Innovation in Real Estate Business in Japan
When it comes to innovation, Japan prevails. The country’s exports span from technology, gadget and culinary experience. Now, real estate business in Japan is pushing this envelope further.
Ie Agent+, a rental housing broker in Japan operated by NLINKS, introduced a new business model in brokerage. The company’s brokers (customer relationship officers) communicate with potential renters with an online chat system – meaning the company does not retain a physical office. Because of this efficiency in operation, the company allowed its operation hour to extend – 0930-2400.
Based on a chat, a broker returns a list of properties by e-mail in 5 minutes. A renter can notify the interested properties and arrange for a site tour immediately.
Screenshot of listed properties for rent, based on a user’s preference.
This business model was successful and it attracted many busy business persons, who can’t make a physical visit to brokerage firms. (By the time they wrap up from work – say 2100-2200 they are all closed.) The company claims that Ie Agent+ retains 180,000 users.
The drawbacks – currently, the service is only offered in Japanese, and its coverage is limited to Tokyo 23 wards only.