A new Canadian real estate web platform has been launched, and its owners hope it will challenge international firms such as Zillow, Redfin and Purple Bricks.
Stream Property Solutions is an all-Canadian effort built to compete against the American and British giants in the field, says Michael McNeil, one of the real estate professionals behind the venture, who is providing broker advisory services to the company. McNeil is a sales rep with Re/Max Escarpment Golfi Realty in Hamilton, Ont.
Stream is designed to allow the public, consumers, real estate agents, landlords and other real estate industry professionals to better interact with each other, for a lower real estate fee, he says.
“In the last five or so years a lot of foreign real estate platforms have moved into Canada . . . and so there’s a move to disrupt the real estate industry from the traditional real estate broker (and) real estate agent that we’ve known for the past 60 years in Canada,” says McNeil. “We looked at that and saw these foreign companies coming in and there’s no Canadian entity to provide Canadians with a service.
“We wanted an all-Canadian entity to provide some competition to these companies but also go one step further.”
Although Stream offers consumers the choice of posting for sale by owner listings, McNeil says the company wants to work traditional Realtors. He says Stream has established “what we would call a one-stop location for all your real estate needs – so whether you’re listing or buying or looking for a rental property. One of the things we’re quite excited about is that for the people who want to sell and represent themselves – the for sale by owner market – we provide that service to them at a very inexpensive cost.
“What’s different about Stream is that it brings the consumer to one location. What’s different is that we’re low in cost for the Canadian consumer,” he says. “We also provide the Canadian consumer the ability to have more control over the real estate transaction.”
Stream’s website says a for sale by owner can list their home for sale for a one-time fee of $299 plus tax. “Unlike other FSBO sites, Stream does not force you to renew every few months at another fee,” it says. Listings for rental properties are $15. “That’s a one-time fee, not per month,” says the site.
McNeil says Stream was established and developed by licensed Canadian real estate industry professionals, along with software programmers, developers and designers.
He says consumers can go onto the site, look at the listings, click on an inquiry button for a property they are interested in and a local Realtor in their area will contact them immediately.
If someone wants to sell a property, they can go onto Stream and enter the relevant information.
John Scott, Stream’s chief technical officer, said the platform allows users to sell their properties either in a for sale by owner option or they can also have a Realtor sell it through the MLS, in which the listing appears on Stream’s platform.
“We’re not looking to replace the traditional Realtor. We recognize that the real estate market is changing and we’re giving (consumers) far more options,” says McNeil.
“One of the features we’re quite excited about is the ability for the for sale by owner customer to be able to see comparables, listing their properties amongst MLS listings,” says McNeil. “I think that will be something that will be huge to the Canadian consumer because if you’re on your own looking to sell and you don’t know what your neighbour is selling for, you can now do that on your own through Stream just by a click of the button.”