It’s 4:22 p.m. on Friday afternoon, December 13th, when an agent walks into Jacob Realty CEO Demetrios Salpoglou’s second floor office, located at 279 Newbury Street. The agent, dressed professionally in a black suit, isn’t entering with pressing news. He’s just popping-in for a brief moment to turn the lights on – which he does.
Joel Felcher, Salpoglou and I have been talking for nearly an hour and a half, since the start of our meeting, shortly after 3 p.m. Despite clear skies, the office grows darker as our conversation continues, thanks to the large glass windows enclosing his corner office.
Fittingly, just before the office lights are turned on, Salpoglou tells Joel and myself about the nocturnal habits of some of today’s consumers. “Vampires,” he calls them. Salpoglou’s description isn’t random, or hyperbolic; search traffic data for Boston Pads tells him that consumers are night owls.
Salpoglou asks me to guess what time the traffic volume on the site peaks. I guess 8 a.m.
“No, not even close,” Salpoglou says, in a rather mater of fact manner.
My guess was off by 13 hours. According to the data Salpoglou has seen, traffic spikes around 9 p.m. and continues to 2 a.m.
Real estate shopping, so it seems, is literally a 24-hour business. Salpoglou’s agents get calls and texts from interested buyers and renters around the clock; there’s a constant flow of demand, one that can’t be handled the way it used to be – with clients visiting multiple offices over the course of multiple days or weeks.
That’s where Boston Pads comes into play. Salpoglou’s goal: “Give users and consumers the best, freshest data possible.”
BostonPads.com isn’t Craigslist. Think of it like a massive real estate search engine, plugged-in to Google, that is constantly updating 120,139 Boston apartment listings between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., daily.
Using real estate listing data from a network of websites, Salpoglou says clients and agents can expedite the renting or buying process.
The example he gives is of four roommates who work in four opposite corners of the city.
“No more going to multiple agents,” Salpoglou says. Instead, roommates can hop on Boston Pads, coordinate a central location that’s suitable for equal commutes to work, and find multiple listings. Within a day, four roommates, working in different locations, on different schedules, can find a four bedroom unit and sign the lease, rather effortlessly.
Salpoglou explains that Boston Pads – using data like Google Earth – is “able to cover a march larger path.” With 31,000 apartment galleries, upwards of 5,000 videos, and, now, over 1,000 virtual tours, all updated in real time, Boston Pads users are able to get complete breakdowns of units they are interested in.
“One agent can look at eight or nine places and complete everything in one day,” Salpoglou says.
The process is quick, but it’s thorough. But that’s how Boston Pads delivers results – by constantly updating new data to Boston Pads and assembling the largest collection of Boston real estate information to one site, Jacob, NextGen and Boardwalk agents have an edge on the competition. This translates to a better user experience.
Time is always of the essence, now.
It’s time, Salpoglou believes, that is the most important thing in life. Yes, “Time is more valuable than money,” he says.
The saying is cliche, but Salpoglou truly, genuinely subscribes to the theory.
Just how valuable is time in the Boston real estate market? According to Salpoglou, a property will rent within a week, after becoming available. That’s why Boston Pads operates around the clock. If a listing isn’t appropriately updated, time is wasted, money is lost.
“A vacant unit generates zero dollars and that should never happen in Boston, we want to make sure landlords are always given the best available pricing for their apartment rentals,” Salpoglou says.
Salpoglou is constantly focusing on the market. While he says he’s accustomed to working 60 or 80 hours a week, on a regular basis, he freely admits that most his work can be done from anywhere, so, putting an actual number on his office hours per week is useless. His appearance, however, suggests he’s anything but casual.
For our interview, Salpoglou is dressed in a red and white checkered shirt, tucked neatly into pressed black pants, paired with a matching black sport coat and slip-on dress shoes. He’s bald, clean shaven and his fingernails have been cropped closely.
All of these are statements: Just because Boston Pads makes real estate shopping easy, doesn’t mean the service shouldn’t be handled in the most professional fashion.