PropertyFox; a South African startup that is in the business of online real estate, has confirmed the acquisition of a fellow local player in the property business, Steeple, for a valuation that is yet to be made public.
As indicated in a press statement issued by PropertyFox with regards to the development, the terms of the acquisition deal are expected to effectively put both companies in better stead, as well as help them consolidate on their current positions in the SA real estate market. Also, pursuant to the specifics of the deal, PropertyFox will now absorb all the clients on the Steeple platform.
Established in 2012, Steeple is known to pride itself as a “low commission” agency for real estate where potential buyers are connected to property sellers. This way, the platform serves as a medium through which parties on either side of real estate transactions can do business, with the startup garnering revenue by charging a commission of 1.9%, including VAT, on all property sales on the platform.
The acquisition appears to be taking a cue from an earlier development covered by WeeTracker which saw low-commission agency Eazi.com getting snapped up by Pam Golding Properties. It also follows from last November’s announcement which revolved around mortgage finance provider, SA Home Loans, reportedly taking up a significant stake in PropertyFox in a deal whose exact valuation was not disclosed by the online real estate agency.
Crispin Inglis, CEO of PropertyFox, remains coy on the subject of confirming the exact valuation of the acquisition, opting instead to reveal that Steeple has already transferred 100% of its stock to his company. At this time, information is still being awaited as regards the fate of all the employees on Steeple and it is assumed that these details are currently being ironed out by both parties.
The PropertyFox CEO also gave indications that around one hundred new sellers are expected to be brought aboard the platform by virtue of the acquisition; a feat which he believes will afford its clientele a wider variety of property options to make their choices from. The CEO also appears to be confident in the design of the business model of PropertyFox as his words can be construed to imply that the design of the company’s model is in tune with the needs of SA property owners who are looking to sell, as well as potential buyers. On the backs of this, the CEO seems convinced that the company is poised to deliver now more than ever.
“The process is fully transparent – sellers have access to more information around their sale, and the value of their property in current conditions – our listings look better compared to other properties on property marketing websites and statistically have been shown to generate more views for our sellers. And of course, the fee in our case is only 1.5% of the sales price (or a minimum fee of R 35 K),” Inglis said in the press above statement.
As the company claims, PropertyFox boasts a property sales rate that is believed to be around 82 days faster than the national sales average. It also claims to have helped South Africans accumulate up to R 5 Mn in savings on estate-agent commissions since coming into existence a little over two years ago.
In the same press statement, Inglis anchored this enviable sales rate on the backs of the absence of property price padding as a ploy to cover high estate agent fees, as well as the proprietary digital valuation process that is employed on the platform.
David de Waal, CEO of Steeple, highlighted the identical business models of both companies as one of the primary motivations that pushed the deal through. He also hinted at wanting to entrust the sellers on his platform into the hands of an agency that will have their best interests at heart in spite of the unfavorable market conditions that are currently rife as being another reason for going through with the deal.