About nine months after real estate tech firm HouseCanary turned off its public-facing real estate portal, the company is back with a new search product meant to help banks capture more lending business.
The platform, dubbed ComeHome, launched Wednesday, and according to a company statement was “built for mortgage lenders to attract, retain and convert customers into their suite of loan products.” The platform also “puts lenders directly in front of prospective buyers at the beginning of their home search” and integrates into those lenders’ existing software systems.
In practical terms, that means consumers will be able to log into their bank’s website and see a space that tells them how much home they can prequalify for. That space will also links to a portal-like search tool that, using HouseCanary’s data software, can suggest homes in a given consumer’s price range.
Paul Weherly, president of HouseCanary, told Inman that the idea is to give banks and lenders a way to convert their existing customers into users of their real estate services. So, a bank’s customer might already have a credit card or checking account, for example, but when beginning a home search, they may hop on Zillow and then Google different lenders — all the while not even realizing that their existing bank may have loan options.
With ComeHome, on the other hand, that consumer can be served housing and lending information all within the lender’s ecosystem. The search portal is co-branded, so that the lender’s name appears at the top of the webpage, and includes buttons to help would-be borrowers start using the lender’s real estate services.
“It’s putting that real estate search right where the users are interacting on a regular basis,” Weherly explained.
Weherly also said that ComeHome could help banks capitalize on “latent demand” in the housing market by helping renters, for example, realize that they could afford to purchase a house.
HouseCanary added in a statement that the product lets lenders join “the customer in their homebuying journey at the very beginning of the home search process, instead of buying their way in at the end when it could be too late, too competitive and too expensive.”
According to Weherly, HouseCanary is currently in talks with multiple lenders about using the product and anticipates a formal announcement in the coming months.
In addition to converting customers into borrowers, ComeHome includes a “homeowner’s dashboard” that provides information on their property’s value and other data.
“This becomes a powerful tool for you to not only understand, but manage and improve your home,” Weherly said, adding that the tool can further help steer potential borrowers to their banks’ lending services.
The launch of ComeHome comes after HouseCanary initially attempted to build a public-facing portal, which also used the ComeHome name. The portal was operational earlier this year, but was turned off after questions arose about its use of data.
Weherly told Inman that the ComeHome portal has gradually been going back up and is currently active in 10 markets including Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa and others. The company expects to have the public-facing portal operating nationwide by the first quarter of 2020.
He also said that both versions of ComeHome — for lenders and for the public — are powered by the same software.
In a statement Wednesday, HouseCanary’s founder and CEO Jeremy Sicklick ultimately suggested that ComeHome will let lenders deepen their relationship with consumers.
“ComeHome allows lenders to quickly and easily offer powerful online home-search and homeowner capabilities in their own environment,” Sicklick explained. “There is no need for the lender’s customer to visit multiple websites; they never leave your environment, you retain them all the way through the process.”