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.