Online matchmaking services are quite the rage these days. Now the concept has taken off in the real estate world with digital platforms being created to connect buyers and sellers with their ideal real estate salesperson.
Keylo, based in Edmonton but operating everywhere because it is a virtual company, is using proprietary technology to make the connection. Its algorithm matches clients based on land titles, MLS data, ratings and reviews for real estate transactions.
Keylo was launched in 2017 by co-founders and brothers Craig Mracek and Ryan Mracek. They say they saw a need to help frustrated home buyers and sellers find a reputable real estate agent using unbiased and comprehensive data.
“I was looking at business ideas and going through things and it kept coming back to real estate,” says Ryan Mracek. “Everybody had talked about real estate having all these new inventions and really big changes. But it seemed really small and incremental from a customer standpoint. I still didn’t see a lot of changes if you wanted to go and buy or sell your house.” The brothers came up with the idea of doing real estate referrals Canadawide for free.
“We’ve had clients tell us over and over that it’s really difficult to know anything about the Realtor,” he says. “There’s a lot of people out there who have seen bus station ads and they’ve seen signs out there, but they don’t really know anything about these people.
“So, they’re starting their journey off by going on the internet. Ninety-eight per cent of people go on the internet…that’s where we come in. We can start getting information for them . . . We have to make sure that these connections are really good . . . There’s so much money on the line that people are really unsure what to do.”
Keylo uses data and reviews to find clients the best agent, whether they’re selling their home or purchasing a new one. Buyers and sellers fill out a short form for the Keylo team, which gives them an idea of their home buying or selling priorities. Keylo will then contact them to discuss what they want from a salesperson.
Then Keylo staff will research the best agent for those needs. It does not use a database of pre-approved agents, but it reviews local brokerages to find the best Realtor to fit a client’s priorities, the company says. Then it will match people with an agent.
“We wind up basically matching on what we think is the most relevant to that person and we’re continually learning more and more about that process,” Mracek says.
Keylo receives a portion of the Realtor’s fees.
“From the Realtor’s perspective, we’ve been very strong advocates for working with the boards and involving them every step of the way,” says Mracek. “We keep involving Realtors and asking them what they want from us. How do we deliver good quality clients to them? How can we make the process valuable for them?
“So, from the Realtor’s perspective we’re constantly learning how to make sure that we’ve got good clients, weeding out the bad clients and making that part of the process easier for them.”
Keylo’s genesis dates back to 2007 when the Mracek brothers decided to buy a home. They say they had no way to discern a good Realtor from a bad one. They asked family and friends and got one referral. They say the process was daunting and impossible to trust an agent with only one point of reference to find them their perfect home.
Nine years later they sold that same house and the real estate process for them was even more confusing with all the different options available.
“We believe the best real estate agents take a load off your mind and are worth every penny. We also believe that the worst real estate agents can cause you frustration and provide little more than FSBO (For Sale By Owner),” say the brothers on their website.
Mracek says business has been good. At the beginning, it was essentially testing the market to see what was out there and improving its back-end information. The response it got was quick and immediate.
“For mortgages, people have mortgage brokers and they concentrate on the rate. For Realtors, we basically do the same thing, but we just concentrate on the match. We want to make sure that we give the best Realtor to that client and the best client to that Realtor,” he says.
“If you don’t solve a fundamental problem, a fundamental need, you’re going to go out of business. So, in the next year or two you’re going to see a lot of people come up and put up listing sites . . . We want to create a brand of trust, which is the same purpose that Realtors (have). In the long run we think we can be competitive by ensuring people know who we are and why we’re different.”