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Escrow app

an app to act as an escrow in negotiated purchases
  [vote for,

Say you want to buy a house. The seller doesn't want to advertise a price because that might either: a) be well under what a buyer is willing to pay or b) too far over what the market can afford (and scare away buyers). The seller also doesn't want to auction because that restricts the number of potential buyers by restricting the time frame for selling. So the seller puts the house on the market under the title 'by negotiation'.

Basically this creates a 'Mexican standoff'; neither the buyer or seller wants to show their hand by indicating the price they are willing to buy/sell.

What I propose is an escrow app for phones. The app is very simple: the buyer types into their phone the maximum price they are willing to pay, while the seller types into their phone the minimum price they are willing to sell for. The buy/sell prices are transmitted via bluetooth (or via the internet for telephone negotiations); if the maximum buy price is greater than the minimum sell price, the app displays a message "A deal is possible" otherwise it displays "A deal is not possible". If a deal is possible the app might also then give a helpful suggested starting point for negotiations to begin from; this starting point is somewhere (randomly) in between the maximum buy and minimum sell price. From that point the buyers and sellers still have to negotiate the price the old fashioned way.

Crucially, the buy/sell price is automatically and immediately deleted by the app after the comparison and suggestion is made. The app would be made as secure as possible with suitable transmission protocols and encryption of buy/sell data. This escrow system could be 'cracked' if there was a conspiracy between enough potential buyers, so the seller would have to be wary of any suspicious buyer behaviour (or the app itself could have an algorithm to detect suspicious behaviour).

Of course this escrow service could have been performed by a human, but finding a person that both parties trust for each negotiation would be difficult and time consuming.

Hopefully this will make negotiations fairer and more efficient.

xaviergisz, Dec 01 2009

Zoopla: Estimates House Prices http://www.zoopla.c.../?q=acacia%20avenue
Based on a clever combination of index tracking and access to the public record - this handy little site can help you come up with a reasonable guess. [zen_tom, Dec 01 2009]

howmuch for the house http://www.woningwi...wat-is-woningwizard
[zeno, Dec 02 2009]

Homomorphic encryption http://en.wikipedia...omorphic_encryption
just learnt about homomorphic encryption which would be perfect for this idea. [xaviergisz, May 19 2013]

Dealescrow http://dealescrow.com
[xaviergisz, Sep 18 2017]


       // finding a person that both parties trust //   


       Isn't this what estate agents are for ?   

8th of 7, Dec 01 2009

       Sounds like the Scottish system for selling houses, except that involves sealed bids on paper sent via solicitors...
prufrax, Dec 01 2009

       Why just limit it to house purchasing. There are no end of negotiating situations when this app would be useful. [+]
The_Saint, Dec 01 2009

       It could be used for negotiating the price people pay for other apps, for example.
Aristotle, Dec 01 2009

       Would you have to negotiate the price of the escrow app ?
8th of 7, Dec 01 2009

       a catchy name for the app: haggletooth
xaviergisz, Dec 01 2009

       In the Netherlands you can send an sms (text) and get the previous selling price and the current value directly on your phone. See link.
zeno, Dec 02 2009

       Might wish to add the realtor. They will sometime cut their fees to get a deal. Their 3 or 6 percent could stop or void some gaps.   

       Might also add fees or taxes, if they are significant.
popbottle, May 21 2013

       I've finally got around to getting this developed. I'll post the link when it's live (hopefully in the next few weeks).
xaviergisz, Aug 04 2017

       interesting -- are you looking at blockchain? I've always thought that's the perfect tech for escrow
theircompetitor, Sep 18 2017

       Blockchain might be useful if this was made as a peer- to-peer app. However, I've implemented it as a website (dealescrow.com) so no need for blockchain.
xaviergisz, Sep 18 2017

       //suitable transmission protocols and encryption//   

       Is your design available for others to review?
Wrongfellow, Sep 18 2017

       //Is your design available for others to review?//   

       No, it's not open source at the moment. That might change in the future if it would provide more confidence to users.
xaviergisz, Sep 18 2017


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