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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.

Real estate technology is all about people and information. 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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Friday
Oct312014

The RE Tech Revolution Marches On

           

            The past few years have been exciting times for the real estate technology community. Real estate tech companies of all shapes and sizes have come to market with new, innovative products and services that are taking hold in the space.  These companies’ successes are a testament to the hard work and dedication of their teams and the incredible tech advancements they are creating for the real estate industry. Not surprisingly, public interest in real estate technology has correspondingly trended up with new developments, and continues to reach new peaks. With heightened interest has come increased investment in the sector, which is helping to ensure a bright future for real estate tech moving forward. In fact, 2014 has already been headlined by blockbuster real estate technology deals – from industry behemoth Zillow’s acquisition of competitor Trulia to global media juggernaut New Corp.’s purchase of Move, Inc.  Foreign real estate technology companies have also gotten in on the act.  All in all, market events and gargantuan deals are highlighting a true coming-of-age moment for the real estate tech revolution as it continues to build, grow the ranks, produce a new generation of generals and march onward!

            Real estate and technology were made for one another.  Real estate technology’s ability to speed communication and information transfer, broadly market to the masses, and quickly provide data and analysis has raised a myriad of possibilities for assisting real estate professionals and the public.  Similarly, a captive real estate industry audience offers a sizable target market for real estate tech firms. Although the industry has been characterized as a lagging adopter of technology, today, that notion could not be farther from the truth.  Real estate professionals know that to remain competitive, they must take advantage of technology’s time and money saving benefits, including the internet’s incredible marketing reach capabilities. For example, Agorafy users realize time and money savings by regularly reviewing our current market data to quickly inform their real estate decisions, harness the power of our open platform to broadcast their commercial and residential listings and professional experience to the public, and utilize our rich feature set to speed connection with colleagues and clients. 

            The investment community has also taken notice of the public groundswells and the real estate tech sector’s promise and is helping to buttress the sea change shift to an increasingly tech savvy real estate industry.  This week, CrunchBase’s Christine Magee conducted an analysis of recent venture capital and other investment in real estate technology.  In her report, Ms. Magee notes that “venture investors are more eager than ever to get in on the market, putting up nearly $300 million in over 30 venture deals for real estate tech startups in [Q3 2014].”  Ms. Magee explains that “[t]his is more than double the investment total previously captured in a single quarter….”  Recent spikes in investment follow some already amazing deals in the real estate tech world, both in the U.S. and abroad. 

            For example, no deal this year was quite as big or as intriguing as Zillow’s bid to purchase Trulia.  Up until recently, Zillow and Trulia operated the two largest competing online real estate and home-related information platforms in the U.S. However, in July 2014, Zillow announced its intent to acquire Trulia in a $3.5 billion stock deal.  According to Zillow’s press release, the two companies' combined revenue represents approximately 4 percent of the estimated $12 billion real estate professionals spend on marketing their services to consumers each year.  CEOs Rascoff and Flint are optimistic that they will be able to leverage the two sites’ sizeable, combined monthly unique visitors to grow that percentage. Presuming regulatory approval, the Zillow-Trulia deal is expected to close in 2015. 

            Not to be outdone, in September 2014, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. acquired Move Inc. in a $950 million all cash transaction.  On September 30, 2014, the Wall Street Journal identified Move, Inc. (home to Realtor.com) as the third most-trafficked website network for property listings in the U.S.  According to comScore Inc., Move had 25.8 million unique visitors in August 2014.  Notably, News Corp. owns a controlling stake in REA Group Ltd., which operates the Australian residential-property website realestate.com.au. The WSJ quoted News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson as saying that "[d]igital real estate is an important pillar of our global digital strategy[…]", also adding that he believes there is "enormous opportunity" for growth in the online U.S. real-estate market.  These big headliners have provided added credence to and confidence in real estate tech, thereby, generating positive synergies for real estate tech firms everywhere.

            Internationally, real estate technology firms have also been successful at attracting capital. Based on Ms. Magee’s research, foreign companies represent some of the top funded real estate tech startups this year.  For example, in February 2014, Brazil-based VivaReal raised a fifth funding round to total $33.1 million. In June 2014, China’s Fangdd, a Shenzhen-based real estate operation service platform, announced it had secured $80 million of Series B financing.  Argentina’s Navent raised a $20 million Series C round in August 2014.  Thereafter, Bangalore, India based property portal, CommonFloor.com, announced $30 million in funding from American hedge fund Tiger Global Management in September 2014.  Said rounds are a strong message that, globally, real estate technology is a great area for investment and innovative change.

            So what is the takeaway?  The real estate technology sector’s growth is positive and should continue, particularly for innovations that help make the real estate process easier for real estate professionals and the public. Real estate technology has piqued the public’s interest. Now, today’s newest real estate tech firms must work to exceed expectations, take the flag, and lead the charge in the next chapter of the real estate tech revolution!

