Homebldr is looking to help brokers analyze property value pre- and post-renovation to provide sellers with internal iBuyer infrastructure. It can analyze single properties or entire neighborhoods.
After a momentous year for iBuyers, where do instant offer companies like Offerpad, Opendoor and Redfin Now go from here? All February, Inman will dig into iBuyers to determine what the new year has in store, where opportunities lie for real estate agents and what brokerages should expect. It’s iBuyer Month at Inman.
Homebldr provides brokers with iBuyer property analysis and property acquisition software.
Ideal for: Brokers and teams
Top selling points:
- Widescale community analysis
- Multiple levels of renovation quality
- Renovation templates
- Post-project valuations
- Connected lending partners
The concept of iBuying is running headlong into the already long-established tradition of house-flipping. While this software offers a lot of useful tools for understanding how home repairs and upgrades affect value, it’s a good example of how the two ideas overlap.
What you should know
Homebldr is looking to help brokers analyze property value pre- and post-renovation to provide sellers with internal iBuyer infrastructure. It can analyze single properties or entire neighborhoods. This is software for brokerages looking to offer an alternative to popular third-party institutional buyers.
At its heart, Homebldr is a home search tool for brokers and their agents. Its functionality gives users ways to search properties according to potential renovation ROI and compare that to existing market values. Plunk does this, too.
Different forms of renovations can be applied to a home, filtered by room and cost level (DIY, At Cost, Professional). There’s even a list of renovation templates for homes that may not need complete custom projects to be ready for market.
Whereas a more traditional search interface would integrate things like lifestyle amenities, high-quality photos and video, and colorful narratives on property details, this software is deeply layered with the physical history and internal qualities of a property. But again, it’s not designed for the eyes of the consumer.
Thus, Homebldr offers a much more clinical search approach, using limited photography assets and relying on visuals and data pulled from the user’s MLS, and updated according to that association’s standards.
There’s no mechanism for brokerages to necessarily consider the retail, commercial and natural amenities that contribute to home value. It’s very construction-minded.
Even though it’s not ultimately designed to be consumer-facing, at some point an agent offering to be an iBuyer is going to have to show the seller something to sell them on the idea. This is one place where Homebldr might struggle.
Homebldr offers an in-depth PDF report that breaks down how selected renovations will increase the value of a home. Still, there’s no final, dynamic presentation tool to “wow” homeowners, which I’d say is essential when admittedly trying to build a tool to help brokers compete with the likes of Opendoor and Offerpad. It’s also important because most of these conversations are being had in living rooms or, more likely, over Zoom. Presentation quality counts.
Naturally, a broker can’t become an iBuyer unless they have access to capital. Homebldr has in place a selection of vendor partners ready to lend to brokers so they can act when a seller wants to forego the open market. It also offers a list of local service providers who can provide final project quotes and potentially be of service broken down even according to room-by-room or project specialties, such as those best for decks or roofs.
I think Homebldr’s communitywide map search functionality is pretty sharp. A user can peruse an entire neighborhood for homes that offer the most renovation potential, which is why it didn’t surprise me when Homebldr mentioned in our demo that it’s seen some attention from institutional investors.
That’s who I think brokers should target with this software. It has some nice functionality and a decent UI/UX, but ultimately, iBuyers are built on service. It’s about convenience and efficiency.
Even though the tool is ultimately a way for brokers to internally analyze properties to “iBuy,” they’re going to have to have a team in place to manage the renovations and the user experience. National iBuyers are built for this, they have funding at the ready and internal workflows in place to swiftly run sellers through their process.
Granted, it’s not Homebldr’s intent to offer that end of the iBuyer experience, but brokers are going to need it for their investment in software to pay off. In short, an individual broker needs more than property valuation analytics to make an iBuyer experience worth what it’s sold as.
Many of the better CMA tools on the market offer ways to smartly integrate iBuyer comparisons into vibrant interactive displays, and most iBuyers openly collaborate with agents. In short, Homebldr’s competition isn’t pulling any punches.
I see Homebldr as one cog in a machine that needs a lot more parts for brokers to get it to function. There’s certainly something here, but I’m not sure the iBuyer market is where it’ll be found.
Homebldr remains in private beta in 22 counties in northern Illinois and is seeking funding in the coming year.
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.