Johannesburg-based hybrid estate agency Leadhome has launched, claiming it will disrupt South Africa’s estate agency industry by making finding a home easier and cheaper.
Leadhome has initially gone live in Johannesburg, allowing users to post their homes for sale at a flat rate of ZAR29,995 (US$2,100), which chief executive officer (CEO) Marcél du Toit told Disrupt Africa is significantly lower than the Johannesburg average commission charge of ZAR89,000 (US$6,200).
Du Toit said the South African estate agency industry had stagnated for far too long, with “exorbitant commissions and bad service” still the status quo.
“Worse, the industry has seen very little adoption of tech in favour of the client: Property24 and PrivateProperty – as marketing platforms – have made it easier for buyers to find properties, but sellers are still charged exorbitant commission to sell their property through an estate agent,” he said. “We believe it’s about time things change.”
Leadhome’s solution combines facets of traditional estate agencies with modern technology to offer clients what it believes is a superior service at the lowest price.
“Our expert agents, innovative online platform, and centralised business model result in significantly lower costs – savings which we pass on directly to our clients in the form of a fixed fee, regardless of the value of their property,” du Toit said.
“In our experience it takes as much work to sell a ZAR100,000 (US$7,000) home as it does to sell a ZAR10 million (US$700,000) home; just because your home is worth more, you shouldn’t be penalised in the form of a high commission. Likewise, you shouldn’t be shortchanged on service because you don’t live in a Sandton penthouse.”
The self-funded Leadhome also claims to offer “customer service for the modern era”, with the team working from 6am until 10pm every day of the week to make sure it is available to clients.
“In a world where global companies like Uber and Airbnb, as well as local companies like Takealot and Yuppiechef, have redefined transparency, cost, and ease-of-use, it makes sense to look at how technology can improve stale industries – and we believe the South African estate agency industry is stale. Leadhome is playing a leading role in harnessing innovation to give sellers the best experience possible,” du Toit said.
The startup has agreed partnerships with conveyancing attorneys to assist clients in the transfer of properties, while it is following an email database strategy, combined with social media advertising.