Small players in Hong Kong's competitive property market usually have to shoulder the high commission fees demanded by agents, but a new online platform has been created to make such payments a thing of the past.
ZAP, which stands for Zero Agent Property, provides direct connections between buyers and sellers, and tenants and landlords. It was launched in early May, six months after the original idea was written on the back of a napkin in a crowded dim sum restaurant.
'We are both property investors who wanted to put our apartments on the market and sell them ourselves,' says one of the two entrepreneur founders. 'After making a number of transactions without agents and without fees, we knew how straightforward it was - we just needed a place for people to see that our properties were for sale. Given we're in Hong Kong, we can't just put a 'for sale' sign on our lawn. But we could put them online. So we decided to create a dedicated property site that showcased properties and allowed interested parties to connect through the site.'
ZAP also outdoes traditional estate agents in that it allows landlords to manage their own details - meaning no more dated listings. And as there is an option for lawyers to oversee the transactions - instead of agents, who have an incentive to maximise their own return - conflicts of interest have been minimised.
Like the best things in life, the site is free for its users - except for the lawyer's fees. To buy or sell, rent or rent out, visit www.zeroagentproperty.com.