Building the right start-up option
Braams is the founder of Clik Real Estate, a real estate agency based in Sydney, enabling agents to sell multi-listed property across the country.
Founded in 2008, Clik recorded revenue in excess of $3 million in the 2010-11 financial year, and there are plans to franchise the business in the near future.
But before Clik made a name for itself in real estate, Braams was plagued by debt.
“I am an ex-builder who lost everything just before the  Olympics… The introduction of GST crippled many small businesses and softened the property market,” he says.
“I lost 15 years of hard work and everything I owned in six months.”
“I was a builder developer with over $20 million worth of property to sell, but could not sell anything as I was limited to one real estate agent under an exclusive arrangement.”
“The real estate industry focuses on exclusive listing agreements rather than letting all agents sell your property.”
It was for this reason that Braams decided to set up Clik Real Estate, a property network allowing different real estate agencies to sell properties.
Real estate agents enter into the Clik agent network, where they can then join as three different types of agents.
The sourcing agent provides property for the network to sell, while the lead agent works with completed and second-hand properties.
The third type – the selling agent – enables agents from traditional shop-front businesses to work from home and sell property on the Clik network.
Clik currently has members in India, China and Singapore, in addition to some 300 members in Australia.
“The first project I used this concept on was a development of 147 apartments. We sold over $50 million worth of apartments using under 20 different members to sell the properties,” Braams says.
“Most real estate agencies ask for a marketing contribution of between 1% and 3% to market the project. Clik takes zero.”
“Instead, we lift the commission available, which allows all members to achieve acceptable commissions. In other words, no wasted marketing campaigns.”
According to Braams, Clik eliminates the glossy nature of the industry, enabling agents to focus on the task at hand.
“The real estate industry simply does not cater for real estate agents to work from home and network without dressing up into suits and ties,” Braams says.
“The Clik concept allows any real estate agent [to] work from home, sell property to anyone and not be tied to a desk.”
“Secondly, it allows each Clik community agent to manage their buyers no matter where they live, with easily distributable emailing functionality.”
While Clik is aiming the shake up at the real estate industry, Braams insists that being ahead of the pack isn’t always a good thing, particularly when you find yourself waiting for others to catch up.
“The world of the internet has not really hit real estate the way Facebook and Twitter has taken over the globe… Real estate is an industry full of veterans trying to avoid change,” Braams says.
“Unfortunately for this concept, I’ve had many of the ideas since I first got introduced to the internet in 1995 but the industry is only really ready for it now.”
“You’ve got skeptical developers – big developers are starting to look at me like, ‘we’re not ready for him’… But if I can raise the right money, I could operate everything from an iPad.”