Calgary firm brings online shopping to the real estate market
According to a new Calgary firm, the real estate sector has been one of the slowest and most reluctant to embrace going digital. At the same time, Canadians and Americans pay some of the most expensive commissions in the world to buy and sell property.
Bōde is an Alberta-based company that wants to change that. They have created a disruptive new technology that puts the house buying and selling power in the hands of the consumer.
Alan Kelly, Chief Revenue Officer for Bōde, says his company offers a new way of transacting that empowers consumers with an easy, low-cost alternative to the traditional real estate market, while providing a modern digital experience.
“We give people online tools they’ve never had before,” he says.
These include tools that make booking viewings of any property as easy as booking a reservation at a restaurant, as well as the ability to carry out (and track) entire transactions online.
Bōde also gives buyers and sellers background information throughout the entire process, allowing them to become familiar with inspection details and conditions, as well as financing options.
“We have digitized the entire experience, while also giving people the option to still do any part of the transaction offline, if they prefer,” says Kelly.
Disrupting the “middleman” mentality
Most of the world’s population is already comfortable with buying products online. Kelly believes that purchasing a home shouldn’t be any different.
While modern home buyers are able to browse online listings using sites like Realtor.ca, they still need to work with a “middleman” realtor to tour the house, and get more information on it. And the commission rates for these realtors are usually in the neighbourhood of 4-6%.
“Very little innovation in this industry has actually benefitted consumers,” he says. “It hasn’t led to more options or more competition. In contrast, everything we do at Bode puts the consumer first. We involved our customers from the beginning, with everything we built.”
Bōde charges a commission fee of only 1%, which potentially saves buyers and sellers tens of thousands of dollars. This fee covers the cost of photographing the home, and providing the 3D virtual tours. Bode also promotes clients’ properties on Google and social media. And if the home doesn’t sell, the client doesn’t have to pay anything.
“We are taking all of that risk for our customers up-front,” says Kelly.
Bōde also provides its customers with all the market data and analysis that, historically, only realtors had access to. This includes comparable properties in the neighbourhood that are up for sale or have been sold. This gives consumers more effective tools to make an informed decision on what the market will bear.
Since the pandemic arrived in Canada in mid-March, Bode’s business has taken off. The ability to make the entire process virtual has proved particularly appealing. “We’ve removed the, on average, 19 face-to-face meetings a seller would normally have in the traditional process of selling their home,” says Kelly.
The Team Behind Bōde
The company has four founders, including Jeff Jackson who, prior to Bōde, started and grew his own real estate brokerage to 40 agents. The other founders (Robert Price, Lindsay Skabar, and Alan Kelly) come from a technology background.
It was really a marriage of tech and real estate experience that helped us be successful,” says Kelly.
Bōde has been live on the market for approximately one year, and currently has 125 homes listed for sale, worth over $85 million in total. This puts them in the top 10% of real estate brokerages in Alberta. They have sold over 55 homes, and are celebrating new milestones every month as new clients come on board.
“Most of our customers hear about us through word-of-mouth, as we are doing everything we can to make our buyers and sellers successful and have a great experience,” says Kelly.
He says the Bode team will remain headquartered in Alberta for the near future, and look to expand nationally and internationally.