Investorist uses tech to sell Miami luxe | Crain's

Investorist uses tech to sell Miami luxe

500 Brickell condominium in Miami's Brickell neighborhood. Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

Selling Miami's most luxurious properties hasn't exactly been easy in the last year. The devaluation of foreign currencies across Latin America has tightened buyers' pockets and sent the luxury market plummeting. Sales have fallen steadily since October, when the market reported a 30 percent decline in luxury condo sales.

Real estate platform Investorist thinks their technology can turn that around. A business-to-business connective platform that pairs large brokerage firms with financial planners and migration specialists who service buyers looking for properties in international markets.

"Our service is like for the real estate community," said Josh Cunningham, vice president and head of sales for Investorist's Miami division. "Everyone using the platform has been qualified by us."

Rather than marketing direct to consumers, Investorist invites advisors to scope out the site and make connections with developers selling new luxury condominium projects. Through the platform, advisors have direct access to brokers and developers of these projects, so they can ask questions and even make reservations on properties. Advisors then fill in their prospective buyers on the most investment-worthy projects, bridging the gap between end-user and developer. Investorist currently has about 6,500 advisors using its platform for scouting new luxury condo projects, compared to about 800 developers and brokers peddling their projects.

Investorist, which will lead its America division out of Miami, is relatively new to the local market, but it's already attracted the attention of one of Miami's largest real estate brokerage firms.

"We got involved because Cervera is making a significant initiative to Miami for the agent real estate buy-in, particularly with buyers in China," said Jesse Ottley, the president of the development division at Cervera Real Estate. "We like Investorist because it's a B2B platform, and dealing with international consumers often means there's a major cultural difference. Investorist adds a degree of professionalism."

Cunningham said that Investorist is especially attractive for sellers who don't have a ton of experience in a particular market. " Our platform is kind of like a virtual road show," he said. "How do you know your project will resonate in Turkey, China or the UK? You don't. Instead of sending the developer to the UK to gather hard data, we connect them with the hard data via the brokers before they ever have to go there."

Investorist also encourages sellers and developers to broker face-to-face meetings whenever possible, often facilitating those meetings for their partners. Doing so gives them the opportunity to sell the project's investment worthiness. "One of the things we liked about Investorist is that it's not solely in the digital realm," said Ottley. "I went to China for nine days, and every 45 minutes I had a different broker sitting in front of me who had a track record of sales. And that quantifies Investorist's outreach capabilities."

Valuated at over $30 million, Investorist earns revenue by charging advisors a monthly subscription fee of $99 per month. Sellers also pay Investorist to list their luxury condo projects, and those rates are tiered based on the level of exposure sought. Company executives are confident that Miami is the perfect seat for its Americas business, despite a recent slowdown in luxury condo sales. In fact, Investorist thinks they can bring local luxury projects out of their sales funk.

"I believe that there's a really good space for Miami to do a lot more marketing to Asia," said Cunningham. "Miami right now is heavily geared toward the Latin American market which from all accounts has slowed down, but what I think brokers are doing now is going to other markets where they have the greatest opportunity to educate those markets."


March 8, 2017 - 11:15am