Miami — EmCasa, a proptech that combines technology and qualified in-house brokers to improve the experience for people buying and selling real estate in Brazil, is expanding to 11 new cities in the next 60-90 days. The company streamlines the buying and selling process through a proprietary tech platform that guides the brokers every step of the way. A unique feature of the business is that all the brokers it works with are employees of EmCasa and earn a salary rather than the usual commission-only structure.
“On average, a Brazilian closes 1.5 homes in their life, so it’s a very important transaction,” said Gustavo Vaz, CEO and co-founder of EmCasa.
Vaz compared aspects of EmCasa to RedFin in the U.S., which is a full-service real estate brokerage that also offers an online marketplace for homes that people can browse without any commitment. In Brazil, in addition to the traditional brokerage firms, EmCasa also competes with real estate unicorn, Loft, which was last valued at $2.2 billion earlier this year, according to Pitchbook.
Because EmCasa has an online marketplace that buyers can browse, some customers contact the company when they have already found a home on the site that they are interested in seeing, but according to Vaz, 1 in 4 of the company’s clients reach out to the company without having found a listing.
Typically in real estate transactions, a traditional broker is responsible for a number of tasks such as taking photos, looking at contracts, mortgage documents etc, but at EmCasa the broker is only responsible for dealing with the customer. Through experience, some brokers become more knowledgeable in a certain area, Vaz said, citing a complicated mortgage as an example. As a result, when a client describes what they are looking for, they get matched up with a broker that can meet their needs.
“One of the things we realized is that by matching the right broker with the right person, we have been able to increase conversion rates,” Vaz told Bloomberg Línea.
But the key to the business is in more than just the broker client relationship; it’s in the tech. EmCasa has developed an AI-driven customer relationship management system that tells the broker what to do each step of the way, assuring that nothing gets missed, and that things are done as efficiently as possible.
“If a broker hasn’t reached out to a client in, let’s say, three days, we send a message to the client automatically, to the client’s WhatsApp. It increases the efficiency a lot,” Vaz said.
EmCasa was founded and launched in Brazil in 2018, and to date the company has raised $32 million. For the last three years, it’s had offices in Rio and São Paulo, where it has been operating. Earlier this year they decided to expand to 15 additional cities over a 6-9 month period, but the the launch of the first 4 cities went so well, that the company decided to speed up the timeline and is launching the remaining 11 cities in the next 60-90 days.
The business model will remain the same, and each new city will get a local office. The company chose the cities based on several factors including GDP/capita, population, and the city’s proximity to Rio or São Paulo.
“We wanted all the cities to be within 4-5 hours of driving distance, so if something comes up, one of us can get in the car and be there very quickly,” said Vaz.