While Falaya is tackling a universal problem in the real estate world, its name is deeply rooted in its home turf of Louisiana.
Borrowing from a word in the Choctaw language for long river, the goal of the early-stage startup is to connect the different parts of the real estate process in a smooth manner, much in the way a calm river does.
How the real estate world “ebbs and flows” is something founder Barret Blondeau knows well. After building a career in the corporate world, Blondeau went all in on real estate a few years back.
As a broker, he noticed inefficiencies in the process both on the agents and the customers side.
“There’s just a lot of waste I saw when I was a realtor. I was driving around a lot and wasting a lot of time,” Blondeau told Hypepotamus. “That’s what people don’t understand about the real estate process….there’s a lot of waste in it and that’s what is causing the price to remain extremely high. We’re trying to figure out a way to allow realtors to be paid for what they do.”
Falaya gives flat-fee listing options and a la cart realtor services. Then, the startup puts the listing up on the MLS and other popular real estate marketplaces, while potential buyers can schedule tours right on the platform. Ultimately, buyers can submit and automate offers with all the necessary documentation, making it something akin to a “TurboTax for real estate,” Blondeau told Hypepotamus.
For realtors, the platform helps with the contract and negotiations for a flat rate as well.
Falaya’s mission has particularly resonated with young homeowners, real estate investors, and seasoned home buyers.
That latter group was not one Blondeau necessarily saw as a target customer base when the startup got off the ground.
“We’ve seen a lot of adoption for homeowners in the older bracket, believe it or not…it’s the 50 year olds and people that have done it once or twice and just know the process. They’re comfortable with it and they want to take on more responsibilities,” he added.
Because of the streamlined process, Blondeau said that Falaya is seeing growth with homeowners in good and bad times in the real estate market.
Falaya has already navigated uncertain waters in its first few years. After going through New Orleans’ Idea Village accelerator program in 2020, the team launched its website on March 1, 2020.
A few weeks later…well, you know the reality.
The pandemic was “obviously scary time for everybody,” said Blondeau, but the Falaya team took the time to get back to basics and focus on streamlining the process of selling houses. A few months later, the real estate market boomed. Falaya was ready to capitalize on the opportunity.
Falaya currently serves the entire state of Louisiana and has recently expanded into Mississippi. Blondeau told Hypepotamus that the startup is working on expansion into other states across the Southeast as well.
To date, the platform has helped sell 275 homes and “saved homeowners $1.5 million plus in realtor commissions,” added Blondeau.
The team’s payroll is up to 10 people now and includes developers, agents, and customer support representatives.
Falaya has remained bootstrapped to date, though Blondeau said the team plans to raise outside capital in the coming months to help with geographic expansion efforts.