Former Zillow executives Greg Schwartz and Carey Armstrong have launched an artificial intelligence-powered home search portal under their company, Tomo. The portal is available to homebuyers in 21 states.

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Another company is entering the portal war.

Former Zillow executives Greg Schwartz and Carey Armstrong announced on Tuesday the launch of Tomo Real Estate, an offshoot of four-year-old mortgage startup Tomo. Tomo Real Estate relies on OpenAI-powered free-text search capabilities that enable homebuyers to describe their perfect home to Tomo Real Estate conversationally, rather than use multiple search filters to find the right listing.

Greg Schwartz

Greg Schwartz

“Tomo’s beginnings as a mortgage company set us apart in the real estate industry,” Tomo co-founder and CEO Greg Schwartz said in a prepared statement. “We recognized that the mortgage process was the catastrophe of the real estate transaction, and tackled that first. Now, we’re channeling that motivation into the real estate search.”

Tomo Real Estate uses “computer vision” to process listing photos similarly to the way a human would. So when a buyer asks for “a Seattle home that has a top-of-the-line kitchen with space to entertain, great views and a spot to [work from home],” the platform can easily find listings with those features.

“Let’s face it. The search and find process hasn’t changed much since mobile phones launched,” Schwartz said. “Homebuyers have been stuck adapting to the technology and experiences available, instead of the technology and experience streamlining how people actually search for homes — which is far more nuanced than a zip code, bed and bath count.”

In addition to a more intuitive search experience, each Tomo Real Estate listing includes the current owners’ names and equity based on publicly available records. Tomo said this feature enables homebuyers to better understand a seller’s potential financial situation and understand how they may be able to negotiate.

If a homebuyer needs help navigating the site, they can reach out to a Tomo Real Estate home search adviser through call, text or the chat box under each listing.

Carey Armstrong

“We’re not just another listing portal,” Tomo co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Carey Armstrong said in a press release. “Tomo Real Estate is here to give homebuyers a distinctive advantage with real, actionable insights — not overwhelming them with a buffet of information and ads to decipher alone.”

“Think of Tomo Real Estate as your strategic partner, paving the way for homebuying success,” she added.

Tomo Real Estate is available in 21 states that account for 50 percent of the real estate listings in the U.S. Schwartz told Real Estate News in an exclusive interview on Tuesday that Tomo Real Estate will be nationwide by the end of 2024.

The company has also been testing an agent partnership program with a select group of brokers, such as Texas-based Compass broker Jamie McMartin and Florida-based Keller Williams broker Laurie Finklestein Reader. Schwartz said the experience with McMartin and Finklestein Reader’s teams has been successful and provides the groundwork for a national rollout.

“There’s no way we’re going to have a bigger ad budget than these incumbent giants anytime soon,” Schwartz said of his Tomo’s place in the portal landscape. “But we’re going to compete on having the most innovative product that delights homebuyers.”

Email Marian McPherson

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