This realtors offers homes not houses
Jeon Myeong-hee, a realtor and the head of Byeoljib Real Estate Agency, thought the way houses are traded is based way too much on price and location and that there needs to be more sentimental approaches.
Byeoljib Real Estate Agency was formerly known as Home Show Ping Real Estate Agency.
Thus, Jeon began looking for houses with unique features and stories to tell. For example, when she found a house with many built-in bookshelves and tables, Jeon dubbed it “the right fit for those who want to stay close to books.”
Having majored in architecture in college, Jeon, 38, stumbled upon the idea of such a service when she took part in a city redevelopment project in Gongdeok-dong organized by Mapo District in western Seoul. There, she came to know Tokyo R Real Estate.
Tokyo R Real Estate is an online real estate select shop based in Tokyo. Unlike other real estate agencies, which often prefer brand-new or fully furnished houses, Tokyo R offers alternatives.
The Japanese company lists vintage houses, or houses suitable for those who raise pets. Houses with high ceilings or houses that are good for renovation are grouped together. By rediscovering certain types of houses, which are less preferred by conventional real estate agencies, Tokyo R creates new standards for real estate.
Being fascinated by the philosophy of Tokyo R, Jeon flew to Tokyo to ask tips from Hayashi Atsumi, the head of Tokyo R. As Atsumi advised, Jeon obtained a certificate needed to become a realtor and landed a job at a local real estate agency. She worked there for two years.
Jeon felt the amount of information provided by local real estate agencies was not enough and needed to be more varied and informative.
That is mainly because houses are viewed as an investment or asset rather than being considered as homes.
People who are in search of houses can’t get information about the atmosphere of each home or the surrounding location under the current system, according to Jeon.
Jeon’s agency puts emphasis on what experiences a house can present to its tenants. Therefore, most of Jeon’s offerings are houses designed by architects rather than being cookie-cutter apartment buildings.
The creations of architects meet Jeon’s standards for a good house because the architects' main focus is the quality of life that a home can provide.
“I endeavor to find a house that matches well with a tenant’s personality,” said Jeon.
Jeon’s competitiveness comes from discovering quality houses. In order to do that, she often visits websites of architecture firms and catches up with their ongoing projects.
“Instead of using difficult terminology or hard-to-understand floor plans, I try to introduce the hidden charms of each house in a casual and easy manner.”
She also refrains from taking photographs with wide-angle lenses because the lenses might distort images.
Most of Jeon’s customers are single or two-member households who are aged between 25 and 35. “I was quite surprised to see many of my customers were ordinary people who are not working in architecture or design.”
Since Jeon’s business is a one-man agency, she takes care of every procedure from taking photographs of houses to uploading images and information onto the website and greeting guests.
She now mainly introduces rental houses designed by architects but plans to upload more offerings such as old houses that are good for renovation.
“I want to build a platform where architects, interior designers, home seekers and landlords can be connected with the medium of good houses.”
BY YOO JI-YOEN [firstname.lastname@example.org]