Startup

Inside Nomad Homes' Mission to Reshape Real Estate

In an interview with Inc. Arabia, Helen Chen, the founder and CEO of Nomad Homes, explores the platform’s motivations and challenges, and the significant impact it aims to bring to the real estate market.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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In a transformative journey that seeks to redefine the home buying and selling experience, Nomad Homes, a software-enabled marketplace for residential real estate in Europe and the Middle East, is making waves. Currently operational in four markets including Dubai, France, Spain, and Portugal, Nomad Homes stands as a pioneer in challenging the traditional norms of the real estate industry.

The proptech startup was founded in 2019 by Helen Chen, Damien Drap, and Dan Piehler in Dubai. By October of 2023, Nomad Homes had raised $20 million in funding with a focus on growth, building out its AI-driven co-pilot for buyers, and launching Nomad Homes Private Client.

Co-founder Helen Chen tells us that the platform is inspired by the belief that buyers and sellers deserve separate representation. She explains that separate representation ensures fairness and transparency in real estate transactions. "In real estate, there's a fundamental conflict of interest when a single agent represents both the buyer and the seller. It's akin to having one coach for two opposing football teams--it simply doesn't work," says Chen.

Nomad Homes strives to bring not just separate representation but also to foster trust and collaboration infrastructure among real estate agents.

"Our goal is to revolutionize the real estate industry by introducing fairness and transparency. Buyers and sellers deserve better than what the current system offers," Chen says.

A Personal Journey

Chen’s journey into real estate is deeply personal. With a background as an investor and experience at Blackstone, the world's largest alternative asset manager, Chen’s interest in real estate was cultivated from a young age.

Her decision to drop out of Stanford Business School and start Nomad Homes reflects her passion for transforming the industry.

"Real estate has always been a part of my life. My parents, like many Chinese families, loved to invest in real estate, and that influence shaped my perspective. Nomad Homes is my way of giving back and reshaping an industry that I'm truly passionate about," Chen adds.

Nomad Homes brings a dual-pronged approach to the market with its products: Nomad Agent and the AI Co-Pilot for Buyers.

Nomad Agent is the vertical software that provides agents with an infrastructure for collaboration. It gives agents the tools to streamline their processes, enrich listings, and collaborate effectively, creating a more efficient and transparent real estate ecosystem.

On the buyer's side, Nomad Homes has an AI-powered co-pilot, which gives buyers a personalized experience, serving as a single point of contact for curated property suggestions that align with the buyer's criteria. It goes beyond basic prompts, providing specific messages and information to enhance the buyer's journey.

"Our AI Co-Pilot is not just about automation; it's about supercharging the real estate experience for buyers. We aim to provide curated suggestions that match the unique needs of each buyer," Chen explains.

Nomad Homes operates on a success-based business model, aligning its interests with both buyers and agents. Chen tells us that customers only incur costs when they conduct a successful transaction, making it crucial for Nomad Homes to focus on delivering results and a positive customer experience.

"AI is a powerful tool that enhances efficiency, but human interaction remains at the core of real estate transactions. Our goal is to empower agents with tools that make their jobs more efficient," says Chen.

Nomad Homes' journey has been marked by resilience, navigating through a pandemic, tech boom, tech bust, and geopolitical challenges. Despite market dynamics, Nomad Homes has experienced significant growth, recently raising $20 million in funding and expanding its global team to 100 members.

"As a CEO and founder, resilience is about refusing to lose. It's about doing everything it takes to overcome challenges, build a successful company, and focus on our mission," Chen says.

Nomad Homes identifies current market trends, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the growing importance of spacious properties due to increased remote work. Chen notes the surge in demand for villas in Dubai as people seek homes with dedicated office spaces.

"Residential real estate has proven to be incredibly resilient. As the world changes, so do the needs of homebuyers. We're adapting to these trends and continuously innovating to provide the best possible experience for our clients," says Chen.

As Nomad Homes continues to reshape the real estate landscape, its commitment to separate representation, trust, and technological integration sets a new standard for the home-buying experience.

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