Imagine if Facebook compensated users for every like, image post or ad campaign they started. That’s the idea behind Blimp’s approach to bettering the industry.
Blimp is a home search collaboration tool for consumers, agents and related service professionals that compensates users for their data.
Platforms: Mobile app for iOS, Android and browser
Ideal for: Individual agents, teams and brokerages; consumers; home sale service providers
Top selling points:
- Fully mobile on both platforms
- Flexibility in collaboration
- Task management
- Blockchain connectivity
Several CRM tools that include transaction management cover much of what this app provides. However, if you’re seeking a primarily mobile solution for deal collaboration, this might work well for you.
What you should know
Blimp is an app that coordinates home search and its related tasks and workflows between buyers and sellers, their agents and their recommended service providers, such as attorneys, mortgage officers, etc.
It’s chat-heavy, using contact information from existing device contacts (or invited), and it allows for conversations to be marked public or private. For example, the latter is useful when the lender wants to ask only the agent and aspiring borrower.
Tasks can be assigned in the app, too. Agents can assign their buyer to provide additional documentation about a particular pocket of money, and the seller can task their listing agent to find an inspector. The app nicely orchestrates all tasks in a timeline view for at-a-glance oversight.
There’s a listings component to the app, as well. For now, Blimp allows a URL from any portal to be pasted into a conversation for consideration. Buyers can tap to pass on it, accept it or share it with others in the group to chat about.
I’m a fan of group shopping when it comes to listings. Agents have long dealt with the specter of influence from friends or an over-involved parent, so it’s best to get them involved in the deal as early as possible.
You can also share documents in the app’s chats, but it’s not an overly productive component, especially if it’s a document needing to be downloaded and signed.
Blimp doesn’t include any version control, so a signed document can exist in the same topic as its signed counterpart, which leads to confusion over version control, which is never good. Timestamps would help here, as would an automatic over-write function of the unsigned version.
Above and beyond the benefits of chatting about homes and facilitating deal flow, Blimp is also a licensed broker in its current markets of Washington, D.C., and Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona.
This allows Blimp to collect and distribute the cryptocurrency tokens that underlie the app’s mission to share the value of real estate data across the transaction platform.
In layman’s terms, everyone gets paid, even buyers and sellers. For example, if a consumer signs up for the app on their own and willingly enters their home’s address and general listing information, the company will reward them with a HOME token.
(This is partially why Blimp is building its own home search portal.)
Consumers are also compensated for finding and engaging with an agent through the app. In those instances, the agent pays Blimp a referral fee, which goes into the central pot for eventual distribution to all others.
Agents can earn them for every additional service provider they invite into the app and vice versa.
Obviously, each client they use earns them a token, as does any pre-market listing they enter into Blimp’s search portal. In essence, any form of market data gets the party providing it a token.
Funds for the tokens come from pro-level account fees and a partnership with the HOME Network Foundation.
The idea is to increase the market’s willingness to participate in the real estate ecosystem and place value on the information that powers it.
Conceptually, it’s a great idea. Imagine if Facebook compensated users for every like, image post or ad campaign they started. That’s the idea.
That said, this is a very challenging concept to promote, as the blockchain and the cryptocurrencies that rely on it collectively remain a vague concept to the general populace.
Even Blimp’s primary target — first time millennial homebuyers — are not as up to speed on it as the market might think. And I would imagine a minimal number of buyers and sellers would choose Blimp solely for this reason.
It’s not the idea that concerns me; it’s its place in the market. It’s already tough for agents to get offers accepted and sellers to list; why would adding a crypto-infused app make it easier? It seems like a distraction from the app’s core value proposition.
Maybe I’m wrong; perhaps the Blimp team is way ahead of me on this. That would be cool because, again, I believe companies should compensate people for their data.
One last concern, though: If I upload my house into Blimp to receive a HOME token for the data, who owns it when I sell? Will the data have multiple owners?
I suppose that’s what the blockchain is there to certify.
Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.
Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.