for Agorafy

Bronte (0.28) – Enhanced Property Information

Austen (0.27) – New Submit Form & Expanded Data Feeds

In The Pipeline

Our developers are fully focused on building the advanced tools and features professionals need to take advantage of the real time data on our platform. Check back on our blog to get news on the latest releases!

Wednesday
Jul092014

Dickinson (0.30) – Professional & Company Snapshot

Agorafy's latest release Dickinson (0.30) dropped just before the holiday weekend and it was a major release. We gave to you a quick rundown on just some of the features earlier in the week.

In this post we are going to take a deeper dive into the largest feature of the new release, Professional & Company Snapshots.  We want our users to get the most out of this feature, so this post can be used as a primer on how to leverage both for increased exposure.

Professional Snapshots

We understand that the users on our platform want increased exposure for their exclusive listings as well as their professional capabilities. This led us to create the Professional Profile, giving each user their own space to highlight their areas of concentration and expertise.

With the Professional Snapshot, we are looking to bring increased exposure to those who have completed their profile, and encourage those who haven’t yet to login and do so here.

The Professional Snapshots are pooled first by areas of expertise (residential / commercial) and second by the user selected specialized neighborhoods. We then display the snapshots in rotation on the search results page depending on the search criteria.

By completing your profile you get a leg up on getting connected with those looking for the type of opportunities you handle, in the neighborhoods that you specialize.

From here users can get a quick overview of our user’s Professional Profile, and can click through to visit the full profile to see their full background, direct contact information, and current exclusive listings.

Company Snapshots

Continuing with the same logic behind increasing exposure and building connections within the industry, we wanted to give a place for companies to showcase their services.

Whether an architect, contractor, building engineer, or interior designer we know that our users have a need for your skills and expertise and we want to help you get in touch.

We are currently working with service providers to get their profiles up. To get started simply send us a designed snapshot for your company, either in the form of a JPEG or PNG with the dimensions 275 x 600.

If you don’t have a design ready to go, simply reach out to us at hello@agorafy.com and we will work with you on your snapshot design!

This is just the beginning, and we will be building out the functionality and reach of the Professional & Company snapshot in subsequent releases. If you have any feedback or suggestions on how we can make any of our features better, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Richard Du is the founder and CEO of Agorafy, New York, N.Y 

Monday
Jul072014

Dickinson (0.30) – Huge Feature Updates

Agorafy's latest release Dickinson (0.30) dropped just before the holiday weekend, continuing major upgrades in our user controls and navigation. This was our most featured packed release to date, and in a word it’s a monster.

As evidenced by last month’s release Carroll; our continued focus is on increasing the value we provide to our users, with more powerful tools and capabilities wrapped in a beautiful design. Let’s get right to it:

Search Filters & Sliders

From studying our traffic metrics we understand what our users want – Search Results, and they want the results as quickly as possible. To this end we encourage our users to keep their listing searches broad, and then give them the ability to quickly zero in on their more specific requirements.

Utilizing Price and Square Footage Sliders, as well as other listing type specific filters, users have complete control to get them to the exact results they need.

Manage Listings – Listing Renew

For our registered users we know that managing all of your exclusive listings can be time consuming, and making your life easier is our job. So we look to give you the ability to quickly renew your listings directly from your user dashboard.

From here you can quickly modify an existing listing, report that a space has been leased or taken off market, and renew your listing. Renewing your listing lets other real estate professionals and active buyers & tenants know that the information is up to date and accurate.

Not only does this help us keep our listing data as real time as possible, but it also keeps your listings at the top of the search results for increased exposure.

We told you this was a monster release and we weren’t kidding. Stay tuned for Part 2 where we give will a detailed rundown of Agent Snapshots & Company Snapshots, and how you will be able to leverage them for increased exposure. 

