Agent and property-matching app packs serious firepower

Inman News   | By: Teke Wiggin

November 19, 2015

Agent and property-matching app packs serious firepower

Would you like to pinpoint listings in pet-friendly neighborhoods with low crime? After you’ve found some favorites, how about connecting with the local real estate agent proven to help buyers get the best price on those types of properties?

That’s the kind of holistic real estate experience OpenHouse is purporting to offer. The mobile app is one of the most powerful property search tools to reach consumers yet; it’s the result of a product merger engineered by an agent-matching service with lots of cash to spend.

Santa Monica, California-based OpenHouse wraps transaction data-based agent matching with lifestyle-based property search into a real estate resource with serious firepower, blending rich neighborhood data with property information and passing off leads to agents.

fypio + OpenHouse = one robust app

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Agent Ace, an agent-matching service that pairs consumers with agents based on transaction data, built OpenHouse by snapping up the home search app fypio and merging it with Agent Ace’s agent-matching search technology.

Agent Ace itself has rebranded as “OpenHouse” in debuting its app. It’s also revealed that it has plenty of gas to fuel the product’s growth, announcing that it had closed a $13.5 million Series A funding round, bringing its total funding to just shy of $20 million.

A desktop version of OpenHouse, currently only available as an iPhone app, will launch shortly at theopenhouse.com.

16 markets and counting

OpenHouse covers 16 metropolitan areas and will expand to serve additional markets nationwide in early 2016.

While online real estate search may be a crowded space, OpenHouse is betting that it carve out a foothold by leveraging property and agent search capabilities to generate leads and hand them off to agents for referral fees.

OpenHouse enables buyers to home in on properties based on their desired neighborhood characteristics, like school quality and crime level, and preferred home amenities, like swimming pools and “outdoor living.”

The app also serves up a trove of neighborhood information, including income and racial breakdowns, and shows what neighbors like to watch (for example, “day time soaps” or boxing), read, do for fun (for example, “buy collectibles by phone” or “go to soccer games”) and where they shop (Rite Aid or Duane Reade, for example).

Social media integration and matching users with agents

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CLICK TO TWEE

OpenHouse augments its listing pages with social media content as well. Users can see Instagram photos and tweets posted by neighbors to get a feel for a community.

Listing pages offer the option for users to connect with the agent who is touted as most likely to get them the best price on the property.

OpenHouse matches agents with consumers based on agents’ transaction history, using criteria including price range, school district and demographics to make pairings. It co-lists sellers and co-represents buyers with agents, pocketing a slice of the commission earned by agents who close deals with consumers referred by the company.

OpenHouse began powering an agent-matching tool on the real estate section of U.S. News & World Report in August 2014. More recently, it agreed to power agent-matching tools for a homeowners insurance provider, a “membership group” and two employee benefit platforms, OpenHouse previously told Inman.

OpenHouse says its agent-matching services covers 75 major U.S. metro areas and that it holds real estate broker licenses in 37 states (typically you need a broker license to charge referral fees to agents). The startup said it had joined 160 multiple listing services, the source of the transaction data it uses to match agents with consumers, in June 2015.

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