Trust is key in the property market and Bproperty has successfully built a lot over its five years of operations in Bangladesh, said Mark Nosworthy, its chief executive officer.
In a recent interview with The Business Standard, he said Bproperty is receiving 30,000 to 40,000 customer enquiries a month specifically for pre-owned properties in Dhaka city alone.
This tremendous customer response is because the tech-based company managed to remove all hassles and risk previously associated with buying, selling, or renting urban properties.
Prior to Bproperty's launch in 2016, to buy or sell property they own, people had basically two options—relying on their own network or going to individual brokers on the street, which both have their limitations.
"The process of searching for the right property was cumbersome. Finding the right person to buy from or sell to was very hard, on top of the fact that many were victims of fraud, even losing their life savings due to lack of a proper assessment of the market," Mark Nosworthy said, adding that Bproperty wanted to build a company that allows the relevant people to interact securely and transparently.
"We knew the types of challenges people faced, and so we built a company with all of these services, with all of the facilities that are required to allow a buyer or seller, tenant or landlord, to trust the industry, to find the right option for them in terms of security, and to be transparent with it, and that's basically Bproperty," Mark said.
"Once there was no industry in secondhand property transactions and now we have filled the gap with professional services that people can rely on," he said.
The information powerhouse
Bproperty has emerged synonymous to the secondary real estate industry here, riding on the back of its gigantic information bank based on authentic and updated real estate data.
In the last five years, the Bproperty team has gathered all the necessary information, photos, and even video footage for every single apartment in Dhaka.
Hundreds of thousands of interactions and thousands of deals, best use of technology in information management, on top of its technical, legal and commercial expertise, has made Bproperty unparalleled as a real estate information powerhouse.
"We have been doing it successfully since 2017. When you keep adding that data, and you refresh that data every month, you are able to then understand the trends in the market," Mark said.
"We help you to sit with a buyer or seller confidently about what is the right price in the market as we do not rely on any third party information, but data collected directly by us," he said, adding that "We need technology to do that."
Mark said, right now there are 2 to 3 lakh secondary property transactions in Dhaka alone and Bproperty's market share is still in the single digit percentages, but is growing.
"Our benefit is both in terms of the transactions itself, and secondly the confidence, trust, and sense of security we can provide everyone," he said.
Bproperty also provides property rental solutions for a small fee paid by landlords after a deal.
Bproperty gets paid by the seller if it can help sell a property, and the transaction fee ranges from area to area and is based on property price.
Also some primary developers are going to Bproperty to sell their apartments.
However, Bproperty is currently focused on the secondary market.
As an addition to the services provided, the company now also helps people find a mortgage solution, or a home loan, do legal checks on properties, provide valuation services, and even perform renovation and interior design services.
Real estate has to be a strong sector
Mark Nosworthy does not think real estate is overpriced in Dhaka.
"Due to people's desire to own properties and the undersupply of housing, the real estate sector in Bangladesh is always a strong sector and it has to be a strong sector," he said.
The secondary real estate market is underdeveloped in Bangladesh and the high cost of ownership transfers is a key reason behind that.
"The country has work to do to reduce it, because if the market is built well, the government will earn much more revenue even after slashing taxes on second hand apartment ownership transfers," Mark said.
Bproperty caters to the needs of those with real estate queries, whether property search or customization, utilizing technology, with offices in Dhaka employing over 600 people, and a growing coverage area reaching out to regions outside the main city.
"The vision is to ensure that all Bangladeshis have access to trusted and secure real estate services," the CEO said.
Some firms have tried to provide the services offered by Bproperty, but on a much smaller scale. There is still no significant visibility, while some big name property solution firms are mainly focused on selling their primary properties.
"So far there is no company like us in Bangladesh," said the Bproperty CEO.
Alongside location extension, adding dimensions to its services before and after owning properties, Bproperty now also looks to utilise its strengths in assisting the financial sector as it is a master of proper valuation of properties and directly works with actual customers of home loan providers.