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Who We Are

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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Monday
Sep152014

Service, Experience & Relationships Drive Real Estate

Customer Service remains a key differentiator in the real estate industry, and often is determinative in generating future business or client references. In today’s data age, clients are armed with more market information and statistics than ever before. In looking to interpret or act on this information, clients willingly engage real estate professionals in hopes of achieving great results together. Client preparation and research is neither shocking nor intrusive, as real estate deals continue to represent some of the largest financial transactions a client may ever be involved in during their lifetime, be it in the residential or commercial context. For example, statistics from the National Association Realtors (NAR) show, in fact, that the vast majority of homebuyers and sellers rely on the expertise of a realtor for their real estate needs. Whether the market forecast is up or down, rates high or low, prices peaking or rebounding, a knowledgeable real estate professional’s advice keeps clients highly informed and prepared and transactions on track. While more accurate and timely information is quickly becoming the gold standard for professionals and the public alike, a personal touch is welcomed, greatly appreciated, and sets your business apart.

Although real estate services are by definition an example of an intangible economic good, they remain invaluable in getting transactions closed. In a May 2014 NAR report entitled, Creating Value in a Changing World, a national broker was quoted as saying, “The real value a [real estate] professional provides is the experience, not just the facts."  Well said.  At times during a real estate transaction, much focus is placed on market reports, the physical property or closing documents; those things that generally can be held or grasped. But, the non-palpable real estate services rendered by our real estate professionals demystifies the real estate process, adding expertise and value to a transaction, and helps get everyone through to closing with piece of mind. This is because pairing keen local and industry insight with a first-in-class experience is still paramount to clients and managing and maintaining relationships is expected in today’s business world. Here, consider the importance of demonstrating superior communication, listening and analytical skills, as well as overall friendliness, preparedness, and other traits that factor into a client’s evaluation of services.  Well-versed in this reality, real estate professionals everywhere utilize their experience and skills to identify, avoid and resolve a myriad of issues and problems, and usher deals through to completion to the benefit and satisfaction of all parties involved.

The “service” in real estate service remains a business driver, even as the industry changes and incorporates new tools.  Modern technology can provide real estate professionals with the information they need to do their job.  Technology can offer a cleaner interface with clients.  New devices and software can speed communication and transmission of information between parties. The internet connects people across blocks and continents, and has provided an expanded frontier for marketing real estate.  Even so, utilizing technology to inform ones decisions or assist in providing time and money savings are only a couple of the many steps in the real estate transaction lifecycle.  Furthermore, without interaction between real estate professionals and clients, the tools become meaningless. So let us help you to build and strengthen those relationships, by providing you with a professional real estate technology solution.

At Agorafy, we work tirelessly to help inform your real estate decisions, provide an online open marketplace for you to market your listings and professional experience, as well as offer features to save your time and speed the connection between you, your colleagues and your clients.  Because, at the end of the day, we know that you are the one taking the technology to work! Let us make your job easier, so that you can work better, faster, and smarter.  Visit us at agorafy.com today!

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

Monday
Sep082014

Real Estate Services in a Dynamic Global Marketplace

Agorafy Subway Ad

            Today’s international business environment has made owning, operating and working at a real estate firm both increasingly demanding and exciting.  Through a blended use of technology and word-of-mouth, potential clients are implementing new metrics to gauge the competence, compatibility and success of their real estate service providers.  At the same time, prospective clients are just as likely to identify local real estate professionals from a main street posted advertisement or lawn sign as they are from the internet, accessed from the comfort of their home or office far across the globe. This new reality can be worrisome, but also thrilling.  How do we continue to adapt?  While I do not have all the answers, revisiting and expanding your marketing approach to engage the relevant real estate market players is a great place to start.

