Soran Hamawandi was frustrated every time he came across a property advertised in Iraq. The advert either didn’t mention the price, floor plan, or location.
He wondered how he could apply his entrepreneurial experience, having founded two previous startups, to address the issue of information asymmetry that customers in Iraq encountered with real estate platforms and agents.
It was increasingly obvious that the real estate market in Iraq faced a problem with information accessibility. Interest in properties was growing with the value of the real estate market in Iraq projected to reach $1.32 trillion in 2028, at an annual growth rate of 4.43%. However, people relied on social media platforms, making the real estate labour listings fragmented and lacking comprehensive data. Some female customers in Iraq found the experience of viewing a property alone uncomfortable, further complicating their accessibility to information for informed buy or rent decisions.
One Platform for Multi-city Real Estate Properties
Having specialised in telecommunications, Soran was determined to revolutionise the real estate market. He envisioned a platform that would simplify the process of searching properties. This vision led him to create Homele, a real estate marketplace platform with a customer-centric approach and automated processes. His vision was to create a platform that is intuitive and that can be used to access properties easily from within or outside Iraq.
Customers can effortlessly explore the platform to discover suitable properties and access a range of data including virtual, 360 degree property tours to eliminate the need for multiple physical visits. Each property undergoes an in-person check by a Homele quality control officer, guaranteeing that the platform’s data accurately mirrors the true nature of the property.
For the past three years since founding Homele, we have identified a number of challenges property seekers experience in Iraq. One of these is the difficulty of finding the desired property. Here, we developed an AI-based search engine that allows property seekers to find properties in less time, experiencing a smoother property-finding journey as well as the ability to ask questions to access options on the best place to rent, best agents on the app, the best projects on the app, and more.Soran Hamawandi, CEO of Homele
A Platform that Works for Real Estate Developers
Real estate companies in Iraq are still paper-based and do not use software to track expenses, issue digital contracts or track their sales pipeline. Those that did were using an American or British CRM that did not align with the Iraqi real estate market.
Homele’s in-house team developed a custom-made CRM called H-ERP. Real estate offices can use H-ERP to manage accounts, online contracts, track expenses and assign agents. Without any marketing or promotion of the system, H-ERP is currently operational in over 120 real estate offices, 300 branches and 700 agents and brokers.
Since its official launch three years ago, the Homele app has gained significant traction. It has listed over 30,000 properties, boasts over 700,000 downloads, 1,800 agents and brokers and over 700 real estate offices. By incorporating QR codes for digital processes, Homele reduces the necessity for printed materials and also encourages environment-friendly measures, in alignment with their commitment to sustainable and responsible use of resources.
Soran and his team hope that Homele will continue to pioneer in the real estate industry, being the first application in Iraq to include AI-enabled features to streamline real estate searches and transactions.
The app currently allows property seekers to ask questions on where to rent, who to contact as an agent, and what best projects to look out for. Homele GPT, an AI-chat search-based function will allow users to use AI to find properties to rent or buy in Iraq, setting a new standard for property searches in the country.
This is the first phase of the search engine, whilst another version will offer data on wider aspects of real estate landscape and can answer more complex questions on where to best invest in Erbil to rent or where to find a project that is strategically located.
Behind the scenes, the Homele team is tirelessly working to ensure that the platform remains user-friendly and intuitive. Their primary objective is to enhance the experience of property buying and selling with digital solutions.
Looking for a home? The Homele platform can be downloaded here.