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Homebldr's property valuation reports are highlight of new model: Tech Review

Recognizing the uphill of battle of competing in the iBuyer space, Homebldr took its smarts in home value analysis, search and agent support and applied that to an argument for helping agents better serve the investor market
Investment analysis

Homebldr is software for real estate agents to use when working with clients who want to buy investment property to rent or fix and flip.

Homebldr provides agents with extensive tools to empower investor clients

Platforms: Browser
Ideal for: Brokers and teams
Initial date reviewed: Feb. 2022
Updated: Aug. 2023

Top selling points:

  • Comprehensive property reporting
  • Agent-first resources
  • In-depth after-repair valuations
  • Categorized investment grading

Top concern:

Homebldr is entering a fast-moving competitive category that will pit it against some already established players, such as Plunk, Backflip and Picket Homes, which will soon enter the residential space after years of focusing on investment analysis for large-scale multi-family.

What you should know

Homebldr launched as a way for brokerages to grade homes and create internal iBuyer scenarios as an alterative to the larger operations in that space. However, smartly, it has pivoted, given the collective market response to the concept of selling to a corporate entity. IBuying exists still, and has room to move in the industry, but Homebldr’s founding team saw what the writing on the wall was saying to an operation of its size. What the company did was take its smarts in home value analysis, search and agent support and apply that to an argument for helping agents better serve the investor market, which in many ways is offering a way to stay active in a languishing market.

Homebldr starts off with an easy search process, engaging the agent (or consumer) to lookup an existing property of interest for their client or to unearth something that might be worth pitching to investor clients. This is a great impetus, by the way, for agents to poke around their CRM for any clients that have expressed interest in buying rental property or in doing a flip. Use Homebldr to find a few options, buy its property reports, and send them off in an email.

On that note, a listing page presents nicely, using a consumer-grade visual interface with touches that nod to the real estate professional, such as the dialogue box depicting Value Add Potential,  an investment grade, an overall score and an assigned category, such as “Risky,” “Potential Tear-Down,” or “Average Value Add Opportunity,” among others. Other financials are offered in line-item format to give users enough to take the next step, if warranted. There are location analytics (key to ROI on any investment), fluctuation forecasts and comps are given in either a list view or scrolling carousel. If you really want it, the listing pages also include all the fundamental MLS data points, which are always asked for by new and growing investors, for whom I think Homebldr is ideal.

The application’s value is ultimately in its Property Reports — lengthy PDFs that leave little reason to ever pick up the calculator. Agents can easily share parts or all of a report with a client, and should likely default to hitting the high points, and then sending it on to them to peruse. The report combines simple grading, pros and cons, and digestible financials. It should be easy for any level of newbie to know what they’re looking at, and how to take the next step.

My great hope is that Homebldr works toward bringing its reports into the application in dynamic fashion, providing secure URLs for agents to share with clients, leveraging in-app collaboration, messaging and high-level transaction management. It doesn’t need to be Dotloop, but an action-plan-type experience would offer a lot of value to both the agent and the buyer. It can also use collapsible menus for clean division of report sections, and comments for each section of analysis to help along the anxious new investor.

The report as a stand-alone deliverable suggests that after that, there isn’t a whole lot of reason to jump back into the system, relegating Homebldr to merely a property analysis tool. That’s well and good, but it’s so close to being more than that, especially considering that it allows for the buyer to request financing through a list of 10 lending partners. It does have an admin section for the agents to track reports they’ve purchased over the weeks and months of working with investor clients.

The reports contain a wide array of absolutely useful data and suggestions, such as room-by-room renovation priority ranking, comps for homes after renovation, financials for flipping scenarios, repair cost estimates and even a recommended contractor and list of those top-rated for specific tasks.

There’s no doubt Homebldr’s new product takes a lot of out of the hands of the agent, and I would know — I used to do this kind of work for clients. It’s fragmented and tedious. But I have little doubt that Homebldr will continue to grow as a resource for agents who want to work more often with investors. And trust me, agents who understand how to buy non-traditional market property end up becoming referred to a lot in local investment circles. Go make some more money while your regular buyer clients continue to attend open houses.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? 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.

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