Window-Shopping for Homes That Aren't For Sale

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 19, 2006

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As we near the summer solstice, let’s cast our eyes northward to the land of the midnight sun … Finland! A Finnish company called Igglo has an extremely interesting concept, which is to create a kind of stock market in housing, where all houses would have a going price whether their owners want to sell them or not. I think the idea is that Igglo agents would close the sale for a modest commission once buyers and sellers had already found each other via the site. Of course, it could get annoying to non-sellers if Igglo started bombarding them with emails telling them that someone was interested in buying their not-for-sale house. Still, admit it: Even if you had no intention of selling, wouldn’t you like to know what your house would fetch?

Here's a link to the Igglo website. It will probably be completely unintelligible to you if your education in Finnish is as unfinnished as mine. Therefore I have included links to other blogs in English that talk about Igglo.

Springwise.com, a Dutch-based website that tracks entrepreneurial ideas, thinks Igglo is pretty cool.

Seattle-based Redfin, an online real estate brokerage, says it filed for a U.S. patent on the same concept last year. Here's what CEO Glenn Kelman says about Igglo in his blog:

Why it seems like a good idea for Redfin here in the U.S.: it's uniquely compelling for home-buyers, addictive for home-owners, disruptive for traditional realtors, and a little crazy. We expect the Finns to go hog-wild for this (if Finns go hog-wild for anything), and think Americans might too.

And here's another Finnish-based blog on Igglo that's a little less positive. (Scroll down to find the item.) The blogger says, "My experience tells that the housing market is a services market all over the place. You simply cannot commodify it. And you don’t market services through spamming."

Reader Comments

Rod Dowler

November 26, 2006 6:30 PM

London property owners are already bombarded by estate agents who say they have chain-free cash buyers; it doesn't seem to cause a flood of sales.

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About

BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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