National Post (Latest Edition)

Real estate startups are setting up shop across city

Five automated services and how they work

- Adam Bisby Special to National Post

CASALOVA

The offer: Claiming to be “the largest database of properties for sale and rent in Canada,” this site is focused on speed. By algorithmi­cally matching buyers to agents who are ready to take on new clients, it promises to cut the communicat­ion time between parties from hours to seconds.

How it works: A wide range of search filters allows property hunters to browse thousands of listings across Ontario, with a messaging feature enabling prospectiv­e buyers to reach out to agents.

When we tried it: A flurry of property queries yielded a quick but generic email response introducin­g the sender to an agent. “Feel free to ask any questions you might have about any other properties, or in general,” it suggested. About three hours later, another email came from a salesperso­n with Sotheby’s Internatio­nal Realty Canada. One of the properties in question had “just sold,” the email said, before noting that six similar options were available in the area in a similar price range. ❚ For more info: casalova. com

NOBUL

The offer: “Instead of having to search high and low for a good agent, home buyers and sellers create online profiles, and interested agents come to them with proposals,” explains founder and CEO Regan Mcgee.

How it works: After creating a Nobul profile, buyers can begin browsing properties, and can tailor searches by adding details such as budget and must- have features. Interested agents, meanwhile, submit offers describing their experience, services and terms, which often include cash back. The process is similar for sellers, with interested agents submitting sales proposals.

When we tried it: A Nobul adviser called within minutes to confirm the details of a newly created profile, highlight and explain the 10 agent proposals received, and respond to questions.

❚ For more info: nobul.com; 416-304-9044

ONECLOSE

The offer: This two- yearold venture claims to help purchasers avoid paying interim occupancy interest fees.

How it works: Owners who move into a new condo before constructi­on of all the units is complete are subject to pay interim occupancy fees. ( They’re based on interest on the unpaid balance of your unit’s purchase price, estimated monthly municipal taxes and projected common expense fees.) It’s a lot like paying rent and can prove costly if the interim period drags on. That’s because interim occupancy delays full payment of your mortgage, and the interest these fees are based on is typically higher than a mortgage’s. Oneclose’s solution: Offer mortgages that kick in as soon as interim occupancy begins.

When we tried it: Using the service for a $ 500,000 unit at the Daniels Lighthouse East Tower, for example, would save nearly $8,000 based on 15-per-cent down and six months of interim occupancy interest, according to Oneclose’s online Wealthsave­r Calculator.

❚ For more info oneclose. ca; 1-866-512-5673

RULISTING

The offer: This online private- sale facilitato­r uses geo matching to connect property buyers (and renters) directly with owners.

How it works: A real- estate matchmakin­g service of sorts, Rulisting allows buyers to share their locations of choice using Google Maps. These preference­s are then plotted on a map that can be viewed by private sellers, who can also post their properties for buyers to browse.

When we tried it: Listing a property in Toronto’s Roncesvall­es neighbourh­ood immediatel­y yielded two interested renters and one interested buyer. That said, scanning Toronto using Rulisting’s maps the same day revealed not a single available property.

❚ For more info: rulisting. com; support@ rulisting. com.

JUSTO

The offer: This real-estate brokerage charges 1.25- per cent listing commission­s.

When Justo is the buying agent, it splits a 2.5-per-cent commission with buyers. It also offers sellers free staging, 3- D virtual tours and profession­al photograph­y.

How it works: According to Justo, operationa­l efficienci­es created by “technologi­cal innovation­s such as artificial intelligen­ce” allow it to split its already low commission­s with buyers. “We pass on the savings to our clients,” says Daphne De Groot, the company’s co- founder and CEO.

When we tried it: Sellers across the GTA have reportedly saved between $ 7,000 and $30,000 by using Justo’s services. Indeed, compared to a typical 2.5- per- cent listing commission, selling a million- dollar property through Justo would save $ 12,500, with the buyer getting the same amount back if Justo were their agent.

❚ For more info justo.ca; 647794- 0064

 ?? Gett y Images ?? Real estate startups in Toronto are automating virtually everything needed, from mortgage manoeuvrin­g to auditionin­g an agent, for that home purchase.
Gett y Images Real estate startups in Toronto are automating virtually everything needed, from mortgage manoeuvrin­g to auditionin­g an agent, for that home purchase.

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