For a year now, my wife and I have been looking for a house to buy in Sao Paulo. In a vertical city like the one we live in, the task has been extremely frustrating. I think I've seen every available piece of real estate in the neighborhood we've selected, spoken to several agents, made offers that weren't successful.... and so far, no luck.
So, you can imagine how envious I was when I read an article on how Dutch ING Bank, in partnership with online real estate company iBlue, is trying to solve the problem. The initiative is called "WoonWaarUWilt " ("LiveWhereYouWant") and it the lets clients make an offer on houses that aren't on the market, but that they'd love to own. Potential buyers fill in an online form including their dream home's address and the initial offer they're willing to make. A mortgage consultant also determines whether the buyers would be able to finance the purchase. The bank and iBlue put together a preliminary offer that is sent to the property's current owners enquiring as to whether they'd consider selling. Making an offer is free for clients, but if the owners are interested in pursuing the offer, iBlue acts as the buyer's agent and charges a commission once the deal is done.
Finally, an innovative idea (in the sometimes painful process) of closing the deal on the ideal house.