Recently launched Sydney-based Sello, a new hybrid real estate agency, promises its users will "get more" and "pay less," if they use the new platform.
Former Macquarie Real Estate director Ian MacIntosh is behind Sello. The real estate industry veteran admits to having taken a few leaves out of the Purplebricks' playbook whilst preparing to roll out the new company.
Like Purplebricks, Sello's real estate agents will charge a fixed-fee of $7,550 to home sellers. The portal enables sellers to monitor the progress of their sales campaign via a web-based dashboard, any time they wish to. The agents will also dispense with traditional shopfronts to work remotely.
MacIntosh recognized the Purplebricks / Sello similarities, but stated that the digital platform was designed to address the "misgivings" of local vendors, these being the high cost of selling, "less than stellar" levels of service and a lack of transparency.
"The vendors we spoke to consistently felt the real estate agent was holding all the cards in the transaction. We want to empower vendors through information so they can interact at a higher level of understanding," he told The Australian Financial Review.
During his discussion with vendors, the outrageous cost associated with selling properties in Australia was raised, as well as the fact that sellers are not pleased with the level of service they receive during the sale process, in part, this is the reason why hybrid and DIY estate agents are growing in popularity in the local property market.
MacIntosh indicated that the growth of the hybrid model did not signal the death knell of commission-earning agents "but the emergence of a new sector within a binary marketplace.
Before launching Sello, Macintosh was at Macquarie Bank the past 15 years, in roles spanning real estate funds management, risk management, product development and project management. His property roles included managing the Macquarie Office Fund before the platform was sold to Charter Hall in 2010.
His co-investors are David Murphy, a Mosman estate agent and tech entrepreneur Craig Hewett, who co-founded online travel marketplace Wego.