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June 19, 2006
Window-Shopping for Homes That Aren't For Sale
As we near the summer solstice, let's cast our eyes northward to the land of the midnight sun ... Finland! A Finnish company called Igglo has an extremely interesting concept, which is to create a kind of stock market in housing, where all houses would have a going price whether their owners want to sell them or not. I think the idea is that Igglo agents would close the sale for a modest commission once buyers and sellers had already found each other via the site. Of course, it could get annoying to non-sellers if Igglo started bombarding them with emails telling them that someone was interested in buying their not-for-sale house. Still, admit it: Even if you had no intention of selling, wouldn't you like to know what your house would fetch?
Here's a link to the Igglo website. It will probably be completely unintelligible to you if your education in Finnish is as unfinnished as mine. Therefore I have included links to other blogs in English that talk about Igglo.
Springwise.com, a Dutch-based website that tracks entrepreneurial ideas, thinks Igglo is pretty cool.
Seattle-based Redfin, an online real estate brokerage, says it filed for a U.S. patent on the same concept last year. Here's what CEO Glenn Kelman says about Igglo in his blog:
Why it seems like a good idea for Redfin here in the U.S.: it's uniquely compelling for home-buyers, addictive for home-owners, disruptive for traditional realtors, and a little crazy. We expect the Finns to go hog-wild for this (if Finns go hog-wild for anything), and think Americans might too.
And here's another Finnish-based blog on Igglo that's a little less positive. (Scroll down to find the item.) The blogger says, "My experience tells that the housing market is a services market all over the place. You simply cannot commodify it. And you don’t market services through spamming."
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London property owners are already bombarded by estate agents who say they have chain-free cash buyers; it doesn't seem to cause a flood of sales.
Posted by: Rod Dowler at November 26, 2006 06:30 PM