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Website launched to help clarify property market

Abu Dhabi property company launches online service as centrepoint for investors to buy or rent a home.

Bradley Hope An Abu Dhabi property company is launching a website that it hopes will serve as a central place for people to rent or buy a home. The initiative, called LEASE|RENT, will combine the listings from a group of brokerage firms in the capital, said Alan O'Donnell, the chief managing director of Pure Real Estate. "It will bring clarity to the rental market," he said, calling the alliance similar to ones found among airlines to increase each company's ability to get more customers.

The project is akin to alliances among brokers in more developed property markets. Many countries have a Multiple Listing Service that pools together listings and establishes fees for brokers. Mohamed Guidoum, chief executive of Remax Absolute Realty in Abu Dhabi, said customers in Abu Dhabi need a central place to ease the process of finding a home and weeding out unscrupulous brokers. "The client should be well-served and this benefits the client," Mr Guidoum said. "Sometimes it might mean sharing a commission, but it's better than losing the deal on both sides altogether."

Other heads of brokerage firms were more cautious because the system would require a degree of trust that does not yet exist among brokers. "I think it's in principle a good idea, but I don't know if the market is ready for it," said Edna Toner, chief executive of Aztec Properties. "I need to see a lot of the details before I'd be ready to sign up for something like this. In more established markets, there are lot of ethics built into the system. That isn't here yet."

The site, which officially launches next week, can be found at www.leaserentuae.com. bhope@thenational.ae

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