Over the last 20 years, Amazon has revolutionized the retail industry, fintech has revolutionized financial services, and Uber has revolutionized the taxi industry, but the real estate industry has not experienced a similarly major disruption.
That may all be changing with a new professional-only platform for real estate agents by RESAAS Services Inc. (RSS:TSX.V; RSASF:OTCQB) that lets agents communicate about off-market listings, find referrals and generally facilitate communication among agents.
"RESAAS has been more than a vendor, it is a true partner." - Jay Pepper-Martens, San Francisco Association of REALTORS
"We felt that the professionals in the real estate industry needed a better way to work together, so we created a technology platform that is the real estate industry's only professional collaboration, communication and transaction destination," Tom Rossiter, CEO of RESAAS, told Streetwise Reports.
The cloud-based and blockchain technology platform allows real estate agents to communicate with each other away from the eyes and ears of consumers. It gives real estate professionals access to the network of agents to see sales activity, current listings and listings that are not yet on the market.
"Agents use RESAAS to discuss listings that are coming onto the market but have not yet been made public on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)," Rossiter noted.
About a dozen of the larger real estate associations in the U.S. have signed on to use RESAAS, including the real estate associations in San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland, Miami, the entire state of Rhode Island, Beverly Hills and the Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors. The two largest real estate firms, RE/MAX and Keller Williams, also use RESAAS' technology.
Jay Pepper-Martens, director of MLS and IT for the San Francisco Association of REALTORS, told Streetwise Reports, "Leveling the market for all agents who want to have access to see pre/off-MLS listings has been the key objective of the platform and the ability to enter, see and contact agents about those listing opportunities is without a doubt the best aspect of the platform."
"When seeking a solution for our 'off-MLS' problem, we knew no company would have exactly what we wanted off-the-shelf. RESAAS demonstrated not only an excellent software platform that was very close to what we needed, but the willingness to modify it to precisely fit what we wanted," he stated.
"RESAAS has been more than a vendor, it is a true partner. They have helped us refine and improve the platform and have supported us at all levels from our customers who use the system every day, to our staff who administer and manage it," Pepper-Martens added.
"RESAAS has been a great partner in helping our agents take advantage of the tools we offer." - Shawna Gilbert, RE/MAX
Shawna Gilbert, Vice President of Global Development for RE/MAX World Headquarters, said her company was attracted by a combination of RESAAS' vision and its "world-class platform, which is easy to use and could be customized to meet the needs of our agents in over 100 countries. We are a complex, global network with high expectations of our technology partners. And RESAAS has come through for us in every way."
High Adoption Rate
The technology is now used by over 460,000 agents globally, 90% of whom are in North America.
Pepper-Martens explained, "Our pitch to our members of the San Francisco Board of REALTORS was that the platform would provide a clean mechanism for sharing off-MLS listing data before it "goes public" on the MLS, and other public websites. Adoption has been steady over the lifetime of the deployment and it now enjoys strong use and boasts success stories about transactions that were completed based on the visibility of the listing on this platform."
On the adoption of the technology by RE/MAX agents, Gilbert said, "When we implemented Single Sign On (connecting RESAAS with RE/MAX's login system) and made it easy for our agents to access the platform, adoption really took off. Our agents are busy serving buyers and sellers, so reducing the number of steps involved made a big difference. Technology adoption can be a real challenge, but RESAAS has been a great partner in helping our agents take advantage of the tools we offer."
User adoption has been high, with more that 90% of eligible agents taking advantage of the RESAAS platform in some markets.
Some real estate agents sell houses in the pre-market, where the transaction exists between two agents, and the sale will never go on MLS, Zillow, Trulia or other public sites. In addition to making the connections that make the private sale possible, RESAAS is able to capture the sales data.
"That data is extremely valuable because it does not exist anywhere else and is more up to date than what's on the MLS," Rossiter stated.
"Two of our clients are the first and second largest real estate brands on the planet, Keller Williams and RE/MAX, with about 300,000 agents combined. RESAAS has become synonymous with facilitating agent-to-agent referrals, and we gather tremendous data from the transaction." - Tom Rossiter, RESAAS CEO
In Canada, real estate agent Randy Dyck who runs a top-performing team of agents with eXp Realty in the Vancouver, British Columbia, area, told Streetwise Reports that his group has been using the RESAAS platform for over three years and uses it on a daily basis. "We have just shy of 40 active listings on the platform right now," he explained. "It's one of the easiest platforms that we use to build awareness in the marketplace prior to putting it onto the MLS system. It's a very efficient way for us to get the word out."
The RESAAS platform, Dyck explained, "is a great way to generate potential leads for the properties I am selling and also is a great platform for me to communicate with other agents so I can get to the sale."
RESAAS' technology also acts as a matchmaker to enable agent referrals. An agent in one region can use the platform to refer a client to an agent in another region.
