The consumer-facing app, individually branded to each agent and consumer, will be launching sometime toward the end of the second quarter of 2019, according to Keller Williams CEO Gary Keller.
“Our goal is nothing short of reinventing how people experience real estate through technology and making sure you’re the owner of that technology,” Keller told the crowd at the event.
Through the forthcoming app, consumers will have the power of artificial intelligence in their home search. When consumers log into the app, they will be prompted to answer questions about what they are looking for in a neighborhood, along with choosing what they like about particular houses that the app shows them.
From there, Keller Williams proprietary algorithm will suggest homes to view based on those answers.
Homeowners will also have all of Keller William’s data at their fingertips through the app. They can see, in real time, about their home and their neighbors’ homes like price-per-square-foot of sales, how quickly homes are selling, etc. The app will also contain hyperlocal information about each neighborhood.
It draws part of its power from Keller Williams’ acquisition of SmarterAgent in 2018 and has been further developed through the company’s lab process.
“We want to give you the most info about what’s happening in real estate so you can answer any question on demand,” Keller Williams President Josh Team said.
Team likened it to the power of Zillow’s Zestimate making consumers feel smarter about real estate value. He believes empowering consumers with all of this data, in a customizable interface will be a differentiator for Keller Williams agents.
“Zillow made the consumer feel like they were a little bit smarter about real estate,” Team said. “That little thing made people use Zillow.”
Keller described the tech as each agent being the Netflix of real estate for the consumer rather than Keller Williams itself. Team echoed Keller’s sentiments.
“The whole reason we’re doing this is so at some point this year, you are Netflix,” Team said. “It’s a one-to-one experience where you are making them smarter about real estate every day.”
Keller Williams is also further closing-in on creating that end-to-end experience for both consumers and agents, by linking it virtual AI assistant Kelle to Keller Mortgage. Through Kelle, which Team and Keller called your “remote control,” for real estate, agents will be able to keep an eye on the entire transaction.
“You get to watch the entire journey from your remote control,” Team said.
Through the consumer app consumers will also be able to watch, in real time, every aspect of the underwriting process, from loan approval to closing.
Consumers will be able to access the app, which will be available on iOS and Android, in a multitude of ways. Current consumers who already have the Keller Williams home search app will automatically be upgraded. When agents send Kelle Market Snaps from Command, the company’s new customer relationship management tool, the consumer will have the option to view those assets in the consumer app.
Keller Williams is betting big that consumers will change their behavior and use their app, rather than Zillow or Redfin to begin their home search.
“Right now none of those portals understand nuances of neighborhoods,” Team told Inman. “For instance, our platform has already mapped over 210,000 neighborhoods and growing.”
“An example is, Redfin only knows a general area of ‘Travis Heights’ in Austin — we know the difference between Travis Heights, Travis Heights south, and Travis Heights east — each with their own market, their own pricing, their own inventory and their own personality,” Team added.
Team said he believes that the hyperlocal aspect of the app will be the big differentiator, versus other national portals. The company tested the app with around 1 million consumers in September and October last year and saw a 400 percent increase in consumer engagement versus city, ZIP and larger general area search currently available.
“When our agents can make customers smarter on the hyperlocal level, we win,” Team said. “That’s what the consumer wants, and can’t get from any website or mobile app.”
Keller and Team also previewed the company’s entire 2019 technology roadmap. Keller said that it was a way to hold he and Team accountable, and joked that he hoped they both still have their jobs this time next year.
In addition to launching their consumer-facing app in the second quarter, Keller Williams will also launch new agent websites in the third quarter and the revamped KW.com in the fourth quarter.
Keller Williams also plans to make updates to Connect, its central communications hub, which Team said is like if Facebook and Slack had a baby and sent it to real estate school. From Connect, agents can filter all communications, collaborate and eventually have live digital meetings.