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Properbird: “We’re Bringing Transparency to the Confusing Real Estate Agent Market”

Selling a property is a big step, after all, you’re talking about quite a lot of money. Selecting the right real estate agent is also a decisive factor. That’s exactly what the Munich startup Properbird wants to help home sellers with by providing more transparency on its platform. Founder Omar Dahroug answered our Seven Questions.

Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourselves!

Omar Dahroug, Properbird: We are Lukas Rose, Jörg Claussen and me, Omar Dahroug, and together we want to make the real estate agent market more transparent. Which is why we founded the proptech startup Properbird.

The inspiration behind Properbird came from an episode of the Freakonomics series about real estate agents. Properbird solves the proven incentive problem between real estate agents and home sellers.

Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?

Omar Dahroug: Selling a house is one of the biggest financial decisions we make in life. Which is why most home sellers look for support from a real estate agent, so they can rely on the agent’s expertise, network and experience in the market. But this is where you have the problem that home sellers have faced while looking for a real estate agent until now: When choosing a real estate agent, home sellers had to rely on their instincts and recommendations from others. The result was usually an emotional and subjective decision.

As mentioned already, Properbird solves the incentive problem. While a real estate agent’s incentive is to maximize the transaction volume (i.e. provision volume), a home seller’s incentive, in contrast, is to maximize the price of the piece of property. As a home seller, you always face the problem of not being able to “look behind the scenes” at how the real estate agent works, which makes it very difficult to gauge an agent’s performance before hiring them to sell the property.

That’s exactly what we want to change! Properbird helps home sellers across Germany find the real estate agent who suits them best. We crawl transaction data from agents on a daily basis, which introduces objective real estate agent performance into the decision-making process for the first time ever. This allows anyone on our platform to see how an agent deals with the asking price compared to an objective market price, for example, or how the agent ranks in terms of selling speed and sales costs compared to the regional average.

Properbird evaluates real estate agents based on their previous transaction data

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

Omar Dahroug: Of course, there are a number of contact platforms for real estate agents online, just like for everything else. But we’re mainly different on two levels.

On the first and most important level is our objective assessment method. Because we prioritize home sellers, we assess all agents based solely on their previous transaction data. To assess the agents, we use the three metrics sales price, selling speed and sales costs. This means our results can only be influenced by the agents’ observed performance. With its uniform and data-driven assessment, Properbird also provides a fair comparison between the individual agents.

On the second level, you have the unparalleled service that we offer home sellers on our platform. Traditional, two-sided platforms have to get both sides on board to be able to offer users value. With Properbird, in contrast, we’ve managed to avoid the chicken-and-egg problem. Because we crawl transaction data from leading real estate platforms for all of Germany, we’re able to collect the necessary data for each agent without them having to register. That means you can be certain as a home seller that Properbird covers the entire real estate agent market in Germany. We launched Properbird in June 2021 with more than 15,000 active agents in Germany. That makes Properbird unique, because you won’t find every active agent in Germany on any other contact platform.

Properbird: “In this market, there’s a much higher supply than demand”

Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?

Omar Dahroug: Properbird is very much a marketing-driven business. And that comes with two major challenges.

The first and biggest problem is getting home sellers on our site at the right point in time. In this market, there’s a much higher supply than demand. On top of that, most of our competitors have deep pockets and can afford to run expensive Google Ads campaigns. That’s why we’re experimenting at the moment to see which other channels we can use to get potential qualified home sellers on our platform and win them over with our service.

The second major challenge comes from the fact that the majority of home sellers are not even aware of the fact that the mentioned incentive problem exists. Because the process of selling an house generally happens once or maximum twice in a lifetime, people are often unaware of the fact that different real estate agents can offer quite different services. That means we offer the solution to a problem that our users aren’t even aware of. So we first want to raise users’ awareness about the problem itself.

Thirdly, like every other early stage startup, we face the challenge of finding the right talent and giving them the proper incentive. You can win your employees over either with money or reputation. As a young startup, you don’t have money or a reputation. Which is why we as a founding team have invested a lot of work into establishing an inspiring company culture that helps us get the right talent on board.

“We’re established in the market and financially independent”

Munich Startup: How is business going?

Omar Dahroug: We have two independent business models. On the one hand, Properbird finances itself since we are paid for taking care of customer acquisition as a contact platform between home sellers and agents. Moreover, in collaboration with Germany’s biggest tech and user portal CHIP and based on our agent rankings, we distinguish the top 25 percent of real estate agents in Germany by giving them a “Top Agent” award. So we’re established in the market and financially independent. Now it’s just a matter of growing.

Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?

Omar Dahroug, Properbird: I’m originally from Cairo, which is where I went to a German school. I then came to Munich to study at TU Munich. Back then, I never would have thought that I would found a startup here.

Lots of assistance from support programs

Our founding team is a combination of Manage&More and CDTM alumni. These support programs are extremely valuable. You get an unbelievable amount of support from these kinds of networks. With support I mean contacts to potential strategic partners as well as talented individuals to join the team. Moreover, you also receive additional support beyond the program in the form of electives that help you found your company. Last semester, for example, we had the opportunity to participate in two electives. The first elective was “VC Funding” with Michi Wax and Hanno Renner. The second elective was “Effective Organisation Building” with the four Stylight founders Anselm Bauer, Benjamin Günther, Max-Josef Meier and Sebastian Schuon.

On top of that, starting a company for me personally was facilitated as a TUM student because I wrote my master’s thesis as part of the new program TUM Entrepreneurial Masterclass. This exceptional initiative makes it possible for students to devote themselves to the topics they are passionate about. So that means I was able to invest the last six months of my studies in Properbird full-time.

Munich Startup: Quick exit or staying power?

Omar Dahroug: At the moment, Properbird is the project that I devote all of my time to and that isn’t going to change any time soon. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll stay with my first startup forever. When the time is right, I want to go back to Cairo and become active there. Egypt has major potential for startups, and I will be pleased to be able to use and apply everything I’ve learned in Munich there.