- Co-founders of the Live Exclusively Miami app are taking their idea on the road at the upcoming Sotheby's International Global Networking Event with hopes of applying it nationally and internationally.
Even after collecting a few bruises from Hurricane Irma, the siren calls of Miami’s palm trees, beaches, nightlife and real estate remain as enchanting as ever. A city so alluring suffers no shortage of high-end property, but in certain niche markets, the listing data is only available in bits and pieces, and it can be a time-consuming task to compare and contrast the vast selection of inventory.
In an effort to solve this issue, Nathaniel Crawford, Seth Kaufman and Andrea Morgan of One Sotheby’s International Realty in Aventura created Live Exclusively Miami — an app that provides buyers and agents with information about a curated collection of new and pre-construction apartment buildings in Miami, all in the $1 million plus range.
Crawford, who has a background in marketing, explained the appeal of Live Exclusively Miami, which launched in January: “The idea of being able to take fragmented information from a real estate space and put it all in one place is very compelling to potential buyers and agents. This app was born out of my necessity to get all the information in one place without going to a bunch of Dropbox links,” he said.
The three co-founders who have innovated their way to an explosion of new business now seek international expansion. On September 25, they’ll share Live Exclusively at Sotheby’s International Realty’s (SIR) Global Networking Event with the intention of sharing it with SIR brokers in other cities (perhaps in exchange for referrals to start) and letting the world know their next stop: Everywhere.
About the app
Live Exclusively Miami helps both buyers and buyer’s agents find and compare luxury high-rise properties soon-to-be or newly built. Its user interface is clean, properties can be marked as favorites and shared, and users can search by location, keyword and even interior designer.
The team works hard to curate floor plans, renderings and high-res photography from developers to help buyers learn as much as they can before tapping the “call now” button to reach a member of the Live Exclusively team.
Users can schedule showings through the app and do side-by-side comparisons of listings, and the app also uses push notifications to alert nearby buyers of open houses and new listings.
“My job is to know what matters to you — what are the most compelling features. Then when you come in, we get a little more information from you. We can talk about other projects, other buildings,” explained Crawford.
“It takes the hassle away,” said Kaufman. “For buyers and agents, it’s user friendly. It gets them information at their fingertips that they want to see. They can reach out when they are ready and know their price point.”
So, what’s the value proposition for developers? With the app, they can identify buyers and agents. Agents are given direct access to information from developers. And from the buyer side, it’s much more transaction-based, generating leads, said Kaufman.
When your goal is to be the top team in a highly specific segment of your market, this is the kind of marketing tactic that will earn you that designation, wrote Inman tech reviewer Craig Rowe in sharing his take on the app.
Quadrupling your business with the app
For Crawford and his Exclusively Live team of five agents at ONE Sotheby’s Aventura, the app has quadrupled business in lead flow alone.
“We’ve generated over 2,000 leads this year,” he said. “Of those, 215 are qualified buyers (financing or cash) that have specified a budget timeline and area for their purchase. The other leads are a mixture of people who are just looking right now or are undecided about price, location or timeline. I expect we’ll be over 5000 leads by year end.”
With a lead flow as robust as his, Crawford stresses the importance of adequate manpower and distribution among the team. “I’ve got different agents running different things,” he said. For instance, he has a husband and wife team of agents who speak Portuguese, so they work on Brazilian-targeted ad campaigns.
Naturally, the marketing campaign depends on the profile of the buyer: “If we are targeting men over 45 that like golf, they are more likely to be on Facebook or Instagram,” said Crawford.
In addition to his agents, Crawford has a team of 10 administrative and marketing pros holding up the back end. He also works with data analyst Damon Greene and tech entrepreneur Tommie Powers — the company’s data consultant.
Crawford and Powers spoke together about the app at ICSF 2017. Powers, well known in Silicon Valley, helps Crawford interpret relevant market data, which is necessary for designing ad campaigns that direct people to projects on the app.
You’ve got to be able to step back and look at the data to know where those buyers are coming from, according to Crawford. That’s what will get the company where it wants to be. Agents don’t have the patience or resources needed to just step back, throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. “We say, let’s take information in and see what’s going on, then decide where to run ads,” Crawford said.
Sharing the app with other Sotheby’s markets
When the app launched in January, Crawford, Kaufman and Morgan were hanging their coats at Turnberry International Realty, a company of 150 agents. When One Sotheby’s International Realty bought them out in June, the app co-founders were welcomed into a much larger network.
Now part of an international company, they have a whole world of options when it comes to expansion, and they plan to share the app with other areas. Their marketing and data science team is prepared to help brokers in other cities with ad campaigns to complement the app, and they are looking forward to introducing it to others at the upcoming Sotheby’s International Global Networking Event being held in Las Vegas from September 25 to 27.
Crawford has his sights set on New York City, Atlanta, Los Angles and Chicago. “We want to start rolling it out — we can prove we have done it here,” he said.
While he agrees that the Big Apple is a smart move forward, Kaufman is thinking on a more international level and wants to see the app in cities across the world: “We’d love to earmark the fastest growing ones. In Toronto, they are seeing amazing growth,” he said. And he has no trouble envisaging a Live Exclusively Dubai thanks to the Sotheby’s connection.
The three app co-founders will partner with Sotheby’s professionals who have high-end market clientele and a solid backend for managing lead flow. The app would be set up on a referral basis among selected Sotheby’s offices.
“We want to make this the go-to lead generation machine, which we have been doing on a hyper-local level and been very successful with,” said Kaufman.
First stop: The city so nice, they named it twice
While Dubai may be in the cards, the founders expect to first kick things off in New York. In fact, they have a Live Exclusively New York app ready.
The city has no MLS and the information there is very fractured, which makes it especially well-suited as the next market, said Crawford. “With a Live Exclusively app, all the pre-constructed apartment information would be in one place for buyers and agents.”
Crawford’s marketing team plans to work with the NYC partner to help them interpret data and put together ad campaigns for relevant buyer groups.
Not every city will need an app for upmarket apartment buildings; the Live Exclusively app can be applied to other types of property. Crawford, who has Georgia connections, could see a need for a single-family home app in Atlanta, for instance.
Crawford and his team can also take those data analysis skills and gather information such as MLS data and tax data to determine who is buying where, or reveal different value levels in certain neighborhoods.
“The app itself aggregates properties, but the marketing machine we have around the app — the skill sets for specific properties — we can take those skill sets and use them in any market. As long as we have the data, we can ‘nuance’ Live Exclusively,” said Crawford.
“We could create a new app for a luxury rental market,” suggested Kaufman. “With the Houzz app, you have beautiful pictures of interiors and price tags. We can do the same with interior designers so they get mentioned through the app. We can add blinds, sofas in our images, while people are viewing luxury properties.”
“There are many different avenues for us to go in,” he added.