DIY selling platform PropertyNow eyes more funds after Mark Bouris takes stake

DIY selling platform PropertyNow eyes more funds after Mark Bouris takes stake
DIY selling platform PropertyNow eyes more funds after Mark Bouris takes stake

Mortgage broking firm Yellow Brick Road chief Mark Bouris has bought a 5 percent stake in DIY property sale firm PropertyNow for an undisclosed sum.

The startup, which aims to raise further funds from private equity this year ahead of a possible IPO.

Bouris joined Financial Review Young Rich Lister Jeremy Same as shareholders in the privately held company.

PropertyNow founder Andrew Blachut believes his firm is bigger than rivals such as the listed, which has a market capitalisation of about $15 million, he told The Australian Financial Review.

It has a flat fee structure that starts at $694 for sales or $195 for rentals.

Its website says it "invented agent assisted sales in Australia and have saved Australian sellers over 70 million dollars in commission".

Blachut said he would raise more funds to fund PropertyNow’s marketing campaign.

"We are virtually debt-free and put all our cash flow back in the business and we have built our own proprietary technology platform, which our competitors have not," Blachut was cited as saying by the AFR.

”So we will use the funds raised on marketing our business. A lot of Australians still don't know they can use our [sale by owner] services."

Same, who co-founded Lux Group with prominent fellow Young Rich List member Adam Schwab, invested in PropertyNow in 2015 after approaching Blachut, while three years of effort to woo Bouris paid off when he bought into PropertyNow earlier in August.

"Jeremy brought a lot of expertise in terms of advising us on improving our technology and website and making it more modern and easier for consumers to use," Blachut said. "Mark is advising us and there is a lot of synergies between us and his business.

He added that Yellow Brick Road’s mortgage expertise would be useful when PropertyNow decides to launch ancillary services such as insurance.

PropertyNow is among the new breed of DIY property selling portals that depart from the traditional real estate agent model and as such are cost effective for sellers.

Its rivals include buyMyplace and the UK-based PurpleBricks.

PropertyNow claims it has close to 2,000 listings on both and Domain as at August 17, which is 27 per cent more than buyMyplace and up 17.3 per cent from a year ago. PropertyNow expects to generate an annual revenue of $1.5-2 million.

He said clients typically save $10-15,000 compared with enlisting full service real estate agents, with clients running their own open-house inspections, take inquiries from prospective buyers and control the text and pictures used on the real estate listings. The business has also branched into offering a service for rental homes.

"We think we are here to stay, the industry has already been disrupted. It is like having Uber now, but also normal taxis."

Blachut is a real estate agent who has worked for L J Hooker, Raine & Horne, Elders and Ray White. He first launched his then Coffs Harbour-based business in 2004 and became one of the first virtual real estate agents.

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