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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
Nov212014

Heat Up Your Real Estate Search 


Now that the winter months and cold weather are upon us, there is nothing like warming up your online real estate search capabilities and virtually canvassing the hottest New York City neighborhoods from the comfort of your home or office! By starting your morning with Agorafy and a warm cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, you can best Mother Nature and stay ahead of the competition while saving time and money. With our open, online real estate marketplace, you have access to a powerful search tool that enables you to sort and filter the latest on market, verified commercial and residential listings throughout the five boroughs.  Whether you want to know what’s happening across a selected borough or would prefer to filter down to a singular neighborhood, street, or block and lot, we have you covered.  Use our platform as your initial, go-to resource to research market data and property information and get a clearer snapshot of current market conditions. Then, quickly target and select the right commercial or residential space or property that meets your needs by reaching the listed direct contact. But, don’t stop there. Agorafy’s open platform also allows you to broadly market your available spaces and professional experience to interested real estate professionals and the public, which helps everyone to connect and close deals fast!

Bolstering your winter search capabilities can help defrost your seasonal business pipeline during the traditionally slower autumn and winter months. National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Lawrence Yun, PhD recently commented on the real estate market’s autumn and winter slowdown.  Mr. Yun noted that currently, “[t]he economy is growing, jobs are being created, and interest rates are still unimaginably low. Naturally, home sales are expected to rise. But the typical business activity of a [real estate professional] will be falling as the autumn approaches.”  Mr. Yun continued by adding that, typically, dips in real estate activity follow the start of the school year. Figures tend to fall again in November and December due in large part to dark, cold weather.  Normally, increased activity does not return until March, April and the summer months. Therefore, we all need to keep an eye on economic conditions but also seek out alternative means of improving results over the winter months.

This week, in fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released the October 2014 existing home sales figures. According to NAR, “[e]xisting-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services.”  Among other things, existing home sales data can be a good indicator of general consumer demand in the U.S. housing market.  The October 2014 numbers stood-up well to rebounding September 2014 figures, as well as in comparison to year-over-year data, signaling a positive move for the nation’s economy.  But, like Mr. Yun explains, seasonal considerations should also be kept in mind when reviewing such data or when reading media reports. Let’s continue to watch the numbers and see where they take us in the housing market’s recovery.

Regardless of the indicators, however, sometimes real estate professionals need to buck trends and meet our own goals.  One way to improve individual business results is to review your business’s real estate technology capabilities, to ensure that you are saving time and money. In particular, take a good look at your online marketing presence and reach. When doing so, please know that Agorafy provides you with an open, online real estate platform that lets users broadcast their available listings and professional experience to a large, captive audience.  You can also quickly research the NYC real estate market and connect with colleagues, clients, and the public. That way, you can devote less time to scrambling and searching for information and more time on serving your clients and closing deals! 

During these bad weather months, let us canvass the streets and do the legwork for you.  At the same time, let us provide you with the platform to broadcast your listings and professional experience to the world.  When it’s cold outside, go to the perpetually hot online real estate marketplace – agorafy.com.  Visit us today and start searching properties, marketing listings, and highlighting your professional expertise to active searchers!!!

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

Thursday
Nov132014

Real Estate Technology on Display


            Last week, Agorafy was fortunate enough to exhibit at the 6th Annual NYC Real Estate Expo and the NYC CRE // Tech Intersect.  As background, the NYC Real Estate Expo brings together the industry’s top professionals representing all real estate related industries including law, accounting, banking, marketing, architecture, financial planning, real estate brokers and mortgage bankers.  CRE // Tech Intersect is the commercial real estate (CRE) industry's leading symposium on innovation and new technologies. Each event offered the real estate technology community an unparalleled opportunity to share what’s new in the industry.  Both events were a great success and we cannot thank the hosts, sponsors, coordinators, and participating companies enough for all their efforts!  Similarly, we are grateful to all attendees for their time, interest and support.

This year’s events were particularly exciting for us given real estate tech’s continued growth within the real estate industry.  The real estate tech sector’s innovations are taking hold and adding value for real estate professionals everywhere.  Similarly, increased interest and awareness in the space has brought a flurry of investment activity that is creating unbelievable synergies and building even stronger momentum for real estate tech.  Case in point, GlobeSt.com reports that CRE // Tech Intersect alone “brought together 53 industry technology providers” and “over 300 technology gurus, commercial real estate brokers and others attended the event”.  These numbers were unheard of just a few years ago. 

Importantly, for the Agorafy team, the events provided a great chance to meet with our current and potential user base, speak with a broad cross-section of the real estate community regarding their needs, as well as discuss current issues with other CEOs and colleagues in real estate technology.  I am happy to report that we received amazing feedback, which we are evaluating and reflecting on.  Really, how often does a company get the opportunity to receive hundreds (or even thousands) of product reviews in just 24-hours!! 

In reviewing feedback, one question that popped up throughout the day was, “how is Agorafy different?”  Great question!  While real estate technology’s explosive growth has been amazing for the sector, it can sometimes create confusion in the marketplace. Real estate professionals and the public may find it difficult to discern and differentiate among the many real estate technology companies that are now out there, including what services are being offered.  Thus, please allow me to briefly differentiate.