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

Friday
Oct242014

Q&A on Q3 2014 with Agorafy Founder & CEO, Richard Du

           As Agorafy’s platform continues to expand and as our user base rapidly grows, our team wants to ensure that registered users are continually updated about new releases and happenings at the company. Similarly, we want to remain accessible and continue the dialogue with our users to make certain we are creating the tools professionals are asking for.  With the close of Q3 2014, we wanted to take a moment to apprise you of some of our notable 2014 benchmarks by way of a brief Q&A with Founder & CEO, Richard Du.  And don’t forget, if you have any comments, questions or suggestions, you can always reach us at hello@agorafy.com. Hope you enjoy!

Q:        What have the first three quarters of 2014 been like at Agorafy?

A:         Well, my team has been hard at work continuing to build out Agorafy’s open, online real estate marketplace.  Over the past year, we have taken a number of significant steps to improve Agorafy’s functionality and user experience for real estate professionals and the public, alike.   Correspondingly, we have seen a strong uptick in our data figures, number of registered users, as well as our overall web traffic. 

Q:        What is an example of Agorafy’s improved real estate data?

A:         Agorafy’s mission is to be the most accurate resource for commercial real estate listings, residential real estate listings, and property information all on one easy-to-use platform. Our goal is to allow users to make highly-informed decisions based on current market data.  Towards that end, at the start of 2014, we achieved full integration of residential listings on our site, which began accompanying existing commercial listings and property information data.  As of February 2014, residential listings comprised 57% of the 7,000 “on market” listings published on Agorafy.  Today, there are now over 9,600 on market, residential listings alone being actively marketed on Agorafy.   We also boast more than 4,000 commercial listings throughout New York City’s five boroughs. Furthermore, Agorafy has amassed and houses a wealth of historical market data and property information that we continue to track and compile for all property types, which supports our users and their real estate requirements.

Q:        Tell us about how the site’s functionality and user experience has changed?

A:         This summer, Agorafy undertook a significant first step in a holistic site redesign.  After months of testing and feedback from our users, we thought the time was right to elevate our user experience, making the site more intuitive and faster to navigate.  Each sequential release, thereafter, has brought major upgrades in our user controls and navigation, as well as a sleeker, more cohesive look and feel to the site.  Beyond design improvements, new features include the rollout of professional and company profile capabilities, updated search filters and sliders, as well as expanded manage listings controls for registered users. 

Notably, the public response to the redesign has been great.  For example, since July 2014, our Facebook following has gone from less than 200 “Likes” just four months ago to now over 17,000 and growing.  While we recognize that social media is but one yardstick to be measured by, we are happy that our social media accounts now serve as another area of value add for our registered users.  Facebook, in particular, is a great way that Agorafy helps its users to stay informed about the real estate market and get them the broadest possible exposure for their available listings - locally, nationally and internationally.

Q:        It sounds like this year has been busy.  What is the Agorafy team working on now?

A:         September 2014 marked a turning point for our platform and set the foundation for future developments to come through the end of the year.  In our continued effort to bring greater access and increased transparency to the New York City real estate market, we completed optimizing the site for mobile devices.  As a result, we have witnessed an increasing percentage of our traffic coming from mobile users, who use the platform while commuting or out in the field.  This improvement has ensured that users have seamless access and a consistent user experience across all of their devices, whether at their desk, or on their smart phone and tablet.  Moreover, in the coming months, we are anxious to release more new features and products for users, including debuting exciting investment sales features and introducing our mobile application. 

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

Monday
Oct202014

Working Together to Curb Buyer’s & Seller’s Remorse

Technology is helping the real estate industry take great strides in ensuring the availability and accuracy of essential real estate data that real estate professionals and the public rely on to make decisions.  Ultimately, the transmission of useful information helps tackle issues of buyer’s and seller’s remorse by bringing transparency to the real estate marketplace.  This is a win-win scenario that provides an appropriate level of actionable information to sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants for use in consultation with their local real estate professionals. Accessible, accurate real estate information paired with the skill of qualified real estate professionals ensures a smoother overall experience for the parties, leaving both sides of the closing table satisfied after a deal is done. 

Remorse is an unfortunate market reality.  We can all relate in the consumer context. As the Chicago Tribune’s Gregory Karp put it in a 2010 article, “American consumerism and regretted purchases go hand in hand.”  Likewise, you can probably think back to a time when selling something of value or emotional significance was difficult or regrettable.  Well, the real estate industry is not immune either. Buyer’s, renter’s and seller’s remorse are all extremely problematic. Luckily, today, the real estate and technology communities are working together to address such issues head-on by facilitating better information to all those concerned. In doing so, the industries are teaming up to raise the real estate information ante, thereby, improving everyone’s access to information, market research capabilities, property search experience, and marketing reach. 

