Product Roundup: Zillow, Daft, EMPG, Fincaraiz, Housfy and Hogangnono

January 27, 2023
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The product departments at real estate portal companies around the world have been hard at work this week. We've got the rundown of six new product features released this week...


Zillow Debuts AI-Powered Natural Language Search

The U.S. market leader Zillow has announced that users of its Apple mobile app can now search for homes by saying what they're looking for. The company says that by giving verbal instructions like "$700K homes in Charlotte with a backyard" or "open house near me with four bedrooms" users will save time by not having to apply filters.

"Beyond easy-to-filter criteria like bedrooms and bathrooms, buyers are considering many other specific features that match their unique lifestyle," said Jenny Arden, Zillow's chief design officer. "This new tool is a game changer for home shopping, because it helps shorten the sometimes long and stressful house-hunting process by creating an easy, more modern way to search, and it delivers relevant search results in a simple, uncluttered way."

Zillow claims to be the first major residential real estate marketplace to implement voice search. The technology was pioneered before Zillow by the likes of Bobby Bryant, founder of brokerage firm Doss who we interviewed about it last year.

Zillow's announcement follows hot on the heels of the release of its apartment tour schedule feature which allows prospective tenants to book appointments to view properties without waiting for a third-party agent to respond.


Daft Releases Vendor Listing Approval Tool

Daft, Ireland's leading real estate portal, has launched a Vendor Approval Tool which allows real estate agents to send draft ads to home sellers for their sign-off.

Vendors can review and approve the ads as a quality control step before listings go live, and Daft says the tool will "save agents valuable admin time while simultaneously facilitating vendor-initiated upgrades."

Daft has released a spate of improvements to its platform in the past 12 months, including Offers by Daft, which allows buyers to place and track offers via the portal.

Online Marketplaces included Offers by Daft as one of the most notable product updates introduced in 2022. At the time of writing, Daft has 81 properties with "Offers" activated.


EMPG Introduces "TruCheck" on Dubizzle—Four Years After Bayut Debut

Emerging Marketplaces Group (EMPG), the operator behind property verticals across the Middle East and Asia, has introduced an authentication feature to real estate listings on its UAE generalist classifieds Dubizzle.

Agents must go through a two-step process to earn a "verified" status for their listings, whereby a listing is reviewed based on criteria including completeness of documentation, quality of photography, and valuation. Listings are then awarded a "TruCheck" badge if they pass the check, which also confirms the availability of the advertised property.

TruCheck was originally released for Dubai's—also owned by EMPG, in 2019—and the Group has clearly seen fit to expand the feature to Dubizzle's horizontal marketplaces.


Fincaraiz Launches Self Service App

Colombian powerhouse Fincaraiz is planning expansions into foreign markets in 2023, and launched its first self-service app last week.

The self-service app lets individuals publish listings on the portal privately and comes off the back of a $1.2M investment in Fincaraiz's technology in the past 24 months.

In an interview with Colombian publication Portafolio, Fincaraiz CEO Martín Monzón also hinted that Fincaraiz will release a new product to support "all real estate and construction companies"—but no delivery date was mentioned.


Housfy Unveils 'Housfy Invesment'

Spain-based real estate agency Housfy has unveiled Housfy Investment (Housfy Inversión in Spanish) to standardize the real estate investment process using algorithms.

As a part of the new offer, Housfy will explore investment opportunities and search through a selection of homes as well as integrating a process for purchasing, financing and renovation/redecoration of the property and the management of the tenancy.

Housfy is working with approximately 100 agents to develop the project, with algorithms being used to identify the best investment opportunities for buyers.

Alberto Bosch, founder and CEO at Housfy, said: "At Housfy Inversión, we want anyone to be able to invest in housing easily and safely, to help them build wealth."


South Korean Portal Hogangnono Introduces Anti-Fraud Protection

Hogangnono has introduced protections for tenants running the risk of falling into "jeonse" traps while they search for a new property.

Jeonse is a common renting method in Korea that sits between monthly renting and ownership, whereby a tenant pays a percentage of a property’s value in advance to the property owner. When the contract ends, the money is returned to the tenant in full.

Hogangnono's new feature shows apartments that are facing jeonse price falls to forewarn tenants against signing a contract that could endanger their deposit money.

Last week, South Korea's government relaxed property market tax regulations to alleviate the financial burden of individuals in the face of rising borrowing costs. The new legislation means owners of two homes will pay less taxes if they dispose of one of them during an extended period amid a slump in the home market.

The jeonse feature will ensure tenants do not fall foul of landlords exploiting the new tax regulations.

January 27, 2023
Harvey is an experienced property journalist and copywriter. He has written about the property industry since 2015, starting at The Property Franchise Group in the UK, before moving to Spain to work for Spotahome. He has blogged for the private rented sector, ghostwritten for UK property experts and written case studies for franchise owners around the UK. Harvey joined Online Marketplaces as a News Editor in 2022.

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