How a technology company is making it easier to find the perfect real estate agent
Toronto-based Nobul has set out to remove the key pain points of buying and selling a home
With more than 125,000 real estate brokers, agents and salespeople across Canada—about 50,000 in the Toronto market alone—finding the right real estate agent can seem like a matter of sheer luck. Relying on an aunt who has a broker friend, taking the recommendations of a co-worker who bought a home a decade ago or wading through a confusing array of marketing material all seem like methods from an earlier time, especially living in the era of Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and Expedia.
A few years ago, Regan McGee was having lunch with a friend he had met while working in real estate development. McGee came to the realization that the real estate industry was due for a disruptive technology that made finding and working with a well-suited real estate agent more streamlined, more transparent and less stressful for consumers. So he created one. Launched in 2017, Nobul is the world’s first and only open digital marketplace that connects consumers with the right agent for their needs. Considering that buying or selling a home will be the biggest transaction in most people’s lives—and the biggest fee payment they’ll likely ever make—the timing was perfect to leverage technology to take the pain and guesswork out of what can be an opaque experience. Presented with a choice of agents who fit their needs, the power shifts to the hands of the consumer.
“A lot of people claiming to be disruptors and innovators in the industry are doing the exact things that have been done for decades,” says McGee, Nobul’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “I’ve never seen anybody doing close to what we’re doing to create a consumer-centric experience.” Since its launch in 2017, it’s signed up over 430,000 agents and handled more than 250,000 property listings across North America.
“We’ve massively simplified the whole process,” says McGee. “People think buying and selling real estate is complicated, but that’s a way for agents to justify their fees.”
Focusing on millennial first-time home buyers—a generation accustomed to using technology to personalize their experiences while simplifying their lives—Nobul has come up with a streamlined process that educates users as they go, so they have a better sense of the questions they should be asking throughout the real estate journey. In the traditional system, for example, some first-time buyers report being unaware they even paid commission. As well, they may not know all the options they have before signing a contract.
As sectors like transportation, retail and hospitality raise expectations of transparency and value, Nobul aims to empower customers and bring more business to the agents that are good at what they do. “I want to help the millions of people who buy and sell real estate across North America have a good experience and not feel like they’re being ripped off. I want them to feel like they have an outstanding partner in the biggest transaction of their lives,” says McGee.