• Smaller isn't always better, but it usually makes for a more compelling business story.
  • Despite their size, Spacio, Agentdesks and Agentpair are ready to make a big impact.
  • My love for the little guy doesn't mean I don't think some of the bigger names weren't also burning the candle at both ends. I'd keep an eye on RealtyCommander, Rocket Mortgage and Opendoor.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Inman’s Innovator Award finalists have been vetted and named.

It’s an exhaustive list of everything and everybody currently making waves in this ever-evolving line of business.

I think some of these waves will make for a better day in the surf than others.

Small but mighty

First, I define innovation a little differently than most. I land on the side of the cash-strapped bootstrappers, the people making splashes with small teams during late nights.

I love the stories of debt-laden developers sitting in shared offices, betting their futures on the hope someone takes a picture of the whiteboard before the next shared-workspace geniuses wipe it away. Do. Not. Erase!

This includes open house innovator Spacio and the mobile-first, agent-productivity-slash-CRM Agentdesks.


Mobile agent and buyer matchmaker AgentPair is another such example.

Skyler360’s developer Ron Sasson couldn’t contain himself during our demo. To say his heart is in his product would be a colossal understatement.

InsideMaps changed my perspective on the value of 3-D home tours.

Colleague and Inman writer Teke Wiggin couldn’t grasp why initially I found Matterport to be a gimmick. He can rest assured that I stand corrected. However, InsideMaps, as an iPhone 6-based competitor, took an evolving concept and found a way to make it better.

I haven’t had a chance to speak with the folks at immoviewer but very much want to see their take on the immersive home tour.


Big dogs catching my eye

My love for the little guy doesn’t mean I don’t think some of the bigger names weren’t also burning the candle at both ends.

RealtyCommander is a slick suite of tools and its automated offer feature is without a doubt a better mousetrap.

Left to right: Opendoor founders Ian Wong, Eric Wu and JD Ross

Left to right: Opendoor founders Ian Wong, Eric Wu and JD Ross

I was perplexed at the backlash Quicken Loans collected after its Super Bowl unveiling of Rocket Mortgage. Where was all this fretting about the risk of fast money in 2007?

With legislative restrictions in place and years of recession-era lessons learned, a better, faster way to qualify a buyer should be championed. I’m psyched that this app earned a little Innovator love.

I also like what Opendoor is doing by essentially becoming a home retailer. My hope is that it keeps pushing industry standards. Company co-founder Jd Ross’ always-cool public persona is a lesson in how to handle public relations amidst an environment not always comfortable with change.

Real’s office-less model is a compelling example of what’s possible in the mobile world, and board-driven innovations like HAR.com and The San Francisco Association of Realtors continue to show how change is good for an industry as revered as the real estate brokerage.

While I know it’s not nice to only be nominated, congratulations to all Inman Innovator finalists. Keep up the good fight.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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