Toronto’s real estate market is a zoo.
Enter CondoNow and its CEO Frank Guido. With 24 years in the real estate market and a hot new startup, Guido wants to change all that. We spoke to him about how he and his company are planning to help consumers navigate Toronto’s real estate market.
In four sentences of less, tell us who you are and what you do.
I’m the CEO of Aareas Interactive and CondoNow. I’ve worked in the real estate industry for 24 years, and I’ve always aimed to create the best consumer experience when it comes to buying real estate.
Give us the elevator pitch for CondoNow.
CondoNow is a platform designed to help consumers easily find and search for new condos in and around Toronto and the GTA. Users can search for different factors like walkability and transit scores, and then compare those factors between different sets of condos. They can look at differences between amenities. fees, taxes and floor plans. It’s about making it really easy and simple for the consumer to find and search for a condo.
There are as many as 550 condos available to choose from at any one point in the sales process. That’s an overwhelming amount of projects for consumers to look through; in fact, it’s even an overwhelming amount for us to try aggregate and organize.
The best part of platform is that the information is unbiased. We’re not a brokerage, we’re not a developer and we’re not an agent; instead, it’s our job is to give real estate buyers the information they want in a format that is easy to digest and is current.
Where did the idea for the platform come from?
Aareas Interactive has been working with developers and builders for a long time. When it comes to real estate, I’ve always tried to think outside of the box. Our goal has always been to try to make the customer experience as easy as possible. Over the years, we’ve developed virtual tours, interactive kiosks and a completely paperless transaction process.
But the issue with everything we had created in the past was that it wasn’t working in unison. We needed to find a way to bridge all services together together, and that’s where the idea for CondoNow came from.
There was a lack of real information when it came to the condo market. The information was out there, of course, but it was all dispersed and biased. So we decided to create an unbiased platform like Expedia.
If you’ve ever booked a flight on Expedia, you know how easy they make it. You input the information that’s important to you—departure time, price, layovers and anything else—and it gives you a list of all the flights and airlines that fit those parameters, making it easy to compare and decide what option is perfect for you.
What’s been the biggest challenge building this startup?
I think the biggest challenge has been creating awareness.
We’re growing rapidly: we already have thousands of users using the website on a daily basis. And the consumers that have used the website know that it’s a great new way to search and purchase a condo. Now, it’s about getting even more people to realize that.
Our goal is to expand across North America. We’re aiming to be in every major city across Canada and the United States.
The reason we started in Toronto is because Toronto is arguably the biggest condo market in the world, and it’s also our backyard.
That said, real estate markets are very regional: you have to make adjustments based on the region you’re operating in. We also don’t want to limit ourselves to condos. We want people find rentals, for instance.
Basically, we want to create a one stop shopping experience when it comes to real estate.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Is there a creative Torontonian you would like to see profiled? Email Igor Bonifacic at igor[at]torontostandard[dot com] to suggest someone.
Igor Bonifacic is the managing editor of Toronto Standard. Follow him on Twitter.