Why Hello Haus Is Disrupting The Real Estate Industry
Originally published on Linkedin.
I was recently invited on to the Bushy Martin podcast, to talk about my personal background, and what inspired me to start up Hello Haus. The short answer to it is this: After spending many years working as an agent, I was left disillusioned by the industry, but saw an opportunity to disrupt it.
Now, three and a half years after starting the business, we are still Australia’s only negotiation-as-a-service business in the property industry. We’ve had some enormous success in that time, so why do we remain unique and in a “niche,” as Bushy Martin described us?
The answer is simple. Too many in the real estate industry benefit too much from what I call “murkiness” in the negotiation process. What we do at Hello Haus is to bring transparency to the industry and bat for the interests of buyers and sellers over the commercial interests of the agents. That is, in a very real sense, a challenge to the status quo.
To highlight the work that we do, in the podcast I was asked what some of the strategies were that agents used to keep the balance of power and the upper hand in a negotiation. As I said in response, there are a lot of them – many of which I would deploy myself during my time spent as an agent. However, one tactic that has particularly stood out to me over the years as effective is the way agents will use the positioning price.
Positioning price is the act of setting a price on a house that is relative to the other properties in the market at the time. In other words, the agent uses that price to set expectations on what the property will cost, and, with the selective use of data, can often inflate the cost of a property in such a way that it still seems reasonable to the buyer. How positioning prices are set and weaponised to manipulate the price of a property is something that a lot of consumers don’t really understand, and selling agents know that and use it to their advantage through the negotiation.
When set against the hugely emotional nature of purchasing property – for many people it’ll be the only time they do it, and the single biggest and most important asset they’ll ever own – the reality that some people walk away from the process feeling bamboozled and unhappy with what they just bought. That became disillusioning to me, and is ultimately the reason I moved on from being an agent. Now I use my personal experience with the strategies and tactics that agents deploy to explain to my customers how to successfully navigate them.
Cutting through the emotion
The many tactics that selling agents use, and the generally aggressive nature of the industry, makes negotiation a “contact sport,” as I describe on the podcast. It can be highly confrontational and emotionally charged, and when you’re up against people who have a lot of experience, being the rookie on the court comes at a significant disadvantage that can be enormously difficult to overcome.
However, agents are not used to – and often not prepared for – negotiating with people who have purchased and sold thousands of houses over 20 years. Enter Hello Haus and our disruptive service.
I help buyers better understand what they need to do to secure their dream home by sharing my own personal, proven strategies. For example, one thing that I strongly encourage for each of my customers is that they should be deeply involved in researching any area that they’re looking to purchase property in. That way they’ll understand the true price of the property – defeating any positioning price strategy an agent may deploy – and they’ll also be better able to identify off-market opportunities, where their negotiating position is often stronger.
On the podcast I talk about the value of being at “ninja level” on real estate.com, in that I check the app multiple times daily, looking at every single property that comes in that matches my search criteria. I also make sure that I have a good gauge of what the markets are doing at any given time. It is that ability to understand the market that I’m looking to buy in that allows me to identify the best opportunities. And from there, after I’ve found the ideal off-market properties, the only thing left for me to do is to negotiate a winning price.
The podcast interview is part one, with another to come shortly. I do hope that by listening to it you’ll get a sense of what we stand for at Hello Haus, and why our experience in negotiation and the process of buying property is so valued by our customers.