Portland, Ore.-based Househappy Inc. is betting that photos alone can drive home search with a new photo-centric site sporting a Pinterest-like layout and associated social network.
Househappy.org, designed for brokers and home buyers and sellers, features a grid of square-shaped home photos on its simplified homepage. A search box and a set of search filters in a simple menu bar help users cull through listings. When clicked, a photo takes users to a property detail page with more info and more photos.
"Existing real estate sites limit visual search, are crowded with too many charts and graphs, and seem to hinder communication rather than encourage it," said Househappy founder and CEO Kevin McCloskey in a statement.
The site invites users to fill out a profile that identifies them as a broker, buyer or seller — each profile type features a slightly different setup — and indicate what they have to offer and who they might like to be contacted by. The site, which is set up to work in 235 countries around the world, is free for users to search and post listings, McCloskey said.
Once they register, users can "Like" specific properties and share them via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and email on their profiles, which were designed to show the "curriculum vitae" of a buyer, seller or broker.
Registered sellers and brokers can see who liked photos of the homes they have listed on the site, as can other users who view their profiles. McCloskey envisions registered users displaying the Househappy icon on yard signs.
McCloskey — a licensed real estate broker in California, Oregon and Washington and principal broker of KM Brokerage in Portland — has plans to monetize the site by integrating advertising from different service providers into its content, he said, without using banner ads.
Currently, Househappy has a database of sample listings, but legit ones should start rolling in from brokerages McCloskey’s been in touch with in Chicago, Los Angeles, Orange County, Portland, San Diego and Seattle, among other markets, McCloskey said.
"Pinterest-like" describes several recent search layouts from real estate search portals. In March, Trulia launched its "Suggests" platform, which stores the listings users like in gridded tile formats on their profile pages. In December, tech-focused brokerage Redfin introduced a similar feature, "Collections," which allows users to save their favorite listings and see them in a tiled set up.