What do llamas have to do with real estate?
Well, the cute South American camelid with big eyes and luscious eyelashes is a beast of burden, guide and guard for Andean peoples.
The Kelowna-developed Listing Llama app promises to be a guide through a new, no-pressure platform to link home sellers and buyers with real estate agents for free.
Plus, Listing Llama is a bit of fun alliteration.
“The key is this process starts off with the home seller or homebuyer being anonymous,” said Listing Llama CEO Tarynn Parker.
“Sellers and buyers can ask the tough questions about commissions, fees and what is and isn’t included and outline exactly what they need and want.”
Sellers and buyers are effectively auditioning real estate agents, and agents are effectively bidding for listings by submitting proposals to the seller or buyer for consideration.
There can be in-app chat as the seller or buyer and real estate agent discuss the proposal, ask each other more questions and develop an online relationship.
The seller and buyer remain anonymous at this point, but all the real estate agents’ names and company affiliations are known.
The process dispenses with what can be high-pressure, face-to-face meetings.
The seller or buyer can withdraw at any time.
Sellers or buyers don’t become known to the real estate agent until they want to be, and even then it’s via an app-generated email.
It’s then up to the seller or buyer and agent to strike a deal and work together.
“It’s like Listing Llama is holding everyone’s hand through the process, and we introduce sellers and buyers to realtors and maybe they will dance,” said Parker.
“The app is free for sellers and buyers, but realtors pay a monthly fee of $149.”
From February to June, Listing Llama was tested in Kelowna with 85 home sellers and homebuyers using it to audition 45 real estate agents.
A few tweaks have been made to the platform to make it ready for launch this week not just in the Okanagan, but in Vancouver, Victoria, the Fraser Valley, Calgary and Edmonton.
“And in the fall we’ll launch in Ontario and California,” said Parker.
“In a world full of apps, Listing Llama is the first of its kind in real estate. It’s disruptive technology. But disruption is good because it introduces innovative ideas and emerging technologies to industries and society. Real estate needs this because real estate is the least disrupted industry out there.”