Technology Can Democratize, Grow Real Estate MarketBy María José Goytia | Fri, 07/08/2022 - 13:39
Q: How is Houm democratizing the real estate market, both in the rental sector and in the buying and selling of properties?
A: Houm was born out of the need to democratize the real estate market, to make transactions in the sector much simpler and more accessible. Our founders, Benjamín Labra and Nicolás Knockaert, experienced firsthand the tedious, slow, unreliable and unaffordable bureaucratic processes that dominated real estate transactions in Chile, especially concerning the necessary rent guarantee. They understood that the current model in Chile hindered housing access for all.
In 2018, Houm was created to democratize the real estate market by transforming these and other processes, making them easier and faster, as well as by avoiding bureaucratization with fully online solutions. Our value proposition includes the digitization of all stages of real estate transactions, including scheduling visits, uploading documentation and signing contracts. This accelerates a transaction by up to 10 times. Houm also does not ask for collateral from tenants and acts as the rent guarantor for the landlord. The efficiency our solutions create makes real estate transactions more accessible to the various stakeholders involved.
Q: Why did Houm decide to expand its operations into Mexico?
A: Houm started operating in Chile four years ago. Besides being the native country of our founders, it is a market that is open to using new technologies. Here, we were able to transform the existing perception about proptechs, since they did not exist in the market yet. Later on, we started expanding. Our first step was to Colombia, where our solutions were also well-received. Next, we looked toward Mexico.
Mexico has many advantages that make it attractive to complement our growth strategy. First, the country has a relevant market size. Also, Mexico is very close to the US market, where various technology companies have been quite successful. Another one of Mexico's most attractive characteristics is that real estate processes, mainly rentals, are highly informal. Therefore, there is a great opportunity for Houm to share its solutions and transform rental processes, driving a paradigm shift regarding proptechs.
Q: How do stakeholders benefit from Houm's value proposition to inject liquidity and foster dynamism in the real estate market?
A: Thanks to our quick processes, Houm can conclude rental transactions much faster, which adds dynamism to the market. With the management service we offer to landlords, which includes rent collection within the first five days of the month, the payment of the deposit and a rent guarantee for six months, the market gains greater confidence. This allows for greater liquidity to flow during rental transactions. Our services are focused on landlords. However, they also benefit tenants and real estate developers.
Regarding purchase and sales transactions, we also offer technological solutions that, through our marketplace, allow us to accelerate the time it takes to complete these processes. In addition, we offer an investment scheme for when owners are looking for their properties to be used as assets and sources of income, offering to manage the property under a secure rental scheme.
We are present in the main transactions within the real estate market, acting as an omnichannel. This allows Houm's solutions to create a virtuous circle throughout the market, offering services that complement each other while providing our users with an optimal experience and reliability. Our technology enables Houm to accelerate transactions, increasing liquidity in a traditionally rigid market.
Q: How has Houm's business model evolved from a B2C proposition to a B2B model?
A: Houm identified the business potential regarding real estate developers that own buildings and owners who bought properties but have no property managers once they are leased. This is the stage that we are looking to enter. Houm wants to collaborate with developers by offering them attractive payment schemes and benefits so that the company can take over the management of the properties. This provides greater value to the developers’ offer, since owners will have their property management taken care off at the time of purchase. Furthermore, our rental solutions allow us to find reliable tenants to occupy the properties under our secure rental scheme, which also helps developers to fill their spaces much faster or to offer this added value to potential buyers.
Q: What have been the results of Houm's "A Houm for Everyone" program in Mexico?
A: Part of our commitment as a company is to promote causes that encourage the democratization of the real estate market and that promote greater housing access for all. Houm donates 1 percent of its monthly income so that families can achieve their dream of owning homes or improving the state of their house. For example, we supported an Afghan refugee family in Chile, whom we helped to obtain housing so that they could settle. Another project took place in Mexico, in collaboration with the TECHO foundation. Together, we built houses for the homeless. Today, we are analyzing how our 1 percent donation can contribute to combating the water shortage crisis in Monterrey.
Houm is a Chilean proptech that is using technology to simplify the process of leasing, buying and selling properties in Latin America. It is present in 10 cities in Chile, Colombia and Mexico.