Real estate is one of the biggest industries in the Philippines today. There are new developments, from entry-level to luxury, popping up all over the metro and beyond on a fairly regular basis. In spite of this and the prominence and involvement of the Internet in our everyday activities, browsing and purchasing real estate online is still a challenge. This is due to a number of problems including a lack of a high-quality platform wherein buyers and sellers can do business. That’s where ZipMatch, an online portal for real estate buyers and sellers, comes in.
ZipMatch is a relatively new startup founded by John Dang and Chow Paredes. It is one of the very few real estate startups and services born and bred in the Philippines. To date, ZipMatch has received investments from a number of local and foreign investment groups including IMJ Fenox, 500 Startups, Hatchd Digital, and the IdeaSpace Foundation. It’s set to grow even further with more potential investors in the pipeline.
Originally called HomeMatch, the startup wanted to address the array of problems present in the online real estate industry including its efficiency and transparency, among others. The group understood that real estate is one of the biggest purchases a person makes in their lifetime and they wanted to help make that easier.
Wanting to become more than just a lead generating website, the folks at ZipMatch started to address the problems in the industry including the lack of information in listings, redundant listings, constant reposts, misrepresentation or false advertising, and factual errors.
They created a platform of curated listings and provide a slew of unique features yet to be seen in other online real estate platforms including user and curator property reviews, 360-degree property views, additional in-depth property information (available cable, Internet, and phone providers, etc.), a strict quality control process for listings, and an in-house concierge, among others.
Some of the additional information that ZipMatch provides are flood- and traffic-risk maps for each development. This information isn’t usually available on listing sites due to the listings being completely user-generated. Also, potential buyers are able to see both the user and curator reviews to get a first-hand and more personal account of the property or development.
ZipMatch also makes available a concierge to help out buyers throughout the whole process of browsing for properties and searching for brokers. ZipMatch’s concierge team matches buyers with multiple brokers in each property to give them as many options as possible.
Another way ZipMatch is making property buying easier for consumers is their Project Pages, a unique take on categorizing or grouping listings. The Project Pages are first grouped by city, then by specific areas in the city, and lastly, by the developments or properties within that area.
Once a development or property is chosen by the user, all the major and the aforementioned fine details of the development are displayed even before the development’s specific listings are shown. This alleviates the redundancy found on other listing sites wherein the same information is shown on each listing under the same development.
The Project Pages are created by a team who locates, visits, and researches each development city by city instead of relying on second-hand information from brokers. This makes for a more honest, factual, and trustworthy collection of information.
Currently, ZipMatch has Project Pages for Makati and Taguig. Project Pages for Pasig, Mandaluyong, and more are going up soon. The startup also plans to create Project Pages for cities outside of Metro Manila in the future like in major cities and areas in Cebu and Davao.
On the other side of the fence, it isn’t just buyers that ZipMatch caters to. The group also provides services for brokers or developers such as lead generation through personally matching them with buyers. ZipMatch also developed their own customer relationship management (CRM) and other tools so brokers and developers can manage their leads more efficiently. It’s in this way that ZipMatch has also turned from a bootstrap company into a legitimate profitable startup. Brokers and developers can subscribe to ZipMatch’s buyer matching and lead generating service along with the access to their tools.
As for the company’s current and future plans, one of the steps they’re taking is partnering with financial institutions so buyers can also begin the process of applying for a housing loan through the platform as well. In this regard, ZipMatch successfully partnered with BPI Family Savings bank earlier last year for this initiative. As for its next steps, the company wants to keep innovating and improving its services for the local industry and eventually expanding the platform to the rest of the region and even cater to OFWs moving in and out of the country.
Additionally, ZipMatch also tries to educate and, at times, entertain homebuyers and others in the real estate game through tutorials and articles found on the ZipMatch blog or online magazine. From lessons in buying one’s first home, articles on saving for your dream home, to pieces on unusual food items in Binondo, ZipMatch wants to engage its users on a personal level not just in the realm of real estate but in others as well.
ZipMatch is setting itself up to be the biggest premiere online real estate platform in the country and the region as well as completely changing the landscape of the real estate industry, making it less intimidating and a lot safer for both homebuyers and sellers.
Check them out at Zipmatch.com.