Buying, selling, renting and listing a home is too complicated. Rila, a new mobile real estate app wants to flip that reality on its head.
Just launched, Rila makes this process as easy as Instagram—a platform that’s accessible, informative, interactive and viral. The responsive social media-based app offers a wide variety of crowdsourced, on-and-off-market listings while encouraging engagement, networking, and lifestyle matching.
On Rila, verified agents can list their open-house properties in mere minutes by uploading original photos, sharing content, and connecting buyers, sellers and renters—all for free. Any buyer who clicks on the post and contacts the agent who authored it, becomes a lead. Rila is hyped as “a lead-generating app for agents and consumers—where homes find you.”
Newly available in the IOS store (compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPad touch), Rila goes millennial as a community-powered realty assistant. The app is 100% crowdsourced content. It has a social-inspired user interface, and enables unrestricted communication, posting and feedback by agents, buyers and sellers. It allows the community to collaborate, connect and control the conversation.
“Since the app’s content is crowdsourced, and anyone can add viable content to a listing (comment, share, like, etc.), the buyer has access to data and information not found anywhere else,” says Ben Bacal, Rila co-creator and longtime real estate agent. “We’re providing a platform where “water cooler” type of information can be collected and shared. We feel this type of authentic, informal information is extremely helpful to buyers looking for a home that fits their lifestyle and situation.”
Engineered for buyer transparency and realtor empowerment, the app enables browsing for homes by neighborhood through an Instagram-style discovery feed, including properties not seen on other portals. Rila is trailblazing a new path as a market disruptor, bucking a system dominated by big brokerage houses and pricey real estate portals like MLS (Multiple Listing Service), Zillow, realtor.com, Redfin, etc.
“Our launch represents a symbolic gesture of rebellion against the status quo, against total control over data and information, against antiquated systems that have remained virtually unchanged for decades,” says Bacal.
In other words, the real estate game is rigged in favor of big ticket real estate celebrities—the Million Dollar Listers, the Property Bros, the Flippers and Floppers. Brokerages funnel huge resources and favorable splits to the big agents, leaving the others to fight for crumbs, according to Bacal.
“The current game is most definitely rigged in favor of those with the most resources, brand awareness and overall marketing muscle,” says Bacal. “This means a new agent is forced to join a large brokerage in order to have a chance at success, which nullifies the ability of a newcomer or someone with little resources to break out on their own.”
Bacal says Rila unshackles agents who feel squeezed by ‘data monopoly’ platforms (MLS, Zillow, Redfin, etc.) and big brokerages—allowing them to regain control their businesses, clientele and social media presence. It helps them generate leads, and grow clientele without paying exorbitant fees to portals.
Technology hasn’t exactly been a realtor’s best friend. Despite hard work and hustle, too many struggling to even make $40,000 a year, says Bacal, who thinks agents are being devalued intentionally.
“We believe agents are, and should always be, value-added participants of the buying and selling process, ” says Bacal. “So we set out to develop technology that allows agents to get in the game for free. Our goal is to create a robust, open, global marketplace where any real estate agent, regardless of their level of resources, can make as much money as they desire. Rila makes it easy for brokers to expand their circle and put the power of their career back in their hands.”
Fresh off a recent $1 million investment, Rila is currently functional for Los Angeles properties, with an anticipated future rollout in other cities and states. Future in-app purchase options are also planned. Bacal is braced for any backlash by taking on the big boys.
“What did people say about the ABA, the USFL or the Arena Football League,” says Bacal. “How has Big Oil responded to alternative sources of energy? We fully understand the large behemoths will utilize their might and political influence to significantly mitigate our impact on the industry, but we will do everything we can to offer consumers a new way to discover homes, and agents a more affordable way to find leads.”