hablib.com, or “Habitation Libertum”, is a free residential property platform that was launched
in August. The For Sale By Owner website is the work of Anton Kreil from the BBC2 series Million Dollar Traders. Here, Anton discusses the creation, business model and future of hablib.com with propertyportalwatch.com:
What made you decide to create hablib.com?
I started researching the online property advertising market and what it would take to create a unique offering. I realised that if I married the worlds of Facebook style social networking and residential property, homeowners and developers could monetise their social networks by avoiding paying an estate agent's fee.
Can you tell us about the process of putting the website together?
The build took 10 months and began with five months of mapping the logic of the website. There are many interactions amongst homeowners and buyers like arranging viewings, managing the bid process and we also created conveyancing software that every user gets for free. We then started designing the whole site. We wanted to give the user total freedom to do anything in the property world all from one page. The last stage was coding the site then testing everything multiple times.
Can you tell us about hablib.com’s business model? What does hablib.com offer that other property websites don’t?
By rightmove.co.uk's own numbers the average new build developer paying a monthly membership fee has 65 properties uploaded at any one time. rightmove.co.uk clients, on average, receive 95 leads per month. Therefore, if you pay to be on rightmove.co.uk you should expect to obtain on average 1.46 leads Per Property Per Month (PPPM). hablib.com don’t believe this is good enough.
A reducing Per Property Per Month (PPPM) rate
hablib.com give single dwelling homeowners the ability to advertise one property for free. If you are in business to make money from buying and selling property and want to advertise more than one, hablib.com classify you as a property developer. To advertise multiple properties on hablib.com, developers are charged advertising rates at a reducing per property rate well below current market rates. The top package is for 65 properties. We are 70 percent cheaper than rightmove.co.uk.
A reducing Cost Per Lead (CPL)
As a developer your Cost Per Lead (CPL) on hablib.com goes to zero the more leads you obtain. Because we’re a social networking site, we leave it to you how many leads you want to make. It’s like deciding who you want to be your friend on Facebook. Essentially YOU choose your Cost Per Lead not someone else.
We don’t charge developers on a per development basis. Every developer pays for capacity. If a developer has a new build in Scotland, they can replace it with a new build in London.
When purchasing one of hablib.com's advertising packages, all developers qualify for hablib.com's entry affiliate marketing program “HablibWave”. We give all developers a referral code to pass on to other developers they know. When your referrals join hablib.com, they enter that referral code and hablib.com pay you 50 percent commission into your bank account every month. As a developer if you refer more than two people on the same advertising package, you make money. No other property portal in the UK pays their members to be on their site.
Zero percent estate agency
If you sell property through hablib.com you pay zero percent. As a single dwelling homeowner the savings are huge as it’s totally free. As a developer, even on the top package you would only have to sell one property every 18 months at the UK average house price to justify being on the site.
What do you think will make it a success?
The fastest growing demographic of Facebook users in the UK is the over 40s. hablib.com's market is essentially for the over 30s. Homeowners, landlords, re-developers and new build developers. Essentially what will make hablib.com a success is if the over 30s and over 40s embrace social networking.
Why do you think the For Sale By Owner model is becoming more popular in the UK?
With a bit of training anyone can become a croupier in a casino. You just have to get a job at the casino first. The estate agents industry is like a casino. Traditional estate agents are the owners of the tables. The Internet has created an avenue for homeowners to interact with each other. The odds that the house will win are shrinking. There is only one way estate agents' fees can go and that’s down. That means ad budgets will go down. FSBO is becoming more popular because more people are realising they can easily trade property without paying an estate agent's fee.
What challenges do you expect to face in establishing the website in the UK marketplace and how do you plan to tackle them?
Critical mass is clearly the challenge. We will achieve slow growth in year one as people get used to the concept, and exponential growth in year two as people realise hablib.com is their only real online choice in the UK to avoid paying estate agents' fees. The more landlords and developers that get hold of hablib.com affiliate marketing contract the better it is for us and them. hablib.com get a larger and wider selection of properties on the website and landlords and developers get a cheap marketing platform and save paying estate agent fees.
What are some of the plans you have for hablib.com’s future?
We have tonnes of plans but I can’t give any away at this stage.