Agorafy is an open, online real estate marketplace sharing verified real estate information across New York City.  Our goal is to bring added transparency and data integrity to the real estate search process, thereby helping users to quickly find available listings and property information, learn about current market conditions, and connect to meet their real estate and real estate-related needs. Agorafy is a real estate technology platform for the real estate community and not a brokerage. We provide an online resource to broadly market all available commercial and residential listings, as well as an open marketplace to get your real estate related business seen by real estate professionals and the public.  Ultimately, we hope to reduce economic inefficiencies as well as the frustration caused by the proliferation of redundant or inaccurate real estate information, thereby, helping inform decisions and allowing parties to connect and close transactions fast. How do we do it?

Real estate is location based and Agorafy was built with a laser focus on tracking every building.  Our real estate marketplace is grounded in the concept that each parcel and building can be considered its own “business”.  In fact, when taken in sum, the economic activity derived from each property or building supports our real estate related industries and helps drive local and national economies.  For instance, in New York alone, the Real Estate Industry accounted for $199,389 million or 16.7% of the Gross State Product in 2012 according data from the National Association of Realtors. Thus, our approach is to look at each building from the ground-up, regardless of type, and work to highlight the potential transactions and opportunities that arise out of available properties or space listings. For us, it does not matter whether the property is vacant land, a new development, a small single-family home or a large commercial skyscraper.  Every block and lot, every improvement on the land is of value. Likewise, we are working to promote the real estate-related commerce that threads the real estate ecosystem together. Because we understand that by bringing together all appropriate representatives of the real estate related industries around each individual property, there is a cumulative effect that spurs economic growth in our communities - let’s get that property sold, let’s build that project, let’s fill the available space, let’s quickly connect with real estate experts or colleagues to provide real estate services, let’s identify product providers and get the goods or materials we need fast!  In short, Agorafy’s TECHNOLOGY helps PEOPLE find and learn about available REAL ESTATE and quickly CONNECT to meet their real estate related product and service needs. That way, everyone gets things done better, faster, and cheaper!

Agorafy seeks to improve the availability and accuracy of current market data and property information, streamline the real estate search process, and speed the connection of real estate professionals, real estate-related product and service providers, and the public throughout the real estate process.  Do you want to list your available space with us? Email us at listings@agorafy.com.  Want to partner with Agorafy to get your business seen or connected?  Drop us a line at partner@agorafy.com. Have general questions? We are always here to help at hello@agorafy.com.

We look forward to working with you and helping you meet your real estate goals.  You can find us at www.agorafy.com.

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

Tuesday
Nov042014

Hugo (0.34) – Advanced Search & Neighborhood Experts

Agorafy’s latest release Hugo (0.34) went live yesterday with a continued focus on both our user’s experience and bringing increased exposure for professionals.

With every release we aim to elevate the user experience of our platform for new users and seasoned professionals alike. This is sometimes a dualistic mission as our development team has to balance simplicity and elegance with power and depth in our feature set.

This balancing act is always most apparent when it comes to listing search. We continuously aim for an efficient and intuitive search process. However we also understand that we need to accommodate those with a more specific search criteria and are looking for greater customization. 

To this end we implemented two simple tweaks which balance objectives; overhauling our Search Bar that resides on our header across the entire site, as well as beefing up our Advanced Search function.

Search Bar Overhaul

Continuously expanding our platform first to the outer boroughs of New York and then to accommodate residential listing alongside commercial listings left us with a sub-optimal search bar. Having to select between listing types prior to selecting a geographical parameter was counter intuitive and sometimes led to confusion.

By rearranging the search bar with the most broad aspects first (Borough / Commercial vs. Residential), we encourage our users to start broad and then give them the tools to narrow down their search by listing type, neighborhood, or street. 

Users also have the ability to set Advanced Search parameters from the dropdown or to further narrow down their search on the results page. Once again our mission is to get even the most novice users the best results possible as quickly and pain free as possible.

Advanced Search

The other side of the coin is a more detailed and user friendly Advanced Search Page. Here we broke out what was previously only contained in our Borough select dropdown. A place where it was completely hidden from the majority of our users.

By giving a dedicated page to Advanced Search we allow those who have detailed criteria in mind to be a sniper and not take the shotgun approach. For these users spending time narrowing down their search is time wasted, for them it’s best to start from the inside out.

The search form is dynamic, and adjusts to your criteria whether performing a commercial or residential listing search. 

Neighborhood Experts 

Our other main focus for this release was to continue to bring increased exposure for real estate professionals who utilize Agorafy to market their exclusive listings and grow their brand. Building on the foundation of our Professional Profiles and Professional Search we wanted to highlight users who have completed their professional profiles and tip the odds of success in their favor.

The Professional Profile gives our users the ability to showcase their areas of expertise and geographic focus. By brining their profiles onto our Listing Pages we give them the chance to connect with active buyers or prospective tenants who may need representation in the neighborhoods in which they specialize.

Head to Agorafy and run a listing search on both our standard search bar as well as through our Advanced Search page. When on a listing page be sure to check out our neighborhood experts. After that let us know what you think!

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

 

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. The original press release can be viewed here.

            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