21 November 2014 - Joshua Han Miller, CEO of OKAY.com, discussed in an interview with iMoney how the company was established during hard times in the Hong Kong property market, with its disruptive business model standing out from the crowd. Despite the government’s property cooling measures, OKAY.com’s revenue recorded a spectacular increase of 150% in the first quarter compared with the same period last year.
An Exceptional Internet-based Model
Traditional real estate agencies rely on physical stores, with expensive rents becoming a significant, if not fatal, burden in a depressed market.
“Along with the advancement of technology, transparency of the industry is becoming greater and greater. Clients looking for properties to buy or rent no longer walk directly into agencies; instead they search online for initial information and properties of interest. This anchors the belief that agents do not have to stay in shops and can be freelancers that take more initiative in their approach to clients”
OKAY.com's agents are not mandated to stay in the office; at anytime from anywhere, they can access OKAY.com’s database from their mobile devices, ensuring efficient responses to client inquiries and easier arrangement of viewings.
Generous Remuneration and a Culture of Sharing
“With costs saved on rent, we are able to better reward our people.”
Large scale real estate agencies in Hong Kong typically offer a 10% to 30% commission split to their agents, while OKAY.com offers 50% to 60%. This has attracted some of the industry’s international and most experienced agents to join the company.
Additionally, a commission split mechanism has been put in place to advocate a culture of sharing among peers.
Joshua stated “All OKAY.com agents are encouraged to share any property information they have in the company database for all team members to see. Agents get 60% commission from their own deals and an extra 10% on any others they help close through shared information.”
Advice from Real Estate Experts
To promote professionalism, OKAY.com has invited industry experts, including Peter Churchouse, former Managing Director and Advisory Director at Morgan Stanley, to act as advisors to the company. They will contribute consistent commentary and analysis on the property market on www.OKAY.com, while also providing advice and solutions to property questions.
Concluding the interview, Joshua was asked whether he believed the success of OKAY.com’s new business model will bring a change to the entire real estate industry. He replied, “Hong Kong property is a huge industry. We need everyone to step forward together in order to see a change.”