eBay for real estate investors’ startup plots expansion to Orlando

Nov 11, 2021 | ARMEL NEWS

November 11, 2021, 01:02pm EST

A new Dallas-based company that developed an online platform the CEO describes as “eBay for residential real estate investors” will expand to Orlando by summer 2022.

Trelly Group Inc., which kicked off a nearly seven-month beta testing phase in March before officially launching this fall, operates in Dallas, Houston and Tampa Bay.

However, CEO Josh DeShong told Orlando Inno Orlando is one of the next markets lined up for expansion. “We already have a presence in Tampa, so it’s a natural evolution to just drive about an hour, right? Orlando’s perfect.”

The company acts as a “B2B version” of the multiple listing service marketplace, and users list their properties on the platform for other investors to bid on.

DeShong said traditionally investors would use Facebook groups and other online networking sites to conduct transactions individually. This platform serves as a real-time marketplace, typically with between 10-20 properties available at any given time. 

Trelly is available on the Google and iOS app stores, and the firm has facilitated 700 transactions worth about $170 million since March. Trelly’s goal is to open up real estate investing to a wider group of people, similar to what E-Trade did to the stock market, DeShong said. “We are giving individual investors the power to access a market and to make a market.”

DeShong lived in Tampa for a few months last year and frequented Orlando to visit Walt Disney World Resort. He said he was captivated by the growth of the market, which he called “mind-blowing.”

Orlando is part of a rapid expansion planned by Trelly next year, when the company will be available in more than 10 markets, DeShong said.

Trelly doesn’t establish a physical presence in all of its markets, but DeShong said it’s likely Orlando would be a market where the company will set up a physical presence and buy its own supply of properties to list, as well as facilitate sales of third-party properties.

There may be significant demand for Trelly’s services in Central Florida. Investors were behind 18.6% of metro Orlando home purchases in the second quarter alone, Redfin Corp. reported. Orlando’s housing market was the eighth-busiest for investors out of 41 analyzed by Redfin.

Meanwhile, Deanna Armel, owner and broker of Kissimmee-based Armel Real Estate Inc., previously said she estimates out-of-town investors make up between 10-20% of her clientele.

DeShong got into real estate in 2006, starting Josh DeShong Real Estate as a way to support himself and his mother, after she lost her job. He started investing in real estate assets in 2012 with two houses. By 2014, his portfolio included more than 100 properties.

He said throughout his real estate career, he has closed on nearly $2 billion in real estate transactions. DeShong is also the founder of real estate investment firm Myers Home Buyers, which focuses on distressed residential properties. Those businesses, along with Trelly, make up the Trelly Group. 

“I had a mentor who said, ‘If you don’t focus on assets or products, then you’re not going to ever build anything that’s scalable. That pushed me to focus on assets,” DeShong said. “We stopped flipping houses and just started focusing on supporting the investor and making sure they had constant inventory.” 

Other markets Trelly has on tap for expansion in the near future include Jacksonville and Nashville. When eyeing potential markets, DeShong said the company looks for things like homeownership rates, occupancy rates, affordability and average homeowner makeup. So far, the company has been bootstrapped.

DeShong said Trelly plans to stay focused on residential real estate assets as it eyes new markets across the country, with plans to grow its user network before looking at monetization strategies for the platform.

“Our goal is growth… we’re going to focus on residential for a very long period of time,” DeShong said.


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