New app set to eliminate real-estate agents

A new Kenyan startup called Home Search has developed a real estate app set to make it easy for homebuyers to buy homes without having to involve real estate agents.

“The Home search mobile app is set to eliminate the need to involve real-estate agents. It offers a new, easy-access approach to buying, leasing and advertising properties across the country,” said Eric Mwangi, a co-founder.

The mobile app offers a listing of lands, houses and offices for sale and lease. The founders say the app is set to take advantage of the growing mobile phone use in the country reflecting on Kenya Telecom Sector Analysis 2010 projecting mobile phone subscribers to grow by 15 percent to 32 million by 2013.

The mobile app enables users to view the property, check the maps to locate the property and call or SMS the contact person. Users can as well recommend the property to interested parties.

“I wanted to create something unique that could be used locally in Kenya and coupling with my interest in the real estate I realized that the only means of advertising properties here in Kenya is through print media, or broadcast. At that time, a quick search on the Nokia Ovi store showed hardly any App for real estate in Kenya,” said Ericm

The application provides details of apartments and other rental properties available including a map showing directions to site and the property owner’s or rental agent’s physical addresses.

Additional features include a search query that allows users to search for land through the seven counties, presently, provided on the app. They can also pursue further queries use price search tag provided.

Since its launching in early January, the Home Search App has seen 4220 downloads, with majority comprising users from India, US and Kenya in that order.

The Nokia S40 and SMS Mobile app is available on the Nokia Ovi Store and works across all Kenyan mobile networks.

The founders, Erick Mwangi, a 25-year old Tech student from Jomo Kenyatta University, and Harris Mwangi, a 23 year old from computer science Student at Daystar University, are at present working on an Android version of the Home search app to tap into the Kenyan property market.

Huawei Ideos phones sold more 300,000 phones in the Kenya last year alone and adding the app on the Android market would be a plus for middle class homebuyers and advertisers.

Although Home Search has not received any funding, the founders say, the purpose of the app however is to make an impact in Kenya’s real estate sector, as cash flow would eventually jet in. The two hope to make money from property listings and commissions on every property sale via the app.

Home Search’s major competitors in the Kenyan property market include Villa Care, Fav House, Propert Leo and established property consultants like Knight Frank and Hass Consult.

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