But what do I mean by remorse in the real estate setting? Obviously, not every commercial or residential decision goes to close or results in mutually content parties. Fear and uncertainty can cripple an otherwise good real estate transaction or result in unease following a closing.  No house hunter, property owner or business executive wants to rue one of the biggest financial moves of their personal life or their company’s corporate existence.  Thus, when discussing remorse in real estate, we are focused the parties’ relative comfort with a real estate transaction vis-à-vis their real estate goals. Possible pressure points can include taking price, property characteristics, or other essential deal terms. For instance, one party’s discomfort with deal terms can result in “cold feet” and the failure to close may add legal and transactional risks to a delicate equation. Furthermore, should a deal close irrespective of such reservations, an unhappy party may later seek to rework or undo the transaction all together. Ultimately, remorse scenarios can become costly, time consuming and stressful for all those involved.

Real estate technology is helping to iron out some wrinkles in the real estate transaction process by giving parties piece of mind through more accurate real estate data throughout the real estate process.  By giving market actors more accurate real estate data, listing details, and direct contact information, parties and their representatives are able to educate themselves on local market dynamics and solidify their intentions to transact.  For instance, a party can confirm their willingness to buy, lease or sell a property by taking affirmative steps to learn current real estate market conditions in an initial online property search and then connect and work with a real estate professional to list a property or identify the best possible new home or business location. Real estate technology, therefore, plays a significant role in both marketing and relocation strategies. Parties are also able to become more comfortable acting on their real estate instincts because they are more confident in the listing details or prospect leads that they receive. Buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants can then immediately address potential emotional hurdles to transacting by weighing objective real estate requirements to arrive at a logical decision.  Fewer unknowns are essential to reducing risk and working to produce more confident, happier parties.

At Agorafy, we believe in data and transparency, period. As you can see, every listing includes its asking price, high quality photos, with corresponding direct contact information. Our listings are continuously verified with the listing agent to ensure timeliness and accuracy.  In fact, our registered users are able to directly market their available listings and professional expertise to all our active property searchers. In this way, we look to maximize exposure for all of our users. Finally, we know that the competitive landscape is changing in real estate. We are developing our platform to be intuitive to new users and provide the tools real estate professionals need to have an edge.  Because at the end of the day, our goal is to ensure that real estate professionals and their clients succeed in all their commercial and residential real estate endeavors.  

Search or market available commercial and residential real estate listings today at www.agorafy.com!

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

Wednesday
Oct082014

Q3 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

Decoding Agorafy

Retail’s Love Triangle: Brick & Mortar vs. Ecommerce

Helping Build a High-Performance Business Culture

Service, Experience & Relationships Drive Real Estate

RE Services in a Dynamic Global Marketplace

Think About Business Growth Strategies

RE & Tech – Is Your Firm a Learning Organization?

Big Data vs. The Right Data

Tools for Success in Real Estate

New Releases

Graves (0.33) – Maximum Control (Update Link when Posted)

Fitzgerald (0.32) – Optimization for Mobile Devices

Emerson (0.31) – Listing Renewal Reminders

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!

Monday
Oct062014

Graves (0.33) – Maximum Control

Agorafy's latest release Graves (0.33)  launched last week bringing some polish to a number of the features we released over the summer. Our developers’ jobs are never done! 

After giving an overhaul to the look and feel of Agorafy, our focus the past couple of month has been to implement and improve on a number of features which give our users maximum control over their exclusive listings and their search for real estate.

To this end the past couple of releases have brought automatic listing renewal reminders as well as site optimization for mobile devices.

It’s now easier than ever for our users to keep their exclusive listings up to date, with automatic renewal reminders going out once a listing is 30 days old and in the rare event a listing gets to 90 days since last being updated.

By optimizing our site across multiple mobile platforms, we are ensuring out users have a seamless experience on Agorafy whether they are at their desk, out showing space, or commuting.

My Dashboard

Our user Dashboard has been continuously improved over the past couple of months and now provides our users with complete control over their Agorafy experience. The dashboard is the central location for our users to submit their exclusive listings, check in on their search & listing subscriptions and build out their professional profile. 

The main initiative for the Dashboard is to make it as quick and easy as possible for professionals to submit and manage their exclusive listings on Agorafy. After a user has submitted a listing they can easily submit an edit or update, report that the space has been leased or is off-market, as well as renew the listing to ensure that our platform is as real-time as possible.

When reporting a space has been leased users have the ability to designate the listing as leased or simply off-market. We also encourage them to give us details on the transaction and the new tenant.

When renewing an exclusive listing that is still on the market, our users get to maximize their exposure and bring their listing to the top of the public search results.

It always comes back to our mission for increasing transparency and efficiency to the New York real estate market. Giving our users maximum control over their exclusive listings and their search for real estate goes a long way in achieving this mission. Make sure you register for free, build out your professional profile, and try out your user Dashboard!

After that let us know what you think and what features we should incorporate into the Dashboard next. 

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