HouseCall, an Uber-like app that allows consumers to book home services professionals, has rolled out a pair of features that help real estate agents stay top of mind with clients and generate leads.
"HouseCall for Realtors" lets real estate agents easily refer their network of vendors to clients. The other feature enables consumers to request showings on demand.
The San Diego-based startup recently told Inman News that it planned to launch the products to capitalize on agents' tendency to recommend the app to clients who ask about local home service professionals.
"Every Realtor has a list of trusted, local service professionals they refer their clients to," said co-founder Roland Ligtenberg. "What we aim to do is make the home maintenance process easier for the homeowner while providing Realtors a great resource that solidifies their customer relationships."
HouseCall is one of a growing number of startups like Pro.com and Handybook that let consumers seamlessly schedule appointments with home professionals.
While some of those apps require users to schedule appointments at least a day in advance, HouseCall, which its founder calls "Uber meets Angie's List," also lets users hail professionals much as consumers may use Uber to hail drivers.
TaskRabbit recently pivoted to offer similar "on-demand" services targeting the home remodeling and maintenance industries. Like TaskRabbit, HouseCall also features upfront fixed prices and the ability to pay for services from within the app.
HouseCall piloted its app in San Diego and is now in the process of expanding to other regions, starting with Orange County and Los Angeles.
"HouseCall for Realtors" offers agents a way to stay top of mind with past clients. Not only does it allow agents to quickly share all their preferred vendors with past, present or future clients, it also stamps that network with their branding and lets them give clients discounts on their preferred vendors' services.
"When a homeowner uses the app, they will see the Realtor's branding on the top [of the app], which reminds them of how they got such a useful recommendation," Ligtenberg said. "When it comes time to buy a new house or recommend a friend, they have lots of positive goodwill toward the Realtor."
HouseCall for Realtors also lets agents add types of real estate professionals who aren't part of the app's core roster of home services professionals, including loan officers, notaries and home inspectors.
Using HouseCall to give people a list of vendors is free, but agents may also pay to add a fixed-dollar amount of service credit to the invite codes that they send to clients. Clients who use the codes to download HouseCall will receive those digital gift cards and a version of the app that features the agent's branding and the agent's vendor network.
"We see [agents] as partners and therefore they are not part of our financial business model and we don't charge them anything," Ligtenberg said.
Agents can use the app as a tool to cultivate their relationships with clients. HouseCall notifies them when clients are active and even lets them directly message clients through the app.
It can also help users drum up leads. Consumers who may not have a relationship with an agent may get their hands on the agent's HouseCall code and use it to download the app, according to Ligtenberg. Anytime that happens, the app sends the agent the client's name, email address and phone number, so they can follow up.
"A lot of the Realtors who have active Facebook pages, personal Facebooks and Twitter/Pinterest are doing amazing at generating new leads from sharing our the app and their invite code," Ligtenberg said of agents who've piloted "HouseCall for Realtors."
HouseCall also has begun offering consumers the ability to schedule showings or request immediate ones, joining the likes of Naked Apartments, Curb Call and AgentPair in providing "showings on demand." That feature is also free.
"It's not a core feature, but may get some use depending on how motivated the Realtor is," Ligtenberg said.