            Real estate is inherently local and there is no doubt that a real estate professional’s local knowledge is unmatched in adding value to any marketing strategy or transaction.  Therefore, with winds of change continuing to make the real estate marketplace more and more global, there is an opportunity to be embraced by owners, buyers, tenants, and real estate professionals alike.  For instance, in June 2014, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released a report entitled, The 2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity. The report looked at U.S. property purchases of Non-Resident and Resident Foreigners for the 12-month period ending March 2014 and generally quantified the economic impact.  I will not recount the entire report, however, the NAR survey indicated that total sales volume to international clients (“international sales”) was estimated at approximately $92.2 billion, a 35 percent increase from the previous period’s level of $68.2 billion. According to the report, the dollar level of international sales was roughly 7 percent of the total U.S. Existing Homes Sales (EHS) market of $ 1.2 trillion for the same period. In a separate study, the NAR indicates that Commercial international transactions also represent a billion dollar market. In 2012, about $ 22.6 billion dollars flowed into the U.S. with a major chunk from Canada and countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Manhattan, San Francisco, and Los Angeles were the major destinations. Foreign purchasers showed interest in U.S. real estate for residential, investment and portfolio diversification purposes. Without quarrelling with the findings or figures and taking into account that they are the result of corresponding geopolitical and economic conditions, the fact remains that international clients are flocking to the U.S. en masse.  So why not start reaching them too?

            Real estate technologies are bridging that gap, helping you effectively and more affordably market your space and accomplishments to local clients and international prospects.  For example, at Agorafy, we allow our users to submit their available commercial and residential listings for free to our open, online real estate marketplace, which then, in turn, all become searchable by the public.  At the same time, Agorafy empowers real estate professionals to trumpet their experience and accomplishments from the proverbial mountaintop, to everyone near and far, with our professional profile feature. Intrigued?  We thought so.

            Marketing your available residential or commercial space on one platform and to the broadest possible audience is a great way to get the right offer, at the right price, and in the right amount of time.  Similarly, marketing your professional expertise to the largest pool of prospective buyers, investors and tenants is an excellent way to meet new clients, colleagues and friends, helping to achieve and exceed your business goals. So, come to agorafy.com.  Sign up for an account for free and use our powerful search engine to market your listings, professional experience, as well as to search and find that new property, review verified listing information, and reach the listing contact. Moreover, you may have noticed us on the NYC subway recently. Not a bad way to help get you in front of the MTAs’ over 5.4 million average daily riders, New York City’s 8 million plus residents and the approximately 52 million international and domestic visitors that travel to “The Big Apple” each year.

            Again, we understand that real estate is inherently local. In knowing that, we also understand that it is the local real estate professional that works to support our neighborhoods in many ways, including by facilitating economic activity that fosters a fun mix of diverse ideas, history, attractions, cultures, and business endeavors in our communities. We are proud to support you in these endeavors.  Check back with us on the web and social media regularly for our new, upcoming features that will keep you plugged into the market and closing deals quicker!

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

Friday
Sep052014

Fitzgerald (0.32) – Optimization for Mobile Devices

Agorafy's latest release Fitzgerald (0.32) launched yesterday, marking a turning point for our platform and setting the foundation for developments to come through the end of the year. 

Sticking with our mission to bring greater access and increased transparency to the New York City real estate market we've focused this release on optimizing our site when accessed from mobile devices. We’ve witnessed an increasing percentage of our traffic coming from mobile users, accessing our platform while commuting or out in the field.

We want to ensure that these 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.

We all have experienced frustration when navigating through a site that hasn’t been optimized for our mobile device. This can create an inefficient and unpleasant experience for users, and they eventually find themselves once again tethered to their laptop or desktop.

Our users need to find the real estate availabilities they are searching for quickly and without frustration. By optimizing our site for mobile, we can ensure our Users have a consistent experience no matter how they access our site, narrowing their search until they find exactly what they are looking for.

Often real estate professionals are on our platform from a mobile device while out in the field canvassing, or on a site tour with their clients. In these situations it is critical our users can retrieve the information they need without difficulty.

When there's a need to give a client comparables, answer a client’s question or give clarity on an issue no time can be wasted. Our Users can also quickly scroll through available media and map specific listings.

Our users can quickly review verified asking prices and other listing details. They can also quickly contact the exclusive broker directly to get their questions answered or set up a time to view the space. All without going back to the office.

