Even in Canada’s hottest real estate markets, a budget of $1.35-million would be considered a decent starting point. That’s good news for the recent relaunch of the online real estate brokerage Zoocasa.com.
Revealing its new website—and new focus—the much-needed cash-injection into Zoocasa.com enables the Canadian real estate brand to offer new, more sophisticated online tools for homebuyers and sellers.
How is it different?
Zoocasa.com operates as an online brokerage, as such the “rebuilt” user experience includes the ability to search and research by neighbourhood, an updated map search, and a promise of updating listings nine times more often than other real estate websites.
“Under the old Zoocasa, the site would post leads, then sell those leads to agents across the country; these real estate agents worked at a variety of brokerages, and weren’t actually affiliated with Zoocasa other than by purchasing those sales leads,” said Haw.
Promise of faster, better online searches
But the real estate industry is a traditional one, with a few big players that have, until now, controlled the real estate process. Part of the ongoing legal battles arose because brokerages and agents go online to scrape data in order to capture sale leads. It’s part of the reason that major national real estate brokerages weren’t too pleased with upstarts like the former Zoocasa model. To work within the current system, but with a focus on the homebuyer and seller, Haw sought to find a balance between the old and the new. The solution: Their own in-house real estate agents and then a strong investment in digital technology. As Haw explains, Zoocasa.com wants to move beyond just being a search platform.
“When a client is sitting at home, they’re doing research. They want education on what the process is going to be like. They want education on neighbourhoods and data. They want to be able to anonymously search and get the info they want. That should be supported by modern tech, and if we control that process from start to finish, it means we can integrate tech and help them have a better process from start to finish,” explains Haw.
What to expect from the relaunched site
- Listings updated up to 9x more often than Canada’s leading real estate websites
- Re-engineered map that supports faster and more intuitive search
- The ability to search for a single family home with basement suite, a feature not available with anyone else in Canada.
- Users can also search by duplex, triplex and fourplex
- Search specifically for townhomes
- Access to a client concierge that supports all Zoocasa.com clients throughout the home buying or selling process.
- Every listing also includes free staging and styling
Mix of old and new
Zoocasa.com was acquired in June 2015 from Rogers Communications Inc. by a small group of investors led by Lauren Haw, a Toronto-based entrepreneur with 10 years’ experience launching, managing and investing in Canadian real estate ventures, including RateHub.ca and True North Mortgage.
Under Haw, the site remained operational but it wasn’t until today’s relaunch that included a new website design and revealed the brand’s vastly improved front-end user experience.
Since the acquisition, Haw has also converted the brand into a stand-alone national brokerage, added an in-house team of agents and client service specialists and reformed the brand’s fee discounting format.
“This is a significant milestone in Zoocasa’s story. Modernization in this industry is slow and fragmented, and we have the opportunity to build a cohesive and informative real estate platform to better serve Canadians,” said Haw. “We believe that the best online offerings should be paired with the best offline service, and that’s what we’ve spent the last year building.”