From 3D tours to housing grant calculators, Druce Teo's Stacked Homes is helping to simplify the property market.
Buying and selling a home can be a struggle in Singapore. But for entrepreneur Druce Teo, the challenging experience inspired him to create a more user-friendly way for others to do so.
While trying to help his parents sell their old house, 28-year-old Druce was shocked that he had to fork out money just to engage an agent or to have the property listed.
"As a potential homeowner, I found those issues daunting. But as an entrepreneur, I realised they could be rectified," said the fresh graduate, who studied merchandising at the Manchester Metropolitan University.
With three friends, Druce started Stacked Homes in February this year. The property portal provides free services to help Singaporeans cut down costs when selling and buying homes.
After each seller submits a listing on the site, Druce and his team head to the house to help take photos for the listing – at no charge. The idea of being able to bypass the one or two per cent agent fee has proven itself to be attractive, and the site currently lists 159 units for sale.
Sellers also have the option of paying for additional services, like creating
a virtual tour of the home to improve the sale-ability of their property.
"By allowing clients to list their homes for free and without charging commission, they would not make a loss even if they were unable to sell their home," said the outgoing entrepreneur.
The avid football lover and his co-founders also started a CPF Housing Grant quiz to help Singaporeans find out how much assistance they would be eligible for.
"Since launching the quiz, we've had almost 2,000 responses. A number of users have commented that they are eligible for more housing grants than they initially thought," he said.
Druce demonstrating how each shot is pieced together for the 3D tour.
But starting a business is never smooth sailing, even if its intention is to make life easier for others.
"You cannot expect it to be a unicorn start-up. We set out on the venture knowing that we would not be profitable for the first few years," said Druce, whose first start-up was a business-messaging app he created in his final year in university.
Druce and his co-founders understood the priority for the business in the growing years is to increase traffic for their site.
"I'm currently relying on my savings. As long as I can support my lifestyle, I will continue with Stacked Homes," he said.
The process to capture the images for each 3D tour can take an hour to two,
depending on the size of the home, but it gives potential buyers the feeling
of exploring the property without making a trip down.
PHOTO CREDITS: YOUTH.SG/STEPHANIE SOH
Although the initial phases of running a business are difficult, Druce has not regretted his decision.
He explained: "Before entering university, I knew that I wanted to start my own business. I was aware of how challenging and unstable the path would be, so I wanted to start out young before I got married and started a family.
"My father is an entrepreneur himself and I saw the benefits of owning my own business. I have control over my future, and whether the business succeeds or fails."