Istvan Fehervari on The Art of Monetizing What You Love
Istvan Fehervari is Founder and CEO of Homebourse and is an inspirational business leader who has learned how to monetize doing what they love. They took some time out to share their insights with Rob Barratt, Co-Founder of The Industry Leaders.
Can you begin by telling our audience a little about yourself, your business, and what led you to pursue your particular passion as a profession?
Thank you for having me today. My journey into this field started as a personal passion. Real estate has always fascinated me, not just as a job but as a genuine interest. Combining this passion with my background as a real estate lawyer, I saw an opportunity to create something unique that could fulfill an existing need on the market. Homebourse is the first online real estate marketplace platform where buying and selling properties is just a few clicks away.
I'm curious to know, what was the defining moment that made you realize that this passion could actually become a business? How did you identify the unique value it could bring to others?
The defining moment occurred when I had this 'eureka' epiphany that came to me in a dream. I woke my wife instantly, and we couldn't get a minute of sleep; we just discussed this idea. This happened at a time when I saw the world rapidly shifting online, especially in the wake of the challenges posed by COVID-19. I identified a need for a platform to streamline property transactions and online showings. This was the turning point when I realized my passion could create something new in the real estate industry.
Every entrepreneur faces obstacles, especially when turning a passion into a business. Can you share some of the initial challenges you encountered and how you overcame them?
Like any entrepreneur, we faced the typical initial challenges, such as building a user base and gaining trust. This was especially challenging because many people needed help to imagine how real estate could be bought and sold online. Education became a significant part of our communication strategy. Additionally, we had to address the trust issue of buying a property without physically seeing it. To tackle these challenges, we introduced services like online showings and an 8-day free cancellation policy. Our model prioritizes the first person to click on a property, ensuring they get all the great deals. It's also been a challenge to reach out to as many partners as possible on the B2B side and spread the word among potential users. Unlike the common startup problem of limited marketing resources, our situation is more like a chicken-and-egg problem – we need to attract buyers and sellers to show others the value of our platform. But we thrive on challenges!
Monetizing a passion requires a solid business model. Can you walk us through how you developed yours, and the key factors that make it successful?
Since we are just launching our platform, time will tell if it's successful, but we've made multiple rounds of cautious amendments to make it feasible. We've engaged with numerous agents, brokers, and real estate professionals, analyzed market data, and refined our model based on those insights. The initial model was much more complex, but, as it usually goes, we simplified it to its essence. We charge a 1% service fee, deducted from the asking price, and it's entirely success-based. Listing on Homebourse is completely free of charge. Additionally, we offer add-ons like live tours and property inspections, and we plan to introduce some additional advertising features for sellers in the near future.
Many people worry that monetizing their passion may take the joy out of it. How have you managed to balance the business aspects with staying true to what you love?
It's a valid concern that monetizing your passion can take away the joy. However, I've balanced this by staying true to my initial vision. We've embedded our core values of convenience, transparency, and user-centricity into every aspect of the business. This way, I still find immense satisfaction in what I do.
As your business grew, what strategies did you employ to scale it while maintaining the core values and essence of what made it special in the first place?
While Homebourse is relatively new to the field and we can't yet share extensive experience in high-level scaling, our approach has involved forming strategic partnerships and investing in technology. We've established vital alliances with our vendors, including our developer team and partner agencies. Throughout this growth, we've been meticulous in upholding our core values. Additionally, we've fostered a culture of innovation and adaptability among our team members, ensuring that the essence of what makes us special remains intact.
Your journey is truly inspiring. What key insights or pieces of advice would you offer to someone looking to turn their passion into profit?
For those seeking to transform their passion into profit, I recommend starting by deeply understanding your market and identifying a unique approach. Our journey began with a fundamental idea rooted in the legal perspective of creating legally binding online offers, and it has evolved to make us more of a tech company than I ever imagined. Stay true to your values, remain adaptable, and never cease learning. While the journey may present challenges, the rewards are worth it. And never hesitate to seek advice and feedback.
Reflecting on your journey so far, what are you most proud of? What future developments or projects are you excited about in your business?
The market will measure the value of our efforts once our campaigns reach their peaks and we can direct enough people to our platform for testing. However, until then, I'll continue to take pride in the platform, its model, appearance, and concept, and the positive feedback we receive daily from real estate professionals. I will be especially proud if we can significantly simplify real estate transactions and make them accessible globally. We are excited to expand our international reach and enhance user experiences through innovative technology.
For those interested in learning more about your journey or connecting with your business, how can they get in touch or follow your work?
You can follow us and learn more about our work on our website at homebourse.com. Additionally, you can connect with us on Instagram @homebourse_ and Facebook @homebourse