Made in Dubai: Realty expert yearns to connect global market

Realopedia, the UAE’s first global real estate services and crowdfunding website, went live in beta last month. Providing information about the global property industry, the portal brings together business-to-business (B2B) real estate professionals, business-to- consumer (B2C) investors and end users in a single platform, allowing them to network internationally and deal with each other directly, eliminating the need for any intermediary. The crowdfunding platform, established under US laws, will officially launch in the first quarter next year, CEO Laura Choueri tells PW.

Choueri joined partners Hamdi Osman, a management, operations and logistics specialist who serves as Managing Partner, and sales and marketing guru Niazi Mostafa to form Realopedia, which she claims is a firstof- its-kind platform in the world that offers a rich combination of features and services to realty professionals.

“Dubai [is a] leading hub for global businesses that is well connected with the world, thus the idea for this website came out from this place,” says Choueri, who has worked in the real estate business for 36 years, starting in Montreal, Canada, and then in the UAE, where she has been based for 22 years. “During the crash in 2008, I was pulled in many directions to manage and transact global property through trusted networks, so I wanted to bring these trusted networks to a central platform and grow a global platform where all the industry players could benefit.”

Choueri brought together like-minded international business experts to help her cultivate a global platform that allowed everyone to network and make money in the real estate sector without involving middlemen. “It took us about four years to put the concept together and two years to just to trademark the portal name globally,” she says.

What makes Realopedia a unique portal?

Realopedia is the first of its kind in the world that connects B2B and B2C in a central platform. The aim is to bring together real estate agents, brokers, developers and service providers such as lawyers, architects, mortgage lenders, banks, web designers, interior designers - a full range of professionals from every industry that backs up the realty sector to work under one umbrella.

The portal includes listings, research reports from reputable bodies, trend tracker news across G20 nations, country statistics, real estate marketdata, blogsondifferent subjects, forums for network ing, job search and listings, opportunities for crowdfunding and much more. There is no other website available globally that offers such an extraordinary combination of features, information and listing options for the entire real estate industry within a single platform. The portal is already live in beta in London, New York, Dubai and Egypt, and countries in phase two will be launched in the coming months.

What kind of customers are you targeting?

Everyone in the industry, be it real estate agents, brokers, developers and service providers from across the G20 nations, are our target audiences. These industry players can become recognised members on our portal provided they have valid professional licences, broker’s card or a vat number based on their country’s jurisdiction.

We need trusted individuals and networks on a central platform, so that real estate professionals can conduct business globally and investors and customers can seek advice from reputable real estate professionals in the industry.

How do the real estate markets and members benefit from this portal?

Realopedia will save professionals thousands of dollars in travel, conferences and unnecessary overhead expenses as it connects investors and customers to network with agents, brokers, developers and service providers online. This portal is home to everything that has to do with real estate, therefore, every agent, broker, developer, service provider who is in or services the real estate industry should be on it, as this gives them a platform to connect to the realty world in a convenient and cost-effective way.

The website enables members to list properties and projects, and search for properties, business and investment opportunities in developed and emerging markets. The portal is a networking platform for members to meet with other members online, gain worldwide exposure and advertise and promote their listings, company or services at highly competitive rates.

It also provides them the opportunity to review research reports from reputable bodies and use this platform to search for a job in the real estate sector or related service provider industry.

What are the crowdfunding opportunities Realopedia offers?

Realopedia’s crowdfunding feature is licensed out of the US, which will gather a pool of investors to acquire a stake or investment within a project, giving people an opportunity to invest at affordable rates. The entry point for investment may vary for each project depending on different factors like project volume, developer’s requirement and so on.

There will be a mandatory minimum 20 percent developer’s equity in the project, which means no projects on the portal will be allowed to acquire 100 percent funding by the crowd.

The markets we have chosen for crowdfunding are the GCC and G20 nations. We work with lawyers from the US as well as lawyers within the jurisdiction from where the project that needs to raise funds will be located to put the structure on the funding process. The crowdfunding phase will be operational on the portal starting from the first quarter next year, as we are putting the structure in place with a lot of due diligence.

There are many opportunities for crowdfunding in the GCC and G20 nations, hence, this feature on our portal will create more opportunities for diverse projects and provide flexibility to raise capital for projects or ventures from a large pool of small investors.

Are you already planning to expand in the near or long term?

We have Realopedia representatives in the US, the UK, Egypt and the UAE and are currently in negotiations in other markets, namely Russia, Germany, Italy, France,  Bulgaria, China and Brazil, to push the brand forward.

What are your views about the Dubai property market?

Dubai is a mature market, [where] developers and investors alike have strong faith and belief in the Ruler’s vision, and in the opportunities that Dubai and the UAE are always providing. The World Expo 2020 will not only create economic growth but will lead the real estate market of Dubai and of the UAE to grow exponentially with many investment, real estate and manpower opportunities.

What is your vision for Realopedia?

My vision is to continue to grow the portal globally through trusted and reliable partners. Realopedia is the cornerstone of the new era in real estate.

Source: Hina Navin, Special to Property WeeklyPW


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