With Lamudi, Rocket Internet is stepping into the online real estate pool in Latin America, going up against regional players like Properati and GoPlaceIt.
In typical Rocket Internet fashion, Lamudi operates in about a dozen different markets around the globe, including Nigeria, Pakistan and Egypt. In Latin America, it is present in Colombia and Mexico – though if all goes well, other locales will certainly be on the horizon.
The online real estate pool is a crowded one in general, and Latin America is certainly no exception. But the Lamudi team is confident it’s got what it takes to stand apart. Vera Makarov, who’s heading up the company’s efforts in Mexico, let us in on what she believes are the essential ingredients of its recipe for success:
What differentiates Lamudi from other real estate pages is that we offer good internet traffic for the real estate agents, so then they receive phone calls and e-mail contacts from potential clients who have a genuine interest in purchasing a property.
What sets Lamudi apart was a major theme of our recent interview with Makarov.
Emily Stewart: There are a number of online real estate portals out there right now. What really differentiates Lamudi?
Vera Makarov: We have an after-sales team, which helps us to follow up on the real estate agents’ experiences, attend their doubts and implement their suggestions. We want to be strategic partners for real estate agents and not just a web page that posts their properties and charges a fee.
Lamudi has a catalog that is constantly updated by a specific department, which verifies the quality of the properties before uploading them so that users find properties that are actually available on the market with detailed information. Other pages don’t update their catalogs, and users get frustrated when they contact an agent for a property and it is no longer available.
We also provide useful information about different cities, areas and districts so that users can better choose their properties according to budget, necessities and lifestyle. In addition, our catalog of properties is quite detailed, so users can easily find the properties they’re actually looking for.
ES: How do you notice Latin Americans are searching differently than users in other markets? What’s unique about them?
VM: There are three factors we’re seeing simultaneously in Latin America. The first one is the macroeconomic stability in countries like Mexico and Colombia, which has given the middle and even the popular classes the possibility of buying a property, thanks to the payment facilities the government and private banks have given them. Latin America is moving from a rental profile to a buying profile. Especially in Mexico and Colombia, both countries have made impressive efforts in giving credits for buying properties, which has given dynamism to the real estate business.
The second key factor is the demographic profile in these countries, where an estimated 30% of the population is between the ages of 20 and 35. These are young people looking for independence and who are eager to start a family, all of them looking for a property of their own.
The third factor to consider is internet expansion in emerging countries, and its eventual and imminent consolidation. In Mexico, almost 45% of the population has internet access, and in Colombia, it’s almost the 80%. In all of Latin America, the people who are looking for properties most are those between 20 and 35 years old, who are also those with the highest levels of internet consumption. There are no good real estate sites on the internet, and the users’ searching experience has lost out.
ES: What specifically are people looking for in Mexico and Colombia?
VM: In Mexico, the trend is apartment purchasing, especially residential high rises, which are a series of apartments that include lot of amenities, like security, laundry, a gym, common areas, etc.
On the other hand, in Colombia, the main trend is renting apartments in big cities, though the middle classes now have the possibility of buying a property of their own.