A Kamloops entrepreneur has more than 50,000 listings on his real estate website and he’s only getting started.
David Zirnhelt founded Snap Up Real Estate less than a year ago with the objective of developing over time the go-to source for buying and selling property, the largest and most comprehensive real estate listings in the country.
“What we really want to do is create a new option,” Zirnhelt said. “Our goal is to become a new standard source of information for real estate in Canada.”
His goal as CEO is to be cash-flow positive within the next six months and to accelerate the service from there. Current listings at www.snapuprealestate.ca represent an initial integration with the Canadian Real Estate Association listings. Zirnhelt also wants to integrate his service with private sellers and real estate developers.
Snap Up collects the information people need for buying a new home into a single simple system. They’re not looking to disrupt realtors, but to incorporate real estate agents, private sellers and property developers, Zirnhelt said. All of the listings that a buyers might want to compare as they’re shopping for a home are in one place. It’s free for anyone to list with the online service.
Currently, the website offers 876 Kamloops properties for sale and 44 rentals. Regionally, it features close to 1,700 properties for sale.
The CEO is in discussions with B.C. Assessment to add property assessments to the listings, something not currently available beyond the agency’s website. He also plans to add historical transaction data.
“This would give the consumer a lot more information to make their real estate buying decisions,” he said.
Zirnhelt is a TRU business graduate who remained in Kamloops to found Wholesale Furniture Brokers. He sold his shares in that enterprise three years ago to his partner.
“I’ve always had this real estate concept looming in the back of my mind.”
Snap Up Real Estate has been a part of the Venture Acceleration Program since July 2015. Zirnhelt has worked with John Zubak, executive-in-residence at Kamloops Innovation, to develop his business. As part of its participation in the program, Snap Up Real Estate also had the opportunity to attend the #BCTECH Summit in January.
“Just like a lot of startups, we’ve had a bit of a technical challenge just to get the pace moving.”
Giving back to community is more than a peripheral concept for the company
Snap Up Real Estate’s ambition is less of a campaign and more of a company value. The objective is to give half of their profits to worthy causes.
Their About website page has a social responsibility section promoting the Malala Fund and Kiva—organizations they’re currently supporting.
“When we pledge to give 50 percent to worthy causes, a part of that is to just be a leader in sustainability and to prove to other businesses that you can give 50 percent of your profit back to your communities. Sustainability is about balance and giving back, not about growing as large as possible, either for a business or for society in general.”
Zirnhelt is donating his time to a Masters of Business Administration class at his alma mater. Paired in 21 teams, students will participate in a consulting project for Snap Up Real Estate.
“I’m hoping to get a few of them working on the social impact side of our business,” Zirnhelt said. “We’re looking to create an entire social impact program.”