When it comes to those large real estate websites, sometimes it appears as though the model is not fully optimized for the benefit of the consumer or an agent. Here’s why:
Consumers have difficulty getting all the information they need unless they fill out a lead form or call an agent first. Agents get shut out of areas because they are not paying enough.
Realstir is out to change all that. This San Diego based company is taking an entirely new approach to real estate websites and the marketplace. They want to give consumers the friction-free tools they need to look for a home at their own pace and under their own terms.
They also want to give agents a legitimate shot to prove they are the experts in their neighborhoods. Not based on how much they pay, but on how well they contribute to the consumer’s quest for knowledge.
“Consumers are sick and tired of being bombarded by emails and phone calls,” said Marina Tringali, Director of Marketing. “Our mission is to serve the consumers by helping them learn more about a community first.”
To achieve that, Realstir’s search process lets the consumers stay anonymous on their website and their app. Unlike other real estate websites, Realstir allows consumers to look at listings, search hyper-local community information and ask agents questions, without giving up their contact information. Their privacy is protected.
“They are in charge. Their names are not released to the agents until they are ready,” she said.
This enables consumers to learn more about a neighborhood on their own, and not through the filter of somebody trying to sell them something.
Realstir Partners With Home Junction for Real Estate Websites & Data
To help achieve this goal, Realstir has partnered with Home Junction Inc., a national real estate data provider and website developer.
Home Junction supplies the MLS feed directly onto the site. It is continually updated in short bursts of time, so property data is very current. The company is able to supply local data drilled down to particular neighborhoods.
For example, when a consumer visits a listing on Realstir, they can also see charts for the “Number of Sales” in the area for the past few quarters and the “Sales Prices.” That’s incredibly valuable in determining trends.
There is also a chart for local demographics for that area–incomes, education, genders, number of households, households with children, average length of residency, and whether the crime rate is high, average or below average. etc.
On the app, there is detailed school information. Finding out where a child will be attending school can be just as important as the home itself.
Another chart shows “Cost of Living Index”—very important to families. It gives them a sense as to whether costs in this area for clothing, education, healthcare, good, transportation or utilities are above or below average.
In fact, there’s an “Area Mashup” that will show a home buyer how that area compares to other sections around the country. If you are moving from New York, for example, it might be very helpful to know how the new neighborhood measures up. Will there be a significant savings in overall expenditures for my family? Is everything much more expensive? That alone could be a major deciding factor for a buyer.
Realstir even shows data about the weather. Maybe not a big deal, but it would be nice to know how hot or cold it is and how much rain or snow the place gets. A warmer climate sometimes can be a big catalyst to make an immediate offer.
At that point, many home buyers don’t want agents calling or emailing them. They are not ready. They are still on a fact-finding mission.
But if the consumer looks at this data or the listing and has a question, there is a convenient “Chat Now” button right there for them to use.
As everyone in the business knows, buying a home is the largest financial transaction most people will ever engage in. The process can be stressful and tiring. Realstir aims to lessen the overall anxiety as much as possible.
All this real estate data in the hands of consumers give them a sense that they are truly in charge of the process and able to find the key, unbiased information they need to help them with their buying decisions.
“We take pride in giving consumers up-to-date information,” she said.
Grant Gould, VP of Marketing with Home Junction added, “We are very excited to be involved in this partnership with Realstir. We appreciate their passion for providing consumers with a comprehensive package of current listings and local data to make them better-informed. You can really tell they are going the extra mile to help home buyers.”
You can imagine how this empowers home buyers when they do decide they want to talk to an agent on Realstir. They have basic knowledge about the neighborhood, and it also gives them the ability to ask smarter questions.
“So far the feedback has been very, very positive,” said Marina. “People are very impressed.”
Realstir’s dedication to the consumer is about to go further. With an innovation that is truly a game changer.
They have started a “Try Before You Buy” program where people can actually live in a home listing for a few days. How incredible is that?
This way a family can truly get a feel for their investment. Does the neighbor next store have a kennel of barking dogs? Or are the neighbors great and told us some insights about the local schools we didn’t know? Is the backyard lighting cooler at night than we ever imagined? Now that they used the kitchen, do they realize this property is a good fit for them?
All those questions a home buyer typically wishes they could experience in real time would now actually be possible. That’s a huge step in making a decision much easier, just like test-driving a car.
Realstir also has a model that helps agents take charge as well. They created a model where agents will be featured in a neighborhood not because they “purchased” an exclusive for that market but based more on how much relative information they provide about that neighborhood.
The agent gets to show why they are truly the right agent for a home buyer.
This process pays off for the consumer who benefits from the information and it pays off for the agent who works hard to show they have the local knowledge and understanding of that market.
Realstir will be free for consumers and will charge licensed real estate agents and brokers a monthly subscription fee to participate.
The company actually started first as an app, when builder Walid Romaya noticed it was very difficult to find real-time information on real estate websites about trends in the local markets. The app has easy to use navigation and bright, colorful graphics.
From there, the Realstir app evolved into a dynamic website, chock full of information.
With their mission to truly serve home buyers and with their partnership with Home Junction to provide up-to-date, accurate hyper-local information, you can tell Realstir will stir up the real estate business.
They definitely stand put among other real estate websites and are moving to a whole new level on how to truly help home buyers perform the analysis they need to make a more informed, less stressful decision.