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OpenAgent [SMART 100, 2015]

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This SMART 100 profile and the information it contains is a duplication of content submitted by the applicant during the entry process. As a function of entry, applicants were required to declare that all details are factually correct, do not infringe on another’s intellectual property and are not unlawful, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, obscene, or otherwise objectionable. Some profiles have been edited for reasons of space and clarity.

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1. THE BEGINNING

This innovation initially came to life when…

…co-founders Zoe Pointon and Marta Higuera experienced a hugely varied level of service amongst real estate agents.

After speaking to friends and family experiencing the same problem, they noticed a gap in the market, in that there wasn’t an independent platform that provided rankings and reviews of agents, as Trip Advisor does for restaurants and hotels.

With this in mind, the pair began building a test site in 2012, working from Zoe’s kitchen table and consulting part time (both have a strategy consulting background) to fund the early stages of the business.

2. WHAT & HOW

The purpose of this innovation is to…

…improve customer experiences in real estate. Selling your home is the largest transaction most people will ever make and it’s only done on average every eight years. OpenAgent aims to bring transparency and better quality assurance to the industry.

It does this by…

…intelligently comparing and ranking all active real estate agents in Australia, totalling over 30,000. The algorithm uses over 2 million sales transactions and 15,000 customer reviews to power agent rankings.

The team independently verifies sales data and reviews, and monitors service quality delivered by real estate agents to OpenAgent’s members. We have helped over 5,000 vendors so far and counting!

3. PURPOSE & BENEFITS

This innovation improves on what came before because…

…it is the only service in Australia that compares and ranks all active real estate agents nationwide. 50 per cent of Australian homeowners only ever interview one agent: imagine choosing a critical person in your team based off the first CV you received! OpenAgent’s service is free for sellers and enables them to make informed decisions.

Its various benefits to the customer/end-user include…

…providing industry transparency and helping sellers make smart choices, the difference can be over $50,000 on the sale price or preventing a nightmare experience!

To date, OpenAgent has advised 5,000 people through the selling process, representing $2.6 billion of transaction value.

4. COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

In the past, this problem was solved by…

…responding to a leaflet, word of mouth, or walking into the local agency. 50 per cent of people pick the first agent they meet, yet only 20 per cent have prior experience with that agent. These methods didn’t solve the problem of finding the right agent — there wasn’t a place to find all the necessary, independently verified information.

Its predecessors/competitors include…

…word of mouth and advertising. About 50 per cent of people find agents through word of mouth, the other 50 per cent responding to various advertising — flyers, online banners, walk-ins, etc. Those channels don’t enable an objective comparison or informed decision making.

5. TARGET MARKET

It is made for…

…Australian home owners who are looking to sell their property, providing them with an easy service that can recommend the best agent for what their selling needs. Too many people make blind choices when it comes to the biggest financial transaction in their life, and making the wrong agent choice can significantly impact the final selling price.

OpenAgent is for people who want to be comfortable in their decision and access independently-verified information to separate the poor-performing agents from the best ones in their area, so that they can secure the best price and have the most positive experience possible.

It is available for sale through…

…our website openagent.com.au for free. Once sellers put in their information about the property they wish to sell, OpenAgent’s team will contact them directly to help them through the process.

Our marketing strategy is to…

…raise awareness about OpenAgent — we have created an entirely new service in comparing agents for sellers, which people don’t necessarily know about.

We use PR, digital advertising and TV advertising to raise this awareness. We make sure we stay on top of marketing strategy by measuring everything as we go!

FINE PRINT: This SMART 100 profile and the information it contains is a duplication of content submitted by the applicant during the entry process. As a function of entry, applicants were required to declare that all details are factually correct, do not infringe on another’s intellectual property and are not unlawful, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, obscene, or otherwise objectionable. Some profiles have been edited for reasons of space and clarity.

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