"Two of our clients are the first and second largest real estate brands on the planet, Keller Williams and RE/MAX, with about 300,000 agents combined. RESAAS has become synonymous with facilitating agent-to-agent referrals, and we gather tremendous data from the transaction," Rossiter stated.
Shawna Gilbert of RE/MAX explained, "We have a massive global footprint and the fact that an agent can send and receive referrals from colleagues anywhere in the world on a multilingual platform is a major advantage. We needed a way to connect our network, and RESAAS helped us develop the Referral Exchange platform to do it. The technology is easy to use and has become an incredible tool for our agents."
Real estate agent Randy Dyck stated, "The RESAAS platform is a great referral tool because it is in touch with nearly 500,000 agents all over the globe, and not just within my own company."
The referral process has been made easier with the launch at the end of October of a new system called RESAAS Pay to send and receive referral fees, the first of its kind in the real estate industry.
"The old system of paying agents referral fees was very clunky, slow and expensive. With RESAAS Pay, an agent can pay another agent with a credit card; it's elegant, secure and quick," Rossiter stated. "It also opens a new revenue stream for the company because we charge a transaction fee."
For an agent, it is very comforting "to know that our referral commission is locked and loaded and it's secure, especially if you're giving out a referral to somebody that you may not know on a personal basis," Dyck explained.
Collaboration with Canadian Real Estate Investment Firm
RESAAS has an international reach. The company has been working with REIN, a Canadian real estate investment firm, since the spring. "REIN wanted to digitally connect its membership of real estate investors with each other to share investment opportunities. Currently that is done in person at events," Rossiter stated.
Initially, RESAAS worked with REIN to see what changes would need to be made to match REIN's needs. Once the spec was complete, "we then engaged with REIN's parent company, LEGACY, to actually do the work our spec defined," explained Rossiter.
On January 10, RESAAS announced an agreement with LEGACY to customize its platform to fit REIN's needs.
"We have had a tremendous response from our members about our plans to digitize some of the very core fundamentals we provide," said Jean-Guy Francouer, Chief Growth Officer at LEGACY Council of Canada. "Proptech (property technology) will push real estate businesses to the next level, through growth using real estate tools, artificial intelligence, technology and apps."
"The value we provide our members will be tremendous, as the basis for the technology is built from RESAAS' award-winning technology platform that already has an enterprise value of approximately $25 million. By extending it for our own specific needs, we will have a best-in-class solution for our members," he added.
"Disruption is on-going in the deeply entrenched RE industry. RESAAS is a partner to progressive MLSs who want to keep their organizations thriving and innovating. RESAAS is a company that will help an MLS build tools to modernize and adapt. You might call it 'disruption from the inside,'" stated Jay Pepper-Marten with the San Francisco Association of REALTORS.
RESAAS Services Inc. (RSS:TSX.V;RSASF:OTCQB) is a publicly traded company
Industry observer Nick Hodge follows and has invested in RESAAS. "As an investor," he stated, "I like that RESAAS has multiple revenue streams. It has transaction fees, premium app revenue, fees from facilitating transactions, and data sales. And then you have the blue sky of the blockchain should some of the big real estate companies that it’s already partnered with choose to host their transactions with RESAAS software."
"RESAAS is currently has a market cap of just $15 million, but is expected to do $5 million in annual sales in short order. I can easily see RESAAS maintaining its current 15X sales multiple as it gets there, which would value it in the $75 million range. As it increases conversions to the premium version of the app, and it starts facilitating real estate transactions on the blockchain and taking a percentage fee from real estate transactions, I think we could see the company get to a $100 million valuation in three years," Hodge concluded.
Technical analyst Clive Maund wrote on January 21, "I want to draw your attention to a stock that looks like it is shaping up for a major bull market. It's very cheap here, having dropped from a high at C$5.00 early in 2014 to the current 34 cents. A fine Double Bottom has formed over the past 6 months with a dramatic buildup in upside volume that is driving volume indicators strongly higher and it is viewed as an immediate buy here after its reaction back of the past week or so, with an awareness that in adverse market conditions it could drift back some more."
Siddharth Rajeev,an analyst with Fundamental Research Corp., wrote in a report on January 7, "RESAAS Services Inc. has made significant changes to its board of directors and appointed a new chief financial officer; the company has also developed RESAAS Pay, a referral payment processing platform. It has also entered into a joint venture with a San Francisco-based blockchain company, signed an agreement with a 6,000-agent network and increased usage of its RealTimeMLS platform significantly in 2018."
Fundamental Research Corp. has a Buy rating on RESAAS and estimates the fair value per share at US$0.67.
RESAAS trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker RSS, and in the United States on the OTCQB with the ticker RSASF. The company has 53 million shares outstanding.
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Nick Hodge of Nick's Notebook owns shares of RESAAS.
Clive Maund does not own shares of RESAAS.
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