Dubai’s Nomad Homes brings entire experience of buying and renting a home online

Nomad Homes has become the latest entrant to UAE’s fast-growing proptech space, with the launch of its digital real estate platform that brings the entire experience of buying and renting homes online.

Founded last year by Helen Chen and Dan Piehler, Nomad claims to be the first real estate technology platform (in the region) to exclusively serve buyers and renters, which it says is a key differentiator from traditional brokerages and portals.

It provides home seekers with search tools, virtual tours, and digital document signing to offer an end-to-end online experience.

The startup partners with local real estate brokerages to provide buyers with an inventory of curated properties.

“Nomad’s machine learning algorithm then uses each customer’s unique requirements to suggest homes on its platform along with available matches throughout Dubai. All properties are carefully reviewed for quality and accuracy to prevent any fake or duplicate information,” it said in a statement.

Helen Chen, the co-founder and CEO of Nomad Homes was previously an investor at Blackstone and Goldman Sachs. She left Stanford’s MBA program in the United States to move to Dubai and start Nomad Homes.

“Dubai is one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in the world with a massive real estate market – representing over $60 billion USD in transactions every year. Our team’s experience across Silicon Valley, Wall Street and Dubai has shown us the power of technology. We saw the opportunity to digitize the buying and renting experience,” she said speaking about her decision to launch a real estate startup in Dubai.

The statement did not share any details but Nomad has apparently raised a pre-seed from Class 5 Global, the San Francisco-based VC that invests in emerging markets and has invested in different Dubai startups including Ziina and Invygo.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no better time to introduce a fully digital experience to find your home. We’re reinventing the entire journey for our customers and are 100% dedicated to making the experience the way it should be – online, seamless, and enjoyable,” Helen added.

In addition to providing the users with different tools to make buying and renting a home easier, Nomad Homes also provides each customer with a dedicated Nomad Advisor to provide a concierge experience.

“The Nomad Advisor becomes a customer’s single point of contact, removing the need to schedule and coordinate with multiple real estate agents,” said the statement by the company.

Helen, speaking to MENAbytes confirmed that the advisors are its full-time employees, “They guide customers through the entire process – selecting the best properties, scheduling viewings, handling the paperwork, and more – regardless of how many properties they want to explore. At Nomad we incentivize our advisors differently, they are laser-focused on and rewarded for customer satisfaction.”

The startup makes money by sharing the standard commission of 2 percent for buying and 5 percent for renting a home with its partner brokerages, revealed the co-founder and CEO of Nomad Homes in a conversation with MENAbytes. She did not say how much of this stays with Nomad and how much goes to the brokerage but confirmed that the platform earns money only when a home is purchased or rented.

The users who pay this commission anyway for buying or renting a home with Nomad Homes receive a much better experience than what they would expect from an average real estate agent.

The real estate platforms like Bayut and Property Finder are among the highest valued startups in the region. Bayut’s parent company EMPG has recently become a unicorn and Property Finder’s last financing round valued it at close to $500 million last year.

But there’s still a big room to offer even better services to consumers especially by taking the transactions online.

Apart from Nomad Homes, Cafu’s parent Intelligent B is also trying to do it with its recently launched platform Urban that enables users to rent homes and apartments without having to rely on agents.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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