Regional Startups 4 MIN READ

Home ownership has long been a key component of the great Australian dream, but it’s seemingly slipping out of the reach of more Australians every day. The median house price in Sydney long surpassed the $1 million mark, and rental affordability isn’t great either.

The latest Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot found that of 67,000 properties surveyed, just 21 properties across the whole of Australia were affordable – with ‘affordable’ defined as rent making up less than 30 percent of the household income – for a single person living on the Newstart allowance.

Mackay husband and wife team Zac and Alisha Goodman, who both worked in banking, have been developing an app they believe could be of help for those who dream of buying, Brixn.

The app wants to help those starting on the long, often lonely road to homeownership feel supported and help more people believe it’s achievable by connecting them to the right resources at the right time. At its core, Brixn wants to help connect users to information; the process of buying a home, for most, can be overwhelming, with information either hard to take in or hard to find.  

“Currently the media, government, and Australians believe that homeownership is out of reach. We are disrupting the market to remind everyone it has always been, still is and will forever be the great Australian dream,” Zac said.

“We combine a previously segmented and self-guided timeline of events into a supported journey.”

The idea was built out of the concept of asking your mate at the BBQ, Zac explained. Knowing he and Alisha had a property portfolio, friends would often ask questions about home ownership and how they got through the process: who should they speak to, who could they trust?

For two years, the pair conducted market research and identified a need for a service like Brixn. Their vision, Zac said, is “to be a beacon of trust and guidance to those moving through their home ownership journey.”

Despite the time spent on researching the concept, the pair was not yet convinced about building Brixn. What finally pushed them, Zac said, was their belief that homeownership is still achievable, and something Jarryd Townson, founder of marketing agency Fox & Buoy and Mackay coworking hub Split Spaces once told him: “The difference between an idea and your ability to make a difference is deciding to take action.”

Dipping their toes into the tech space, however, was still daunting, but they soon found local developers CloudInc and work began on the app.

“The app began extremely simple, but only due to Alisha and my own limited imagination and understanding of how tech could advance our product. By first pitching our idea to our developers, they managed to create their own story from personal experiences,” Zac said.

The app works by offering users the choice between four unique paths: first home buyer, home owner, investor, and building. From here, depending on what path they are going down, they will be taken through a series of milestones, such as searching, pre-approval, negotiating, contract of sale, finance, conveyancing, and so on.  

“When they meet certain milestones we will introduce them to a broker, conveyancer or service provider that best suits their needs, identified through a unique algorithm. This allows Brixn to extend our trusted networks, allowing everyone to ‘know the right person’,” Zac explained.

The app also offers ‘Brixn Express’, a service which sets up utilities and other connections to ensure everything is ready to go on moving day.

The milestone function will allow users to keep up with their progress, with countdowns to specific milestones such as finance dates or settlement, as well as facilitating easier communication with all the different people involved in a purchase.

“As some already have trusted advisors, we welcome them to use as much or little of our network as they require,” Zac explained.

The service providers currently on the platform have been handpicked by the Goodmans, coming from their existing networks, referrals from others, and cold calling.

Currently Brixn has a select number of highly motivated and experienced service providers, who share our values to

“We spend the time to understand these businesses and their values before partnering the service providers. We have some really key service providers who we will continue to work closely with to deliver our promise to them and hold them accountable to the promise they made to us,” Zac said.

“Brixn asks clients to trust us with their most precious asset, and we ask the same of our service providers, as our client is our most precious asset.”

The service is aimed at young professionals looking to buy their first home, as well as first home owners seeking guidance throughout the home ownership journey. It will be free for users, with service providers paying a fee to be on the platform.

“Whilst closely linked to a buyer’s agent, Brixn does not source or negotiate on property, providing the majority of engagement online. We have a significant difference in price point to a buyer’s agent,” Zac explained.

“Our greatest competition is online search engines, however our focus is on being a trusted source of information, networks and support; your mate at the BBQ.”

Brixn won’t solve the housing affordability problem, of course, but it can perhaps help aspiring home buyers navigate it

As they gear up for launch, the Goodmans are keen to expand Brixn around Queensland before scaling nationally.

Image: Alisha and Zac Goodman. Source: Supplied.

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