Two Sydney entrepreneurs, with a background in real estate and tech projects, have launched a new app that aims to increase price transparency in the Australian property market.
With listings powered by Domain, Auction Snitch allows users to anonymously update or ‘snitch’ real-time data on property price guides, sale prices and auction results.
The app is the brainchild of Sydney real estate expert Tori Huxtable, who is an agent on the North Shore, and tech project veteran Tamsin Lapointe.
Ms Lapointe said navigating the property market could be a hassle for buyers.
“People spend an average of nine months searching for the right property, often viewing over 300 listings and attending numerous inspections,” she said.
“A major frustration for buyers is encountering listings without prices.
“Our app addresses this pain point by leveraging community crowdsourcing to enhance market transparency.”
This is supported by recent research from REA Group, with its most recent annual Property Seeker Survey of more than 6000 buyers revealing 72 per cent of buyers skip over a property when a listing doesn’t have a price.
Ms Huxtable said the idea for Auction Snitch came about when she asked Ms Lapointe to check on the result of an auction, because she couldn’t attend herself.
“I needed to know the result of the auction because it was going to affect the selling price of a property I had off market,” she recalls.
“So I rang Tamsin with a favour… Can you please be my auction snitch?
“And that’s how it came about.”
Ms Huxtable said being a real estate agent, coming from a family of developers and buying and selling her own properties, put her in a unique position of knowing what consumers and the market wanted.
“I understand what it’s like to be wearing the buyer’s hat, the seller’s hat and the agent’s hat,” she said.
“So I’m uniquely placed to understand where some of the shortcomings are in the market.
“We’re really hoping to increase the transparency in the Australian property market by allowing people to snitch what they know.”
Ms Huxtable said Auction Snitch would also help tackle underquoting and agents not readily revealing auction results.
“Hot-off-the-press auction results was our first thought, but then, as we talked about it more, we realised that price guides are often not readily available… (You see a lot of) contact agent,” she said.
“Then you have to email, wait for the agent to get back to you and you just want to know the price and not mess around.”
Ms Huxtable noted that agents did use the ‘contact agent’ as a way of developing buyer leads and gauging market price expectations, but she said Auction Snitch helped balance the needs of buyers and sellers.
She also noted that the app had some simple methods to help verify correct information was being entered.
“We have an upvote or a down vote system a bit like Reddit and Quora,” Ms Huxtable said.
“In the same way that people act in good faith in reporting potholes and speed traps on waze, we have been overwhelmingly pleased to see that people are entering into the spirit of this app and that’s to enter bonafide information.
“And we do have the power, if we can see repeated people saying $20 billion for this property, we can take them off the app and take that data off.”
Ms Huxtable said Auction Snitch initially launched for Sydney only, but was now available nationwide.