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Cape startup Property Fox may have saved South Africans R5-million in estate-agent commissions since launching in April last year, but their disruptive online model is stirring up a storm in the local property market.
The company only charges customers 1.5% in sales commission — significantly lower than the 5% to 7.5% of the selling price that estate agents usually charge.
What has irked some agents is that the company allows a buyer and seller can communicate on the positives and negatives of the property before a sale is concluded.
“Traditional agents always say to you ‘don’t let the buyer meet the seller because there’s so much emotion attached to the sale’. Our first sale happened because the buyer met the seller,” says Crispin Inglis, who founded the company with and Ashley James.
Casting off any doubts that the company is sidestepping any rules, Inglis says the company is fully compliant with the respective legislation.
“We fall under (the law) the same way estate agents do… we always knew that as a disruptor we’d need to be fully compliant,” said Inglis.
‘We always knew that as a disruptor we’d need to be fully compliant’
Yet despite becoming compliant, Inglis says the company has remained concerned about whether potential customers might adapt to using their services to sell property online.
“Our biggest achievement was a lovely lady who we were worried about would have difficulty using tech… when she signed up with us she was able to sell it within a week,” said Inglis.
But despite all the seemingly negatives that Property Fox faced, the company has managed to list 400 properties in its first year as well as generate R96-million in sales. This year alone Property Fox has managed to list 100 new properties with 30 sales across the country.
Property Fox was funded in four equal parts by its founders as well as two silent shareholders to the value of R1m.