Richard Du is the founder and CEO of Agorafy, New York, N.Y

Friday
Jun272014

The Value in Sticking to a Purpose - Driven Mission

The real estate technology sector has remained red hot and companies are rapidly entering the space with the goal of improving the lives of real estate professionals everywhere.  While the real estate industry has widely been considered a lagging adopter of technology; today, innovative real estate technology solutions are rushing to market to help real estate professionals become more informed, more efficient, and more visible. Those real estate technology firms that have identified a customer need and stayed true to their mission have been successful. 

Real estate has always offered real estate professionals the potential for a lucrative business, and those professionals have, in turn, served as a large market for goods and service providers supporting the real estate industry.  As a reference, the current US residential real estate market is estimated to be $25 Trillion dollars according to Zillow.  The New York City market is projected at $914.8 billion dollars for fiscal year 2014.  Moreover, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has estimated that New York’s Real Estate Industry accounted for $199 million or 16.7% of the Gross State Product in 2012.   However, until recently, the process of transacting on Residential, Commercial, and Retail properties has stayed stagnant and mostly unchanged by technology.  Looking to innovate and provide their customers efficiencies, real estate technology start-ups are jumping into the market, vying for a place in the industry and also looking to gain their slice of the pie.

The current real estate technology landscape is, therefore, changing.   Companies succeeding in increased user-bases have been able to implement cutting-edge applications on existing technologies.  New players are entering the market on what seems like a daily basis. These real estate 'newbies' are chipping away at the proverbial pie by carving out their own niche - be it increased transparency, more accurate data, lower costs or a personalized touch (ahem..trust).

The big, existing real estate technology players are reacting like any good Wall Street executive and buying that next 'big thing'.  While the newly acquired companies grew in a more “grassroots” style, venture capital, anticipating further acquisitions, has been changing this landscape with large-scale investments for early stage companies.

While acquisitions have helped investors and advertisers, has this helped real estate professionals?

At Agorafy, we believe that creating an open platform to share real estate information in New York will support real estate professionals during this changing environment.  By sticking to this purpose, we believe value will be created for the New York Real Estate community. 

Learning from the recent acquisitions of StreetEasy and Apartments.Com

StreetEasy built a loyal customer base of residential buyers and renters by introducing an interface that works like google maps for the real estate junky. Not only is the website fun, they pull data from real-estate companies and fill in the gaps with a robust community of users that crowd sources an almost 'real-time listings' database... Potential buyers and renters were able to make more informed purchase decisions by knowing the purchase history (the when, the how much and the who) before making an offer.  

Because StreetEasy stuck to their purpose, “New York City's go-to source for the most accurate residential real estate information available”, publicly traded company Zillow, who had been successful at rural markets and struggled to enter New York City, viewed StreetEasy as the perfect acquisition and purchased the start-up for $50 Million dollars in 2013. 

Similarly, CoStar, known for its commercial real estate data, recently purchased Apartments.com ($585 million dollars) known for their Rental and Sales property listings, particular in the multi-family area (similar to Craigslist but in a more visually appealing presentation).

Apartments.com had been around since 1998 and was simple in nature.  It was designed as a digital alternative to newspaper classified ads.  Apartments.com paid web masters a fee ($5) for referring customers to their website (who then in turn fill out an inquiry).  Sticking to this purpose over the last 15 years, and wanting to expand into residential and multi-family property data, Apartments.com was the perfect target for CoStar.  The valuation was based on its effective on-line marketing efforts.

Both companies stuck to their purpose and carved out a niche. 

How Agorafy fits into the current landscape

At Agorafy, our mission is to create an open platform to share real estate information in New York to support real estate professionals.  Agorafy focuses on streamlining the process of providing Commercial and Residential information all in one place.  More recently, we have started featuring residential properties as there is no “one-stop shop” for real estate.  We believe you should be able to look at the details of a building from the ground up.  Whether the ground floor has retail and upper floors are commercial or residential co-ops or condos.

Our objective is to collect data and provide it to our users in an organized manner.  As Agorafy grows its data collecting efforts, the benefits will prove to be an asset in the New York City real estate community.

Richard Du is the founder and CEO of Agorafy, New York, N.Y