 

Optimizing Agorafy's platform is a major step in increasing our Users access to the information they need. This release is the bedrock on which we will be building mobile focused applications into the future. Giving our User’s even greater access and expanded capabilities from wherever they are.

Try out Agorafy on your favorite device and let us know what you think!

Tuesday
Aug122014

Plan for Success: Think About Business Growth Strategies

Building and growing a successful real estate business takes time, careful planning, and execution. Sometimes it even requires a little luck! But, whether you are looking to expand local market share, considering opening new offices nationally, or seeking to attract business from overseas, taking the time to develop or revisit your business growth strategy can pay dividends towards achieving and sustaining growth. 

            There are many basic strategies for generating business growth. A few familiar growth strategies include market penetration, market development, product expansion, diversification, and acquisition. By way of examples, when considering how to grow business, a real estate professional or firm may focus on: (i) gaining market share in an existing market through improved service or pricing, (ii) expanding business to new markets, like a neighboring city or state, (iii) offering new products or services within a core or primary market, (iv) selling new products or new services in new markets, or (v) purchasing another company to expand operations.  These concepts are not mutually–exclusive and can be combined to produce the right mix of success and profitability.

In today’s competitive real estate marketplace, however, CEOs and real estate professionals can come under increasing pressure to adopt aggressive business growth strategies to maximize potential returns and close more business. Unfortunately, the push for a quicker, higher profit can induce companies to implement less than sound business practices or strategies, which can lead to irreparable damage to a firm. For instance, some commentators note that pushing for expansive growth without consideration for core value creation can lead to problems. 

In a recent Inc. Magazine article, Patrick Lencioni explores issues with a “growth-at-any-cost” approach. Mr. Lencioni also advocates for some CEOs that naturally scale in a measured manner without necessarily yielding to pressures to become large quickly due to market hysteria. Mr. Lencioni talks about executives running a company like either a “bodybuilder” – one who equates growth with success and uses gimmicks and other self-destructive practices as “steroids” that have detrimental side-effects like unhappy customers and disenchanted employees – or a “farmer” – one who creates an innovative, open and healthy business environment where growth can occur, and then lets “nature take its course”.  These analogies resonate with me both professionally, as a CEO, and personally, having grown up as part of a farming community as a child in my native Vietnam.  Mr. Lencioni likes the farmers approach and raises a number of valid points for sustainable, “organic” business growth. Not the least of which is that when a business is weakened by harmful practices, the prospect for value creation for customers diminishes.

Ultimately, as entrepreneurs and real estate professionals, we work to find the best of both worlds – an optimal balance of explosive growth along with a “dependable”, sustainable flow of business. Investing time in sound business planning can lead to strong, sustained growth, so that, when the time comes to grow quickly, your business does not have to funnel energy away from creating value for customers.

At Agorafy, we want to grow with you and your business. Agorafy was created to be a powerful, open real estate marketplace for users to market, research, and connect. Agorafy allows real estate professionals to market their real estate listings and industry experience to the broadest possible audience. Users can quickly search our verified market data and property information to inform decisions and better advise clients regarding market dynamics. Agorafy’s powerful search engine saves time and money by quickly helping users find the right space – commercial or residential – in seconds. Then connect with the right contact person immediately, reaching them directly through Agorafy or by referencing their listed contact information.  Get marketed, get informed, and get business closed with Agorafy. 

With a new business growth blueprint in hand and Agorafy bookmarked on your web browser, you are ready to point your real estate firm in the right direction, boost value creation for clients, and start hitting your future business goals!  

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

Thursday
Aug072014

Real Estate & Technology: Is your firm a Learning Organization?

Today’s real estate technology firms are finding ways to make the lives of real estate professionals easier.  The real estate technology sector has developed new and innovative solutions to aggregate, analyze and search publicly available data and make it retrievable in seconds with just the touch of a button.  Online platforms and mobile applications – Agorafy included – are being developed to share data and property information among real estate industry professionals and the public. These real estate technology tools are making our real estate research smarter and faster, and enabling us to connect with colleagues and close business transactions with lightning quick speeds. But, for all the benefits that technology provides the industry, real estate tech firms must correspondingly learn from their users and evolve to best serve clients. Real estate tech firms, like real estate firms themselves, should strive to nurture a learning environment and become learning organizations.

