Searching for our ideal homes is a laborious process and the home-buying search still relies heavily on digital classified ads.
“Classified ads is a concept from the 1700s and its digital incarnation still involves individuals having to comb through an overwhelming number of listings to pick out a few relevant options,” said Gerald Sim, CEO and co-founder of AI-driven real estate portal MOGUL.sg.
“There had to be a better, ad-free way to match home seekers and property owners,” he added.
The co-founders of MOGUL.sg are either former property agents or have worked for property developers, so they best understand the pain points of property search and wanted to use technology to eliminate the inefficiencies.
Giving Other Real Estate Portals A Run For Their Money
The 40-year-old Gerald was previously the CEO of a regional real estate developer and an accountant by training.
His close friend and co-founder, Julian Cho, is a software engineer by training and was a practising real estate agent.
He has also been in engineering roles with several Fortune 500 technology firms like Apple, Electronic Arts and Samsung.
Both of them had a clear goal in mind: to see technological advancement in the real estate sector.
With that, they pumped in S$3 million and started real estate portal MOGUL.sg in November 2018.
MOGUL.sg harnesses artificial intelligence, locational data and geospatial technology to streamline the home buying process.
At the onset, many dismissed MOGUL.sg as just another property listing platform.
But the reality is that our proprietary keyword search, geospatial data and underlying AI capabilities, make matching between home seekers and property owners simpler and much more precise.– Gerald Sim, CEO and co-founder of MOGUL.sg
Here’s how it works: When a property owner or agent lists the property’s postal code, MOGUL.sg aggregates all of the property’s surrounding amenities based on locational data verified by 40 Singapore government agencies.
This helps make these amenities searchable as keywords or key phrases.
“We also conduct research to create and add more than 5,000 custom keywords that further describe the characteristics of a property, such as “patio”, “west view”, “pool”, and so on,” explained Gerald.
For instance, keying in “near North-South line” will show all property listings within half a kilometre from any train station along SMRT’s North-South line.
Combining this with a second key phrase, such as “near supermarket”, it will let the system filter out homes that are more than 300 metres away from any supermarket.
As more keywords or key phrases are added, the search becomes more precise and granular.
Their unique search method and filtering sequence help home buyers find what they are looking for, instead of scrolling through pages of search results.
There was a time when you had to know the exact wording of a website’s title to find it and your search results were riddled with spam. For most of us, using Google over other search engines because of the quality and sophistication of its underlying technology is a no-brainer.
MOGUL.sg works similarly to deliver useful and accurate search results — but for property listings.– Gerald Sim, CEO and co-founder of MOGUL.sg
Furthermore, property agents and home seekers do not need to repost repeatedly to ‘boost’ their listings or search for new options.
The platform’s AI notifies both parties when a new and relevant match is discovered.
First-Of-Its-Kind 3D Viewing Technology
MOGUL.sg may have started off with applying geospatial and AI technology to create a property listing and search platform, but that is just the start, said Gerald.
He shared that the company will be showcasing OneMap3D Beta — the first-of-its-kind 3D virtual capability — at the upcoming 3D Virtual Property Expo.
Held from 15 to 17 October, it is the first virtual real estate event that allows users to see what unbuilt properties will look like when they are completed.
Home buyers will enjoy immersive 3D walk-throughs of newly launched, but yet to be built condominium projects and their surrounding environments.
They will be able to appreciate the view from any floor and walk-through the property’s neighbourhood to explore its amenities.
This could potentially transform the traditional concept of showrooms.
After the exhibition, individuals can continue to assess the featured residential and commercial projects till December on the MOGUL.sg website.
This is because the use of the 3D geospatial and modelling technology on the platform is still in beta version and will be undergoing further development before it is officially launched.
Following this, we believe that our technology can improve other parts of the home buying process.
One example is determining the valuation of a property under current market conditions, especially when they are within the same building but are on different floors or have different facings, to provide fair and transparent pricing for the benefit of home buyers.– Gerald Sim, CEO and co-founder of MOGUL.sg
This is why Gerald foresees that they will be rolling out new solutions every six months to address such issues.
Seeing Gold During Covid-19
August saw Singapore’s highest sales of new private homes in the past 11 months amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
For MOGUL.sg, it has seen tenfold user growth in the past three months.
This contributed to a record-breaking S$25 million worth of properties that have been transacted through its platform within two weeks after the circuit breaker period.
According to Gerald, this could be attributed to buyers seeing property as a more stable investment than financial markets, or it could simply be a result of “pent-up demand” from the circuit breaker.
He added that MOGUL.sg has also been generating a “six-figure” monthly revenue, and their new monthly users currently averages at 70,000.
Solving Pain Points Of The Home-Buying Process
Home buyers often make the time to view multiple options, only to feel disappointed when they realise that what they see is not what they had expected.
Also, they are unsure of the affordability of a property they like due to inaccurate information on listings.
Home buyers also typically spend time visiting an off-site showroom, before visiting the property’s actual location — resulting in spending an average of 6 months or more to find an ideal place.
This was before Covid-19 when there were no restrictions.
The trillion-dollar real estate industry is still very much behind in technological advancement.
With these AI and 3D capabilities, it could enhance the search process through more accurate data, eliminate the need to be physically present during home viewing and potentially reduce the time it takes to buy a property.
Featured Image Credit: MOGUL.sg