Torii is a multifaceted brokerage that has both salaried and independent agents and focuses primarily on millennial first-time homebuyers.
Are you receiving Inman’s Agent Edge? Make sure you’re subscribed here for the latest on real estate technology from Inman’s expert Craig Rowe.
Torii’s Homebuyer Dashboard is an interactive search management experience for buyers working with Torii agents.
Platforms: iOS app; browser
Ideal for: Homebuyers; Torii agents
Top Selling Points
- Flexible mobile/desktop experience
- Lifestyle-first search
- Image categorization and room comparison
- Staff- and agent-assisted search
- Compelling user interface
Torii is a multifaceted brokerage that has both salaried and independent agents and focuses primarily on millennial first-time homebuyers, the very demographic most affected by current market conditions. If the company can find its audience in today’s market, it should see long-term success.
What You Should Know
Torii’s consumer-facing software is an ideal search management solution for its agents’ clients. Instead of sending their leads listings in the hope they’ll become a client, buyers are connected to Torii’s software after establishing a relationship. It’s not a third-party portal or mere value-add, it’s the primary connecting tissue between Torii agents and their clients. It’s also a very smart, innovative search solution.
Torri believes that technology should follow the consumer, that when a need arises, software can better enable people to meet it. People and software, not only software.
Consumers, for example, want to be able to compare not only houses but rooms within each house. If a buyer is trying to choose between two places, it’s usually price or specific features that drive the choice.
Torii’s search functionality removes the debate on the front end, allowing users to categorize and view listings room-by-room by selecting the order of appearance of published listing photos. That’s cool. It also allows for sorting according to room quality, which is accomplished by reading the appliances, finishes and general state of the room in the image.
The machine learning behind the image analysis was developed in-house.
But I’ve put the cart first. The horse powering it all is a simple home-personalization quiz that’s deployed upon account setup. It lets clients select images that overlap with home preferences, detail wants and needs, asks about activities and hobbies, location preferences and even specific targeted neighborhoods. This data, used to drive initial home selection, is historically derived from an extended lead courtship (lead nurture) to earn business, or partially deduced by sending homes to see what sticks.
Torii’s engaging, app-inspired UX deftly captures this data and makes the process fun, not obligatory or administrative. It’s not a hospital intake form.
Assigned agents of Torii, as well as salaried account executives, are ever present in the dashboard, always a click or chat box away from the upper right viewer’s corner.
Account reps handle initial client onboarding, turning over guidance to licensed agents when legally or operationally critical. A lot of it is done over text and chat. In short, the relationship has multiple points of trained, professional contact.
The main navigation menu categorizes activity modules by Search, Favorites, Saved Searches, a Tours calendar and my favorite, a menu of useful widgets, called Homebuying tools.
This library of power-ups gives the user all kinds of ways to stay engaged and learn more about buying and selling. The Best Buys tool surfaces under-priced homes in pockets of more expensive comps and the Comps Chomper — the comps chomper — puts the power of the CMA into the hands of the client, giving them the same kind of home and market stats from which to build a fairly solid analysis. There’s also a Price Pointer that presents market data pricing and list versus sale price ratios by ZIP code.
The Fixer Finder is for the investor or buyer who doesn’t mind getting splinters, while the Random Home tool lets window shoppers enter a location and price maximum and swipe through full-screen randomly-generated listing pages. Hey, that’s fun.
A few years ago I reviewed a browser extension that allowed groups of people to create conversations around listings on any search site. It was the first iteration I saw of group search, which is now common, and increasingly critical to a buyer’s opinion of a home.
Torii’s HomeBuzz is similar. Designed for Chrome, the social shopping experience will work on top of Torii, Zillow, Redfin and other major portals, empowering users to share their thoughts on a friend’s potential new home. Participants can offer ratings, be notified of trending listings, down- or up-vote selections and even create a leaderboard.
All that’s left is for Torii to get aspiring home buyers to pay attention. Like Prevu and Luke, Torii is yet another alternative brokerage that doubles the amount of customer experience in the relationship recipe. They don’t hope that email newsletters and a barrage of new listings sent at arm’s length between phone calls will be enough to win business. These companies are giving clients something real to engage with, value ahead of the deal.
I see Torii and its ilk as precedent-setters. My demo didn’t reveal an industry-ignorant provocateur set on disparaging the way most agents do business. Maybe they won’t make it, maybe I’m overly eager to see what’s next.
But if Torii the brokerage doesn’t last, it won’t be because they don’t know how to build real estate software.
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.