In many ways, traditional real estate firms are learning organizations. What is a “learning organization”, you may ask? Generally, a learning organization is one skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and capable of modifying the company’s behavior to reflect newly acquired knowledge and insights. For example, a broker trains a salesperson to conduct market research, analyze current data, and create a report for a client. A learning organization can also be described by the way it behaves, adapts and innovates. Learning organizations are skilled at activities such as: systematic problem solving, experimentation with new approaches, learning from their own and others’ history, experiences, and best practices, and transferring knowledge quickly and efficiently. From my experience, real estate firms incorporate many or all of these review practices into their daily operations and show great adeptness in executing new strategies for improvement.

Real estate professionals understand that to compete in our ultracompetitive industry, a company’s resources, tools and processes must be refined and responsive on the one hand and innovative and cutting edge on the other. Chief among a real estate firm’s resources are its people; the agents and employees that enable the business to function and that sustain the industry as a whole. Not surprisingly, then, the investment of time and energy to educate and support real estate professionals is paramount to a real estate firm’s success. To improve a firm’s competitive standing, their people must be well-informed and also willing to continue to learn their craft to innovate and provide efficiencies. To that end, personnel can be empowered in their professional development through access to superior real estate technology. Because armed with the right tools, real estate professionals get the job done, closing deals and solidifying relationships that grow business and keep the industry thriving. Therefore, on a fundamental level, a real estate firm’s success and innovation starts with the knowledge of each individual agent, and can be quantified when reaching the firm’s overarching business goals.

Real estate technology can and should facilitate both individual and firm wide goals by providing valuable time and money savings to users.  Here too, real estate techies can learn and draw from the learning organization notion.  One way that I interpret and implement the learning organization view at Agorafy is to boil the idea down to Three “P’s”:

1. PEOPLE – Professionals are the engine that drives the real estate industry. And whether you are talking about real estate professionals or techies, great people learn and adapt to changes in their field. At Agorafy, our team has direct industry experience in real estate and technology, which informs our innovative vision. We understand that the real estate industry is anchored by its professionals and the relationships they build. Technology helps speed the connection and communication of real estate pros, and informs their decision-making when data is accurate. We stand ready to assist you to meet your daily challenges by providing unmatched services and data. We welcome engagement from users and love feedback. Please feel free to contact us anytime with comments or questions at hello@agorafy.com, so we can better serve you.

2. PRODUCT – A product’s design should be universal so that it is usable by as many people as possible. This mantra guides Agorafy’s development.  In our estimation, real estate technology should also serve a beneficial purpose for all users - property owners, real estate professionals, and consumers – by adding value. Thus, Agorafy gives users a platform to: (a) market exclusive real estate listings, (b) publicize and advertise their professional experience by creating a professional profile, (c) quickly and easily search for general or detailed property information and verified market data, and (d) conveniently search for and contact real estate professionals directly.

3. PROCESS – Your people and products work hard to produce efficiencies that improve process results.  Agorafy simplifies the way real estate research and marketing has historically been conducted, saving real estate professionals’ time and money. Agorafy houses a powerful real estate search engine, verified commercial and residential market data and property information, unparallelled marketing capabilities, and a rich set of reporting and subscription features on one platform. Want to reduce the time spent scouring the web for available real estate listings with accurate contact information? Want to produce actionable reports and tour information without having to spend hours cutting and pasting pieces of text from all over the internet? Want to easily submit and manage your real estate listings for one dashboard and increase marketing exposure? For these and other features to simplify your daily grind, start working smarter and faster at Agorafy.com.

            Agorafy is making history by innovating for the future of the real estate industry. Our willingness and ability to respond quickly to our new users, agilely adapt to customer needs, and create value for real estate professionals sets us apart – not to mention the platform’s sleek user experience, cutting edge technology to search property information, expanded marketing capabilities to directly submit and broadcast your listings and professional experience to the world, and the wealth of verified market data that is available for both commercial and residential listings.  Check us out at agorafy.com and harness the power of our open real estate marketplace today!

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