Tech Crunch | February 17, 2016
By: Frederic Lardinois
When it comes to searching for a new house or apartment to buy, the typical search experience usually focuses solely on geography, number of rooms and square footage. Over time, Zillow, Redfin and others have slowly added a few more search criteria, but OpenHouse takes all of this a step further by also helping you find a home and neighborhood that fits your lifestyle.
Are you looking for a dog-friendly neighborhood, for example? Chances are most other sites can’t quite help you there, but because the OpenHouse team has mapped local dog parks, it can tell you if a certain home is a good fit for you. Or you are looking for a solar-powered house with an open floor plan and a pool in a low-crime neighborhood that’s also kid-friendly?
In addition to the usual crime and demographic data about the neighborhood, the team also aggregates public geotagged postings on Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites. It then analyzes them to give you an idea of what your neighbors are interested in.
OpenHouse is now available on iOS, desktop and the mobile web and features listings in 14 metro areas, including San Francisco, San Jose, Greater Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C./Bethesda, Miami and Boston.
As OpenHouse Chief Product Officer John Kvasnic told me, the team already has relationships with over 200 multiple listing services (which essentially have the monopoly on local real estate listing data in a given market) and plans to expand to new regions at a rapid clip.
OpenHouse is actually the result of the merger of two services: Santa Monica’s Agent Ace and Toronto’s fypio in November 2015. Agent Ace was a data-driven real estate recommendation service also ranked real estate agents and fypio was a lifestyle-driven home search engine. You can definitely see the DNA of these two services in OpenHouse.
To monetize the service, OpenHouse still uses Agent Ace’s technology to analyze all of the agents who are active in a given area and then helps its users to connect them to the best agent for their needs. The company then gets a cut when it connects a buy and agent and a sale is completed. If there is no sale, the company makes nothing, so it definitely has an incentive to connect you to the best agent.
OpenHouse closed a $13.5 million Series A round last November. The round was led by Triangle Peak Partners and March Capital Partners. Before the merger, Agent Ace and fypio raised $6 million and $2.5 million respectively.