Please see an interview with André Molinari, CEO of “Zap!” – the Brazil homebuying public’s first point of call when searching for property and land.  We discuss its history; the specific advantages it offers when compared to other similar operations in the country; consumer protection and effective research techniques that can be employed.  Please also see a link to our guide to using the website at the bottom of the interview (with translations in English of all the Brazilian Portuguese terminology and other useful information).

1) What is “Zap!”? In short, it is a fantasy name that spreads the image of speed, modernity and efficiency in the Brazilian property industry.

2) Can you explain about the history of the “Zap” (when it was started, how it changed over time)? Established and owned by the Estado São Paulo and the Globo newspaper groups, “Zap!” was created in 2001 under the moniker of ‘Planet Imovel.’  In 2007, the name was changed and we subsequently expanded our range to include vehicles, employment opportunities and other classified goods / services.

3) We have provided some information for our readers on the basic functionalities of the site, can you illustrate the advanced features? To highlight the essential advanced services that “Zap” offers

Advanced Search (Busca Avançada):  allows users to select from a detailed specification list, enabling the search of the right opportunity to be undertaken quickly and easily;

Financial Simulator (Simulador de Financiamento): found at the bottom of every advertisement, this feature enables users to understand their commitments should they choose to borrow against the property (not applicable for foreign investors due to current limited access to Brazilian finance, but can assist with yield research);

Real Estate Launch Search (Busca por Lançamentos): for buyers looking for new buildings, including the ability to access information with regards to the progress of works being undertaken;

Compare Listings (Comparar Anúncios): allows users to view several listings simultaneuously side-by-side to compare individual characteristics.

4) How often is the site updated and how many properties approximately are there on the site? On a daily basis new offers are created and the thousands that are already on site are updated.  In terms of the back and front end functionality, the site is modernised at least 20 times a year.  We currently have approximately 175,000 properties and plots of land (including commercial property, farms and other niche requirements).

5) What are the main advantages of the “Zap” portal compared to others that exist on the Internet? Below is what we see as the main factors that place us ahead of our competitors:

  • We have the largest and most frequently updated database of properties in Brazil.  As mentioned above, the broad range of choice we have enables our users to find exactly what they are looking for in their property search;
  • For the same reason as above, we are the best choice for advertisers due to having the largest property buying audience in Brazil;
  • We are able to offer our users the ability to search, with precision, exactly what they are looking including price range, specific area / region, number of rooms / living spaces, car park spaces and photography amongst several others;
  • Our unique map searching tool enables users to visualize the exact location of the property and find others for sale in the same vicinity;
  • We offer users with properties to rent (short and long term) the ability to place advertisements to a huge audience of active searchers;
  • We engage in detailed quality control, continually striving to improve our service in line with the regular feedback we receive from our users;
  • Our ‘who saw this property also saw’ (quem viu esse imóvel viu também) feature enables users to view what other users with similar criteria are in search of, allowing flexibility in the pursuit of property;
  • We are currently one of the only portals which has the facility for advertisers to upload videos of Brazilian real estate and land – this has the benefit of giving potential buyers a more realistic view as well as increasing the exposure for the person or company that is selling;
  • The ‘Revista Zap’ (Zap Magazine) has over 8,000 news articles alongside regularly updated hints and tips for the Brazilian property and land buyer;
  • As mentioned above, the financial simulator is also a very unique system that we have developed that enables potential borrowers to obtain an estimated value of financial instalments (allowing for the examination of various down payment and monthly interest levels);

6) How can you ensure that properties that are advertised do not have associated problems (such as the correct documentation, structural issues etc.)? All advertised information – such as the characteristics of property, price and payment terms –  are the responsibility of the seller / realtor who places it and ‘Zap’ is only a vehicle for dissemination of the offer, acting as a way for buyers and sellers to connect.  However, despite not being responsible for such information provided, ‘Zap’ is very aware of the potential issues and concerns with some of the real estate products that are advertised – we therefore have provided an area of the site for our users to contact us directly.   In such instances, we will contact the advertiser to explore a potential resolution of the situation and, if no response is received (which is very rare) the advertisement will be removed.

7) Many foreign investors in Brazil have the difficulties of accurately searching values – how can ‘Zap’ help them do a proper search? The ‘Zap’ portal prides itself in being more than just a classification advertising medium – we offer the additional benefits that enable our users to good business including: the ability to compare offers, find / examine prices, simulate funding and view pre-release opportunities as well as tips on decoration and other property-related services to name a few.  We also have detailed market data enabling buyers to access detailed research and examine, for example, which areas are developing in addition to their associated idiosyncrasies.  We therefore firmly believe that ‘Zap’ is a comprehensive tool that assists the profound understanding  of buying Brazilian property from a broader perspective.