By Arra B. Francia, Reporter
WHILE MOST BUSINESSES would use the Internet to minimize person-to-person interaction, online real estate services firm Hoppler aims to do the exact opposite, wanting to increase personal connections between brokers and buyers of property in order to build trust.
“What we try to say is this, there should be a face-to-face meetup. There’s not enough of it in the key cycle. People are too busy doing administrative work. That’s the part we want to cut down. What we want to do is give you more time with what you do best,” Hoppler Chief Executive Officer Ramon Ballesca, Jr. said in a recent interview.
With administrative work completed online, Mr. Ballesca said closing deals can be done twice as fast.
“We push all the processes you do on paper, online — try to close a deal with Hoppler, find clients online where we basically share all of our listings. Once they do, they can use our app, see the viewing list, create offer letters, create contracts,” he explained.
Established in 2014, Mr. Ballesca said Hoppler aims to provide people with as many tools in order to make the purchase of property easier.
With property firm Elizalde Roxas Corp. and online classified business investor and operator Frontier Digital Ventures as investors, Hoppler managed to raise $1.3 million or P66 million to support its operations in Metro Manila.
Hoppler now has a total of 28 people under its team, most of whom are sales directors who manage the company’s partnership with around 650 brokers. This is what Hoppler calls its partner-broker program, where it taps brokers to make use of its online applications and services.
“We invite brokers to use our platform, give them our software, let them use our processes. We’re trying to bring them to the forefront online,” Mr. Ballesca said.
The company targets to hire 10 more people in 2018, in order to manage more partner brokers and eventually expand into other locations.
Hoppler’s property listings are currently concentrated in Makati and Bonifacio Global City. Around 80% of the listings at Hoppler are residential properties, while the remaining 20% are commercial spaces. The firm’s customers range from end-users to investors aged between 38 to 50 years old.
In a bid to increase its services online, Hoppler is also looking at bringing in United States-based firm DocuSign that would allow customers to sign documents through their smartphones or tablets.
The company further aims to partner with banks to enable Filipinos to have easier payment schemes for their property purchases. Mr. Ballesca noted it has been difficult for Filipinos to acquire real estate because of the lack of information on accessible bank loans.
“For Hoppler, it’s a duty to open up the markets. In the next five years, we will partner with banks, there are a lot of companies, lending companies, mortgage brokers that have a really good relationship,” he said.
In terms of geographical reach, Mr. Ballesca said they are now looking at the Daang Hari stretch, which connects Metro Manila to Las Piñas and Cavite.
“I see Hoppler across the Philippines, Cebu and Davao, five to 10 years from now. Even if we go to these cities, we’re going to help complementary industries. In design, market brokerage, and then share on the fees,” Mr. Ballesca said.