Sci & Tech

Transforming Real Estate Deals

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Last week’s outburst by a real estate official shows how internet businesses are disrupting
Top of the form currently in dedicated real estate websites -- by a slim margin -- is
Top of the form currently in dedicated real estate websites -- by a slim margin -- is

Hessam Oqbaei, director of the Tehran Association of Real Estate Agents, said on December 6 that he would “destroy [the] Divar,” sending shockwaves through the local e-commerce industry, in what is yet another sign of an important industry at risk of becoming obsolete.

The Divar Oqbaei was referring to was, in fact,, a local listings website, which not only hosts listing for properties but cars and second-hand fridges too, among other items.

The senior realtor’s comments come as several other websites bump against their forerunners in what is becoming an endemic problem of ‘new vs old.’

 Wave of Tech Disruption

Other web internet companies to irk include Telegram Messenger, Snapp and Tap30 for overriding the traditional taxis and, which “stepped on the toes” of travel agents.

“There are 12,000 real estate agents in Tehran alone whose businesses have been threatened by the new application, but real estate companies should not be eliminated from the housing market like this,” ISNA quoted the official as saying the other week.

Consequently, following Oqbaei’s off-mentioned rants against the online listings site, he named another website which could be a great asset for people wanting to sell property.

That site is, and according to its homepage, it has dozens of local real estate agents listing their properties, but it is not unique or new.

 Internet vs. Tradition

Moreover, the comments by the industry official belie a much larger problem for the industry that continues to act as if people are in an era where the Internet is a new-found phenomenon.

It seems that for real estate agencies in the country, the process of selling/buying property has not developed like other nations. Often, the process of acquiring a property still requires budding homeowners to go to street-side bureaus selling and renting property.

 Real Estate Rankings

But Oqbaei’s newly-promoted website enters an increasingly crowded market of both local and international players.

On top of the competition, the spokesperson has to get his hordes of small realtors to update how they deal in property if they wish to remain relevant in the face of the cut-throat competition. The job has become all the more challenging due to the recession and declining purchasing power that has dealt a big blow to the real estate market not only in the sprawling capital but almost all the big cities.

According to the Internet Archive, Alounak, the real estate startup has a limited amount of views compared to its competitor.

Statistics show the site only had 15,103 views by the end of October. Interestingly, the site has been live over the past year, at least according to the global archive.

Alounak’s competition, however, is trouncing the upstart app and website. According to Google, at least the two front pages of the search giant is devoted to listings’ websites, some more successful than others.

The leader currently in dedicated real estate websites -- by a slim margin -- is with 115,970 views in October. That site is an Iran Internet Group-backed website in operation for the past several years. The company’s primary asset has been their recent tranche of a $20 million investment from Irancell which would be distributed through several companies.

In a close second is with 112,808 views in October, which according to its site has the most comprehensive list of real estate agents on its books.   Although like many old property websites in the country, it is outdated and doesn’t provide imagery for most properties.

In third place according to the statistics, is with 87,781 views in the past month. The site has issues with usability but due to its longevity has built up a large user base.

Fourth in the rankings with 85,185 hits in the previous month, is a much newer website which is friendly to mobile screens. was created by local web developers who are working with several industry players across the country.  

In fifth place in the rankings is, a joint French-Pakistani owned website which entered the market after buying the domain from a local company in May.  iHome reached  77,300 sessions in the previous month.  

Considering that the senior realtor  was trying to push his website above comprehensive listing sites like Divar and Sheypoor, shows just how far behind some organizations lag when it comes to catching up with the times.

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