Homespin now has 120 days of public testing under their belt
Three months ago, Homespin launched in public beta, marrying the visual web with online real estate search, enriching the search experience for consumers and modernizing home shopping. After endless testing and user feedback, the Austin-based startup is adding more features and strengthening the offering, especially for real estate professionals.
After extensive testing, Homespin‘s collaborative filtering and prediction engine has been designed to be simplified, easier to use, and now features a feed for users that highlights their activities and a feed that Realtors see in the back end showcasing their client’s activities on the site, whether they like a photo of a kitchen, or leave a private message for the agent (or their spouse) about a listing. A new messaging feature is not officially, but very fondly dubbed internally by our news team as the “marriage saver,” allowing couples to communicate openly and easily throughout their hunt.
Because nearly 40 percent of home buyers initiate their home search over 120 days in advance, Homespin understands the “lookie lous” and caters well to those who want to enjoy the search process and refine their requirements prior to signing on any dotted lined. Additionally, because a consumer can only select one Realtor as their “trusted” Realtor who has access to their activities, the social referral platform is resonating with users and real estate professionals, which makes sense as Nielsen reports that 92 percent of consumers say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.
This gives Homespin an advantage in home search, and what they are seeking to do is unique and their new features are built on the idea that not only should clients’ activities be actionable (ex: call when you see someone continues to like images of bright kitchens, pointing them to a listing you know could fit), but that they should be integrated into an agent’s workflow. This caught our attention because with the new features (which we will outline in detail below), Homespin simplifies the process for an agent and brings together pieces that are often discombobulated in the real estate profession.
Details about the new features
Aside from the “marriage saver,” most of the new features are beefed up for real estate professionals.
- My Referral Network – as a Realtor, all of your Facebook friends and all clients who endorse (or “trust” you on Homespin) are automatically referred to you and those who endorse you are automatically referred to their friends as well, expanding your sphere of influence, always pointing back to you.
- Endorsement Opportunities – Homespin says that “Each person who endorses you also refers their friends to you, adding to your Endorsed Referrals. In other words, even if your friends or clients aren’t shopping for a home right now, if any of their friends are, they will see a friend has endorsed you!”
- Notes and Messages – as mentioned above, all users, both Realtors and consumers, have an inbox where clients can add notes to a property or picture and their agent is notified so they can join the conversation, taking them directly to the property listing page so no one has to search through email chains for relevant information. This is an extremely streamlined way to organize buyer communications.
- My Property Listings – listing agents can get in on the action too, as they get actionable feedback by discovering which pictures don’t appeal to buyers so they can replace them, and impress sellers by sending listing performance data and social buzz information to sellers.
For listing agents and buyers’ agents, these features improve communications, the ability to see if listing pictures are resonating, not to mention the inability to game the system of endorsements being a huge step in the right direction for real estate search. While the company is young and is only available in select markets, they plan to go national with their sights set on improving the industry from the inside out – and in a stale industry that has bored us with their lackluster innovations, it is nice to see a new approach.
Photo tour of the new Homespin: