The real estate market is ‘over ripe’ for disruption, especially in Sydney, according to the brains behind MiSale, a Queensland-based startup that recently expanded into New South Wales and Victoria.
Launched in Queensland earlier this year, MiSale is a freemium real estate platform enables people who wish to sell their homes to remove real estate agents from the selling/ buying process (if they wish), list their properties online, and connect directly with prospective home buyers. Prior to expanding beyond its home state, the startup had facilitated close to $12M in sales, saving users $293,000 in real estate commissions.
According to co-founders Grant Shankster and Ewen Malcolm, the ‘lightbulb moment’ came when the latter of the two overheard the real estate agent selling his childhood home, misinforming an interested buyer about the properties capabilities. Displeased with the agent’s service, Malcolm gave the buyer a tour of the property himself.
Shankster and Malcolm spoke to Dynamic Business about their startup as well as the state of the real estate market in Australia.
Grant Shankster (L) and Ewen Malcolm (R)
DB: What is the elevator pitch for the MiSale platform?
Malcolm: MiSale introduces the power of the C2C model to the real estate game by providing a quick, easy and hassle-free gateway to list, negotiate, inspect, purchase and sell property. There is no agency interference and no hefty commissions involved, it is the future of buying and selling your home. If sellers do require assistance, they can sign up for an agent assistance package, with no lock-in contracts or commissions.
DB: Did launching in Queensland have any advantages?
Shankster: Queensland provided the perfect testing ground for the idea of MiSale. With more relaxed laws around ‘owner sellers’, it allowed us to build the platform and introduce the concept to market. After a number of successful self-sellers across Queensland, we knew that homeowners were ready to take the destiny of their homes into their own hands. They just needed to dismiss the industry jargon and years of misinformation from real-estate agents.
DB: Where is the local property market ripe for disruption?
Malcolm: Everywhere – but especially Sydney. The average real estate commission nationally floats between 2-3% of a home’s sale price, which is whole lot of money to be handing over to someone… and it begs the question, did they actually earn it?
Sydney’s average house value is $1.1million, with an agent $23-33k commission – a third of the average Australian income – and for what? Over 80% of people look for their new homes online, allowing direct access to a potential buyer, meaning sellers are potentially handing over $30,000 for an agent to ‘publish’ a listing online. Instead, MiSale facilitates that connection and cuts out the middle man.
The market is over-ripe for disruption and we’re an agile company that will evolve with the demands of the market. Our aim is to keep making the connection between buyer and seller stronger, from live-streaming open homes to auctions and rentals.
DB: What key factor has contributed to MiSale’s success so far?
Shankster: The simplicity and seamlessness of the experience we offer. Our platform allows sellers to list their home for sale in just six steps. This no-hassle approach allows people to take control of their biggest financial asset – it’s empowering and honest in that respect.
Our freemium, DIY service has had people waking up to the fact that they are more than capable of selling their own home. We’ve had large brand names like Airbnb and Uber pave the way for MiSale here, so there’s not as much fear surrounding the DIY model.