The decision to buy, sell or rent a home is an overwhelming one. Dwelly‘s mission is to make buying and renting a home simple and affordable for every Canadian. We talked to Broker of Record (and CSI member!) Karim Elbarbary about how he has simplified this complex, thorny experience and dramatically lowered the cost of buying a home.
What is your biggest hope for Dwelly? What does the world look like if those hopes come true?
Our biggest hope at Dwelly is to create an end-to-end product that empowers any person thinking of or planning to own a home. We hope to alter the world’s perception of a Realtor from that of pressure, redundancy and rushed processes, to one of genuine support, complete transparency, informed advice, and technological advancement. The world would have more people feeling confident to eventually own a home, with no ambiguity throughout the home-buying process.
How has being a CSI member impacted Dwelly’s work so far?
Being a member of CSI has been absolutely incredible so far! We’ve had the opportunity to receive lots of insightful feedback from the community regarding their personal experiences when purchasing/renting homes in the past. We have also already helped a fellow CSI member purchase a home and are currently in the process of helping another. Joining CSI was a goal of ours, partly to have office space, but mainly so Dwelly can continue to be a people-focused and feedback-driven company. Being able to directly communicate with such an inspiring community has helped us meet that goal far more than we could have asked for.
How can CSI members (or anyone!) get involved in Dwelly?
The best part about being in the business of helping individuals move homes is that it is a universal process – almost every single person experiences it in some shape or form, whether it’s renting or buying. With that in mind, we are always looking to learn more about people’s experiences with moving homes so we can improve our own ways of addressing pain points throughout the process. In addition, our ears are always ready for feedback on our platform if you have a minute to browse through the site, drop us an email with any feedback you may have.
Aside from that, Dwelly is a growing company and we are always thinking on our feet. We’re open to collaborate on projects with fellow CSI members – some of the fields we constantly need help in are legal, financing and fund-raising, web development, design, and marketing. So if you’re a fellow member with expertise in those fields and are open to project based work please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How is Dwelly pivoting and surviving through COVID?
To preface, we’d like to acknowledge how hard this time has been for everyone. At Dwelly, we were fortunate enough that the business was built digital and remote from day one. Our whole team works remotely and we do most of our team meetings online so, in that sense, we weren’t affected much in terms of internal operations. However, on the flip side, real estate is one of the few areas of business that really require entering peoples’ homes to do showings. The entire real estate industry has had to pivot and adapt to new requirements, like COVID-19 screening forms and limitations around in-person showings.
Although we’ve always offered our users the ability to request remote video showings via FaceTime and Zoom, we’ve now pushed that forward even more. However, we’ve made sure to adhere to safety precautions when it comes to in person showings. Nevertheless, like the majority of businesses, we’ve experienced a slow down – especially during the lockdown. The pandemic has affected the typical influx of students, new immigrants as well as travel in general – all these factors have played a visible role. At the end of the day we’re happy that we were able to push through some hard times, stay afloat and continue to push the envelope in our industry. I’m lucky to have an incredible team to weather the storm with (thanks Dwelly family!).
What social/political/health/other issues is Dwelly working on?
I would say, at Dwelly, we aim to be socially innovative by solving a market inefficiency. We all hear about how real estate agents get overpaid and tend to under-deliver. We want to bring more fairness and higher value-for-money to our clients – one way we accomplish that is by offering half of our commission fees we receive as a buyer’s rebate to clients. We built our platform (with many filters and automated alerts) in a way that gives clients the power to browse and search for homes on their own time and from the comfort of their own home, rather than relying completely on us to send them options.
We consider ourselves to have a large social responsibility, since we assist people in making life-changing decisions. When you look at how many complaints go to real estate councils regarding fraud, misrepresentation, and just lack of understanding of what’s in the paperwork, it’s extremely important to us to lead with integrity. We focus on simplifying things as much as possible and being ultra transparent so that our clients can truly understand how the process works and be directly involved in their home purchase.
What impact does Dwelly have, as in, who do you serve?
Currently we serve home buyers & renters in the Greater Toronto Area. Our goal is to expand to helping Canadians across the country find their next home as seamlessly as possible. We look forward to taking our mission nationwide in the future.
Is Dwelly creating jobs at the moment?
At the moment, we have a number of fairly new team members who joined the team this year so we are not actively looking right now. However, we’re always excited to meet like-minded agents who share our values and drive. If you are or someone you know is a licensed real estate agent and would like to join us on our journey in changing real estate, please do reach out.
If CSI could be of greatest help to you, what could we do?
As mentioned, CSI has been a great help so far – the space is welcoming and inspiring, and the community is game-changing. In terms of additional features, it would be great if CSI added a specific section in the members portal where people can share new product features, designs, code, etc. where others, especially specialists in the field, can share their feedback and give tips on improvements. That way we can all build products with direct input from the community – which might end up being the end user as well. Other than that nice-to-have, this community is really more than what I could have asked for.
Are you looking for a community where you can grow? Learn how you can make change at CSI!