Controversial online brokerage shuts down

by Jennifer Paterson on 09 Jun 2015
Zoocasa, the web-based real estate brokerage, has confirmed that it's closing its doors.

In an email sent to its homebuyer and investor clients, and republished by a number of Twitter users, the company has stated that it will cease to be registered and “will be prohibited from trading in real estate as a brokerage” as of June 22, 2015.

Analysts are already suggesting that it may hint at what's to come in September this year, when the Competition Bureau decides whether sold data should be made public.

Zoocasa was launched as a brokerage in 2013, as a Rogers-affiliate. Previously, it had published listing data via real estate agents. The concept of the company was to make real estate data more accessible to the public.

However, as of February 2015, Zoocasa has stopped publishing home sale data to its site after receiving a warning from the Toronto Real Estate Board.

The letter read: “For the past two years we have had the pleasure of matching thousands of customers like you with great Realtors throughout the country. Although we have had great success, we have made the difficult decision to close down our business.”

A representative from Rogers told REP: "Rogers has made the decision to no longer continue our investment in Zoocasa as the business is no longer a fit with our overall company plan, and core areas of focus. We will close down our website and mobile app effective June 22, 2015."

Corrie Holiday, an agent with Re/Max Chay Realty, said in an interview with REP: "I'm glad its gone. It bit off more than it could chew. It didn't have a sustainable business model and it forgot about the human element of the business, which I think is more important than anything."

Darryl Mitchell, Zoocasa's broker of record, added: "[Agents] are going to say whatever they are going to say, but I'm proud of what we accomplished. We worked hard to provide quality leads, and the stats show that. That's all that matters."


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