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PropSocial General Manager, Magdelin Tan and her team saw a gap in the Malaysian property portal market, so they approached accelerator IdeaRiverRun Group owner Tan Sri Vincent Lee.
Tan says currently in Malaysia, the majority of active property portals in the market focus on classified ad listings posted by property agents or sellers. Information about the features of a neighbourhood to help property buyers or investors is minimal.
“So, what happens to genuine buyers who have yet to decide and have absolutely no clue on where they should live? They need to conduct research of the neighbourhood, township, surrounding amenities and the property itself,” Tan says.
“And often, information is scattered all over the place, making property buying a hassle. On average it takes 1 - 2 years to complete a sale.
“Doesn’t really help either if a buyer comes across property agents who are irresponsible and unprofessional along the way,” she adds.
In 2014, Tan was working with Propwall, a property portal owned by the Ocision Group of Companies which was later sold to Malaysia’s no.1 newspaper company The Star Publications.
She and her team of software engineers identified what was lacking in the property website market and how to improve on it.
“We decided to join the IdeaRiverRun group with the intention to build a better property website that is able to help ease the challenges of property buyers, investors, sellers and tenants,” Tan relates.
Her PropSocial pioneer team of two software engineers, four content writers and four business development people aimed to solve the challenges faced by property buyers currently not addressed by property portals in the Malaysian market.
In terms of revenue PropSocial sells advertising space to property agents and marketing solutions to property developers. Tan says the company plans to replicate the business model across south east Asia during its expansion.
“I am proud of my current team as they are all very dedicated and we work closely in striving toward the common goals,” Tan enthuses.
“We shorten property buying time by providing buyers with comprehensive information and real property insights which help ease their decision making process.”
For example PropSocial provides “everything you’ve ever wanted to know about a neighbourhood or property, presented with clean infographics for easy viewing”.
“You can also check for special requirements such as traffic, cleanliness, nearby amenities, pet-friendliness, previous transacted prices and more.”
The PropSocial site also allows users to “’follow’ a neighbourhood and receive updates on a news feed; a first in Malaysia.
“This feature was first introduced by PropSocial,” Tan confirms.
“It helps users stay in the loop for current property issues where they can also opt to receive updates for their preferred neighbourhoods.”
In addition, the PropSocial community is encouraged to relay their individual experiences so that potential buyers can get real insights not easily obtained about a property or neighbourhood, such as properties which are allegedly haunted, difficult neighbours or what users might like or dislike about a they’re living.
An ‘intelligent search tool’ allows efficient research time and provides for specific search filters such as undervalued or overvalued properties.
“PropSocial also has a space dedicated for the community to speak their minds on hot property topics,’ Tan says. “This is the place to share advice, tips and guidance with fellow members as well as read high-quality content.
“We also ensure controls are in place, so users will only see top quality ads that provide them with the most pertinent property information. No more wasting time weeding through spam and irrelevant ads.”
Tan points to interactive property maps as another important feature differentiating PropSocial in the market.
“These allow users to get a full view of their desired property, its amenities and surroundings as well as real-time traffic information,” she says.
“What’s more, you can use these maps to estimate distances and travel time to important destinations like your workplace or college.
Finally, Tan says if users don’t have time to scour through property ads they can just send in their requirements to the PropSocial team.
“Our network of trustworthy agents will help find them their dream property,” she says.
For the future Tan says PropSocial’s short term goals are to increase traction in the quickest time and to launch its mobile app by 3rd quarter this year.
“And of course from time to time, we will be implementing new useful features for our users,” she says.
“As for our long term goals, it would be to expand into South East Asia region and into other states within Malaysia.”