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SA startup PropertyFox acquires local platform Steeple for undisclosed amount

Online estate agency PropertyFox has acquired fellow Cape Town based property platform Steeple. PropertyFox did not disclose the amount it had bought the company for.

PropertyFox revealed in a press release today that in terms of the deal, the two agencies will effectively be consolidated, with PropertyFox taking on all Steeple’s clients.

Steeple, which has been in operation since 2012, says on its website that the company is a “low commission” estate agent platform, where sellers get to show potential buyers around their home and where Steeple takes commission of “only 1.9%” (plus Valued-Added Tax).

The announcement follows hot on the heels of Pam Golding Properties’ acquisition earlier this year of low commission agency Eazi.com. In November last year mortgage finance provider SA Home Loans’ announced that it would take a 49% stake in PropertyFox late in 2017. At the time the startup declined to disclose the value of the deal.

Read more: Eazi.com co-founder plans to relocate to US following Pam Golding deal [Updated]
Read more: SA Home Loans acquires 49% stake in PropertyFox

PropertyFox CEO Crispin Inglis would not reveal the amount his startup had paid to acquire Steeple, but said the company had already transferred 100% of its stock to PropertyFox.

PropertyFox co-founder Crispin Inglis declined to disclose the amount the startup had paid to acquire Steeple

Inglis added that he is still waiting for clarity on whether all Steeple’s employees would be joining PropertyFox’s team of 24 employees. Steeple CEO David de Waal confirmed in an email that the two companies are still working through the details of “who will fit where” following the acquisition.

In an earlier statement released today, Inglis said the deal will allow the company to will add about 100 new sellers to its platform, giving clients a wider selection of properties to choose from.

He claimed PropertyFox’s digital real estate model resonates in several ways with SA homeowners looking to sell.

“The process is fully transparent — sellers have access to more information around their sale and the value of their property in current conditions —  our listings look better compared to other properties on property marketing websites and statistically have been shown to generate more views for our sellers.

“And of course the fee in our case is only 1.5% of the sales price (or minimum fee of R35 000),” he commented.

PropertyFox claims it is currently selling houses on average 82 days faster than the national sales average.

In May last year Property Fox claimed it had saved South Africans R5-million in estate-agent commissions since it launched in April 2016.

Read more: Cape property startup creates storm with new model that outfoxes competition
Read more: Property Fox saves customer R93 000 on first property sale

Inglis said in the same statement today that the accuracy from PropertyFox’s proprietary digital valuation process and the absence of property price padding to cover high estate agent fees are just some of the reasons it can sell properties so quickly.

Steeple CEO David de Waal said in the same statement earlier, that the two companies have complementary business models.

Added De Waal: “We wanted to entrust our sellers to an agency that we knew would take good care of them and, more importantly, would be able to sell despite the current poor market conditions. PropertyFox was an easy choice for us because they have great people, robust systems and strong advertising.”

Editor’s note (10 September 2018): This story was updated to include Steeple CEO David de Waal’s comment that the two companies are still working through the details of “who will fit where” following the acquisition.

Featured image (from left to right): PropertyFox founders Crispin Inglis and Ashley James (Supplied)