As anyone who has gone through the process can easily confirm, buying a home can be a stressful ordeal. From finding an agent, finding a home, waging a bidding war on a property, making an offer, and getting the entire deal signed, sealed and delivered, the process was decidedly analogous and frustrating.
It was the process of buying his first home that inspired HomeLight CEO and founder Drew uher to start a business and bring technology to the market. He and his wife almost lost their dream home because their lender couldn’t close on time, he said, and the whole process of closing itself was “a mess and a headache.”
“The problem I started with was the agent matching problem. We basically started the business by helping buyers and sellers find the best agents in their area in a data-driven way, with a focus on agents who would sell their homes faster and for more. money, ”Uher said.
HomeLight has always been designed as a technology platform for the real estate market, a concept often referred to as ‘wacky’ when the company was founded in 2012, when having a tech startup in real estate seemed be an incongruous idea. But while the digitalization of the real estate market has since gained much more force and HomeLight has expanded its suite of digital tools, its goal is not to remove the real estate agent from the process, like other entrants to the process. space. have tried to do.
“If you’re buying or selling a house, we believe the best outcome involves hyper-local expertise – someone who knows every house on every street, other market agents, all service providers, etc.” said Uher. “This advice is really valuable, but so is understanding the dynamics of negotiation, where a simple gesture can make the difference between 5, 10, 15 or 20 percent of the price of housing, which overshadows a few. percentage points here and there for commissioning. “
Keep local expertise
The purpose of introducing high tech tactics in real estate is not to replace the agent, as their specialist knowledge will always be an important part of the process. The goal is to increase agent efforts with a suite of tools that improve and improve the process for both buyer and seller by removing traditional sticking points that can slow or even derail the process.
HomeLight’s Product with cash offer, for example, allows a consumer in need of a mortgage to continue to make a cash offer on a house, making their offer more competitive and increasing their chances of getting a lower price. Using HomeLight’s technology and tools, the buyer can ensure that the financing process is well defined and that funds are ready to go much faster than a traditional real estate process.
Meanwhile, HomeLight’s trade-in process eliminates the classic possibility that the buyer must sell their current property before they can buy a new one, Uher explained. The trade-in option gives buyers a guaranteed place to sell without having to wait for their own buyer.
“We think it’s crazy that in 2021 there are still unforeseen events in real estate transactions,” Uher said. “The contingencies of getting a mortgage, appraising, selling another property – all of this creates uncertainty for the seller and massive friction in the process.”
And that friction can be minimized by harnessing connected technology and opening up options for consumers when buying a home, Uher said. He predicted that these options would become increasingly important as 2021 progressed and the real estate market continued to heat up. As of this writing, stocks are tight and salespeople are suffering from a bit of fatigue. The normal seasonality of the market was disrupted as consumers suddenly had to re-examine the concept of domicile.
Another such reassessment is about to happen soon, as vaccines roll out and COVID-19 fades into memory. As Uher noted, HomeLight is incredibly optimistic about what’s likely to come next – including how it will continue to advance technology to turn a historically stressful process into one that consumers can honestly say is. delicious.
“We are optimistic about the economy and job growth, which we believe will help support a robust real estate market,” Uher said. “A year ago, at the end of March 2020, I would have been much more discreet and uncertain. But at the moment, we are only seeing favorable winds for the market. “