It’s true. The year 2017 brought some serious highs and lows across the world, ranging from natural disasters and political tensions to debates over which meme won your heart (we got stuck between the Snapchat hot dog and Salt Bae). In Canada, the hive-mind focus remained firmly on Bitcoin, The Trump’s tweets, winter (as a topic—eh?) and, of course, real estate.
It’s only fitting that, as a real estate marketplace, Zolo examined a few of the 2017 highlights from the past year. As one of the biggest brokerage websites in Canada, the 2017-year ushered in new products, an expanded staff roster, loads of new (and happy) clients and an office expansion that continues to help establish the coast-to-coast reach.
Home buyers and sellers get more with Zolo
In 2017, our product development team helped launch a few products—entry points that provide our clients with deeper access to listings available in the Canadian real estate market. This included the addition of commercial listings—listings not typically found on homebuyer websites. “The response has been great,” said Mustafa Abbasi, President of Zolo. Abbasi explains that this will help to grow Zolo’s traffic and leads across the country.
Another update was to provide a comprehensive list of open houses in real-time in strategic Canadian markets. With these listings available for Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, Abbasi says clients are able to stay up to date on the latest properties within their search filters.
Users also may have noticed the more comprehensive City Guides for many of the large and mid-size cities throughout Canada. These guides provide more context and insight into that market and help home buyers and sellers to make more informed decisions.
Zolo also opened up new offices in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The opening of these new offices now means that Zolo clients now got access to up-to-date listings in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. “This nationwide expansion and the cross-country coverage is extremely valuable to agents working in fast-moving markets,” explains Jon Cartwright, a Zolo real estate agent who works in the Greater Vancouver Area. Country-wide coverage means all Zolo agents get access to cutting-edge technology and up-to-date data. This enables Zolo agents to provide seamless help to buyers and sellers, particularly those moving from one market to another and from one property type to another. “It’s about getting the best advice in the quickest possible time,” says Cartwright.
Zolo plans to continue the nationwide expansion in 2018, with a push east into Quebec and the Maritimes. This strategy means that Zolo will reach into every province and provide comprehensive and full coverage of the Canadian real estate marketplace.
“Being a coast-to-coast Canadian real estate company is a big milestone for us,” says Abbasi. “Now we provide exceptional service to our clients in larger and smaller markets in B.C., Alberta and Ontario and we are welcoming new clients in our newly opened Saskatchewan and Manitoba offices.” Like all licensed brokerages, each Zolo office offers access to active board active listings. “This access,” explains Abbasi, “along with our real-time technological approach and our company model—that allows agents to focus on customer-service rather than marketing for new leads—means we can provide home buyers and sellers from B.C. to Ontario with exceptional representation.”
The A to Z of the Zolo business model
By the end of 2017, Zolo had over 500 agents Canada wide. Part of this rapid growth and expansion meant doubling the number of agents working in B.C.
“We are starting to see agents transfer over from other brokerages because they realize how advantageous our tech-driven business model is to their success,” says Zolo-founder and West Vancouver agent, Barry Allen. “Our clients love that we can provide up-to-date data as well as much-needed context and insight about this fast-paced market,” explains Allen. It helps build trust with clients and allows Zolo agents to move nimbly in an accelerated market that demands informed action. “We provide great information that helps our customers and gives us the ability to provide the kind of answers they need.”
While the residential agent roster continues to grow—sometimes exponentially—Zolo also launched a commercial division. As of 2017 year-end, six Zolo agents focused solely on growing Zolo’s commercial real estate listings. Abbasi hopes to expand this team to 10 dedicated agents in 2018. Jezebel Pimentel, Head of Talent & Culture, is excited and continues to headhunt the perfect candidates from across Canada for this ongoing commercial real estate expansion.
Tech-nically we’re doing something right
Imagine hosting a site and an app where more than four million users start their home search each month. In 2017, the Zolo website traffic rose yet again, prompting more than 20 million properties to be viewed every 30 days. The team at Zolo wasn’t surprised. With more than 90% of buyers starting their home search online, it now pays to have a responsive, real-time website that focuses on giving buyers access to the most up-to-date listings. The Zolo team has spent the last five years building and perfecting the site—and home sellers are starting to take notice. “One of our greatest points of pride at Zolo is the number of properties that are viewed each month,” says Abbasi. “This is often a deciding factor for clients who choose to list on the platform. For sellers, this means getting an MLS listing on a platform that is built to maximize how buyers search.”
But it’s not all about online websites. Zolo’s app continues to set records, says Abbasi. Currently, the Zolo app is ranked No. 1 for real estate on both the iOs and Google Play stores. “This achievement is because of our hardworking team of developers,” says Abbasi. Despite more than 300,000 users and an average rating of 4.2, the Zolo developers are still hard at work. “The push for us in 2018 is to work on speed improvements and user experience,” explains Jason Billingsley, co-founder of Zolo.
How tweet it is
Turns out, 2017 was the year Zolo jumped into the world of media—and we are digging the atmosphere. The Zolo News portal launched and with it our more consistent contributions to Facebook and Twitter. The aim is to provide homeowners, buyers, sellers, investors and renters with information about Canadian cities, updates on real estate news and access to all things home ownership related. “We want Zolo to become your guide for understanding how to buy a home, sell a property, save your money and make smart real estate decisions,” explains Romana King, Director of Content for Zolo, “and along the way we hope to elicit a chuckle or two.”
King adds, “with over one million registered Zolo users, the need for information is there—and we are ready to deliver.”
Glancing back on 2017, it’s easy to see how important the growth is in this fast-moving real estate marketplace. Now, stay tuned for some exciting updates and news in the year to come, both online and in your home.