In the five years since Market Buy’s first external sale, the pioneers of online offer management have celebrated some major milestones.
There’s been multimillion dollar sales, successful entry into the USA, and ground-breaking technology inclusions, all culminating in a rock-solid platform that benefits agents, buyers, and sellers alike.
The concept was born in 2014, during an eye-opening trip to the USA, prompting founder David Stewart to investigate the potential for technology to enhance the real estate industry.
Returning with a new mindset, Mr Stewart was inspired to branch out on his own. It was a successful leap, but before long he found himself trying to manage 17 different offers on a single property and thought, ‘there’s got to be a better way’.
Breaking new ground
A better way there was; enter the first version of Market Buy, a simple offer management platform he built and tested himself, using it to negotiate a sale for the first time in 2016, with 14 active participants, and 47 offers made.
“Our first external sale took place on July 20, 2017, and it was Phil Taylor who made that sale,” Market Buy Chief Digital Strategist, John Hellaby said.
“We started out as a simple private treaty process, and then we developed the ability to counteroffer, and we developed timers, and we developed the ability to hide offers, and finally, the ability for owners to select any offer that had been made, not just the highest.”
Just two years later, Market Buy was celebrating its first sale in excess of $8 million, the highest figure for an online negotiation sale across any platform.
“We backed that up with another $8 million sale the following year,” Mr Hellaby said.
As well as record sales, 2019 was also the year Market Buy successfully entered the US market.
“Our first US sale was a huge moment,” Mr Hellaby said.
“It was a property in Lake Wallace, Minnesota. We had to modify our platform in seven days to have a minimum viable product ready for the US market as a test. And we did it.
“We’d later go on to sell a New York City apartment for around AU$2.3 million, which was incredible in the heart of the COVID pandemic.
“We’ve proven viability in the US market, and it was really exciting to be the first Australian platform to get there.”
But the milestones don’t just relate to sales and expansion. Market Buy has seen multiple technological advancements over the past five years, which Mr Hellaby said is the reason the platform is so successful.
One of the most significant tech inclusions in the company’s history has been the ‘hide offer’ functionality.
“This was something we wrestled with initially,” he said.
“We were unsure about it at first as we were worried it would significantly lessen transparency.
“But the demand was so high, and at the end of the day, we’re for agents. That’s our underlying culture. So we found a way to provide it, while still providing a greater level of transparency than the typical sales process.
“Growth started to skyrocket because agents felt they were significantly more in control of the process.”
The introduction of the reset function on the sales timer was another game-changing addition to the platform, as it allowed equal buyer opportunity, while still creating a sense of urgency through the timer.
“While the countdown continues to create urgency, any time someone makes an offer, the timer resets, starting the countdown again,” Mr Hellaby said.
“Fine tuning our technology has been an exciting challenge and many, many late nights. But that’s what makes our platform so unique, so it’s been worth it.
“It’s how we’ve got to a point where it doesn’t matter what type of sale that you want to run, you can run the strategy that you believe is the best for your client – even if that’s a hybrid strategy.”
Innovation and stability through trial and error
The culmination of the past five years’ is an effective, efficient, tried and tested product.
“The end result is so ridiculously stable, powerful and flexible,” Mr Hellaby said.
“Everybody wins. Sellers are kept in the loop, and get a better sales result, and buyers are kept informed and feel in control throughout the process.
“The agent wins via huge efficiencies in their business, we’ve had as many as 93 registered buyers for one property, and contracts with 148 offers – imagine trying to manage that manually.”
Mr Hellaby said Mr Stewart’s blood, sweat and tears since developing Market Buy has led to its trusted position in the market.
“We’ve been through so much testing, so much craziness, that’s why the platform is as stable and as incredible as it is,” he said.
“Market Buy is now a well and truly established, international industry-based software that continues to lead the way in innovation for agents..”