Catcha Group CEO and co-founder Patrick Grove, together with Eric Tan, former chief of staff at the group, announced on Tuesday the launch of Instahome, an online home rental platform targeting the Southeast Asia market.
The platform, currently only available in Malaysia, is the latest online rental option in the region, where other proptech firms such as Singapore-based PropertyGuru, Ohmyhome, Indonesia-based Jendela360, Vietnam-based Rever, and Ohana, are fighting for market share.
Instahome hopes to solve the main pain points for property classifieds—inaccurate listings and misleading photos—through property pre-inspections. It will also offer the ability to pay rent online, find maintenance services, and communicate with agents and landlords on their website, according to the announcement.
While PropertyGuru, one of the leading property sites in Malaysia, charges agents a fee for listing on its platform, Eric Tan, CEO of Instahome, told KrASIA that his platform is free-to-list, and agents will only be charged if a tenant is secured.
“We only charge an advertising fee on success-basis to agents when we successfully help them find a tenant through Instahome. Once an agent submits a listing with us, we will physically inspect the property, shoot 3D virtual tours, videos, and photos, and upload them on our site at no cost to the agent,” he added.
Apart from addressing the issues of low-quality listing, the proptech venture says it will also prevent duplicated listings by only allowing an agent to list a single unit once.
Currently, Instahome has signed up more than 100 agents, according to Tan. He added that the company plans to build up a strong foothold in the Malaysian home rental market, followed by expansion to Southeast Asia.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has created panic in the real estate market, Tan added that the proptech sector is “here to stay as long as the solutions are built around the customer”.
“Having a home is an essential human need, so the demand for homes, whether it’s rental or sales, will not decrease. Our long term view is that much of the property rental and sales transaction process will be brought online because it’s better for everyone involved, faster, more transparent, and cheaper too,” he said.
Patrick Grove, co-founder and investor of Instahome, is also the co-founder of Sydney-listed Frontier Digital Ventures (FDV), a firm that operates thirteen online real estate and automotive classified platforms in emerging markets. He also co-founded iProperty Group, which was acquired by Australian-based online real estate advertising company REA Group for USD 532 million in 2015.