Technology

Royce Munn: ‘Our biggest hurdle has been getting real estate out of its comfort zone’

Overrated drone cameras, free-market capitalism and more

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Royce Munn is the co-founder of Home ScanD.

Describe what you do in one sentence: I’m a broker with a 3-D camera who creates self-guided walk-throughs for buyers and sellers.

Age: 28

Degree, school: BBA in finance from Kennesaw State University

Location: Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Social media: LinkedIn, Twitter 

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royce munn

Royce Munn, co-founder of Home ScanD.

What’s your favorite activity outside of work and why?

When I can find the time, I like to grab my clubs and go out onto the golf course. I’ve been playing since I was a kid and take pleasure in being outside away from the craziness of work. I’m always trying to improve my game and enjoy blocking out all the distractions and focus on each shot. Everyone needs an outlet to stay sane and mine is hacking up some of the nicest real estate in Jacksonville.

What’s your favorite classic piece of literature and why?

One of my favorite pieces of literature is “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer. It’s very interesting with all the different stories from the people traveling to Canterbury. The stories are funny and entertaining by poking fun at the society of the day. It’s as sarcastic as it gets and enjoyable to read, even though some of it is in prose.

Are you the first entrepreneur in your family?

My father was an accountant and my mother was a schoolteacher. Growing up, my sister always wanted to be a veterinarian and I wanted to be a businessman. I knew from a very early age I wanted to be in business; I just was not sure how I was going to accomplish that goal. I have learned the most about business from my two uncles who are business owners. Sitting around the table with them and soaking up all the knowledge and lessons that I can has really helped me grow as an entrepreneur.

How’d you come up with the idea for your startup?

My business partner, Aaron Avery, and I like to relax over a beer and cigar and talk about our ideas. On one of these occasions, he said we should do what Google Street View does except for the inside of properties. After a lot of research and talking with people working on 3-D scanning technology, we found the 3-D camera we wanted. From this idea we founded Home ScanD in January 2014. The camera scans the property and it turns into a self-guided walk-through online.

Describe a time when you felt particularly insecure about the future of your company. How did you bounce back?

The first few months were torturous. No one knew what we were trying to sell. YouTube videos and cool websites with pretty pictures were all real estate professionals were interested in paying for. We know our self-guided 3-D walk-throughs are the future of real estate.

It solves a lot of issues real estate professionals face every day, but with some in the industry having an aversion to technology, it was very slow catching on in our market. Perseverance and knowing that we are solving a problem in real estate helped us stay the course.

What would you describe as your company’s biggest victory since launching and why?

Our first scan was by far our biggest victory. It took forever to get, but we knew it would snowball after the first one. It was from an up-and-coming real estate brokerage in Hilton Head, South Carolina, of all places. They had seen some of our social media posts and had a million-dollar condo that they wanted us to create the 3-D walk-through for. The condo was big, nicely decorated and looked amazing. The scan turned out even better and was our marquee on our website up until we did a $4 million home in St. Augustine Beach, Florida, recently.

What’s been the biggest obstacle your business has encountered, and how have you dealt with it?

The biggest hurdle has been has been getting real estate professionals out of their comfort zone. We run into individuals daily who think that the way they’ve sold real estate for 20 years is still current, even as technology has made the lives of the people who embrace it easier. We have the tools for them to save time, money and energy, but since the technology is new they do not always get it.

What puzzles you most about the industry?

Technology — but not the development of it; it’s the way real estate professionals react to it that is interesting. In our market area, there are real estate professionals who still do not have websites. Websites and technology are an essential part for growth in today’s business world. Technology is meant to make our lives run smoother and easier, yet we see every day people doing it the low-tech, hard way. I’ve seen a lot of cool technology that does not go anywhere because the agents do not want to spend the money to gain a little extra of the market share.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about building a business since launching your company?

I learned a very tough lesson early by believing a marketing firm had an easy button for us to press to get a lot of business quickly. We paid them a retainer and saw zero returns from it. We were led to believe we could skip the hard work and just pay them to fill up our schedule. It was an expensive yet necessary lesson to learn. Hard work and determination pays off, and we had to be reminded of that.

rocye munn

Munn on a Spanish galleon in St. Augustine, Florida

 

What’s the most overrated real estate technology?

Drone cameras for real estate. I’ve seen the prices and the pictures and cannot see the benefit of spending that much money for a picture at 500 feet up. It’s cool to say you have a drone, but I don’t think it helps move homes any faster.

How will the role of the real estate agent change over the next five years?

Real estate will always need the personal touch of the agent, but technology will make their job easier and more efficient. Home ScanD is part of this transition as it makes it easier for the buyer to walk multiple properties in minutes from the comfort of their couch.

Buyers and sellers will always look to the professionals for guidance, but technology will allow for more educated consumers. This will make the agents more efficient by working with consumers who know which house they want and what they are willing to pay for it.

What motivates you more: power or money?

In college, I was the chairman of a political group on campus and realized I wanted to make a name for myself in business before getting into politics professionally. Money drives all things; I am a free market capitalist through and through. I love doing business and the process of getting paid for a great service.

What is your biggest professional fear?

My biggest professional fear is that at the end of the day someone isn’t pleased with the job we have done. In a small market, it is all about the experience for the customer. We have to do it faster, cheaper and better than anyone else. Attention to detail is crucial for us. We always want to strive to exceed our client’s expectations.

What is your biggest personal fear?

Getting too comfortable with status quo. Being an entrepreneur, I am never comfortable or content, but the fear is always one day getting to that point. Getting too comfortable with business and life means you lose the fight to grow.

Whom do you respect most in the industry?

I respect the individual broker who broke off on their own to accomplish the American dream. With so many large brokerage firms in every market, the small broker has the highest mountain to climb. They leverage everything they have and bet it all on themselves to succeed. That, to me, deserves the utmost respect.

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