The Pam Golding Property group has confirmed that it has acquired Cape Town-based online digital estate agency, Eazi.com.
Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group said that the acquisition will serve as part of the group’ strategy to adopt an online “hybrid” estate agency model.
“We keep a close watch on global real estate industry trends and it seems that internationally, residential real estate sales industries and businesses are being reorganised across at least two different and separate types of business models and customer offerings in specific market segments,” Golding said.
“The first of these is the traditional high ‘touch’, high service, agent/client relationship model which is the cornerstone of the Pam Golding Property group and which will continue to be our core offering – but secondly, over the past two years, we have been following the advance of the online ‘hybrid’ estate agency model, which is a digital offering plus minimal agent ‘handholding’.”
The hybrid agency model has a technology platform that enables buyers and sellers to conclude real estate transactions including: book valuations, change prices, arrange viewings, collect feedback, review marketing data, send messages, make offers and agree sales 24/7.
This model uses technology to reduce costs and pass savings onto consumers in the form of lower, flat fees, Golding said.
“Internationally this model has started to gain traction and has specific applicability in the lower end of a number of key markets around the world where it is estimated that it has the potential to become a significant sales modus operandi in the future,” he said.
For South Africa, the investment into Eazi.com will broaden Pam Golding’s access to the South African and African residential property sector by enabling it to take an interest in the high-volume segment of the market, which comprises over 100,000 transactions annually in South Africa alone, Golding said.
“This is particularly relevant in the price segments between R500,000 and R2 million, to which the Pam Golding Property group has traditionally had limited exposure to date.
“This is not a disintermediation or cannibalisation play but rather a recognition that in specific market segments it is possible to give consumers a choice between a low-cost, fixed fee, low agent involvement, technology-enabled online service or a traditional agent-enabled, high touch, personal service with all its inherent advantages,” he said.
Eazi.com is a Cape Town-based, technology-enabled, fixed-fee service with call centre support which enables consumers to buy and sell residential property for a fixed fee of R29,500 plus VAT which is only payable on sale of the property.
While Eazi.com is focused in the Cape Town metropole, and will continue to be managed and branded separately from Pam Golding Properties, the plan is to expand it to the full service offering of the Pam Golding Property group locally, nationally and globally.