UPDATE: BrightDoor is set to release the iOS version of HomeRover in March 2020 with the Android version in April 2020.
Busy, determined house hunters are about to get a timely assist from Rover–or, more accurately, HomeRover, a new app from BrightDoor that’s designed to connect agents and prospective buyers/renters through live virtual home showings.
“Maybe the simplest analogy for it is ‘the CarFax of real estate shopping,’” says BrightDoor CEO Michael Worthington. “More than a third of all homes are purchased sight-unseen, so what if you could give those buyers an opportunity to verify the home listing by previewing the property—live in real time, with questions and answers along the way—prior to planning an in-person tour?
“We think that’d be extremely valuable for everyone involved,” he continues. “As hosts, agents get a stream of new leads and get to avoid the extra time and hassles involved with trekking prospects out to homes that aren’t a great fit. Buyers, on the other hand, get a real, authentic, ‘right-now’ perspective on home from the convenience of their couch. It doesn’t matter if they live eight miles away or eight states away. Agents and house hunters are both participating in the whole showing experience right from their phones.”
Real estate thought leaders will get a sneak peek at BrightDoor during the Inman Connect 2019 Las Vegas conference on July 22 – 26, 2019. They can stop by the BrightDoor booth (#530 in the exhibit space at the ARIA Hotel and Resort) or, better yet, check out a demo during a Partner Showcase presentation hosted by Worthington at 3:45 pm (PST) on Tuesday, July 23.
Creating video tours for residential real estate isn’t especially novel; after all, agents have long since been using built-in or off-the-shelf tools to do video walkthroughs.
But none of those apps are built for agents’ natural workflow and they lack practical, powerful features that benefit both the agent and buyer. (So they risk ending up with a clunky experience that’s more like painfully enduring a friend’s haphazard ‘vacation video diary’ than it is viewing a professionally produced property showing.)
Worthington says HomeRover’s “biggies” for agents include:
- Connecting with new opportunities — As home shoppers request HomeRover showings, agents gain access to new prospects who they might otherwise not find.
- Helping with remote shoppers — Agents can help relocation and sight-unseen buyers gain confidence in big decisions being made from far away.
- Performing better video home showings — HomeRover, unlike FaceTime™, Skype™ and other standard live video tools, was specifically designed for the virtual home showing experience.
- Creating trust-driven relationships — Since agents sharing virtual showings through HomeRover are providing authentic, as-is perspectives on a home, they’re using transparency to help get buyers to a “go” or “no-go” decision faster.
“Agents have enough to keep up with that we wanted to ensure that HomeRover was super-easy to use,” Worthington adds. “So ‘simple’ and ‘smart’ have been key watchwords. Same holds true for the other side of the line. Busy house hunters are always looking for ways to cut time, and so we’re developing HomeRover in a way that makes it a cinch to browse, plan and participate in a live virtual showing.” Home buyers and renters will also be able to take advantage of these HomeRover benefits:
- They get to go “beyond the listing” — Since buyers are interacting with the video host in real time, they can ask questions about conditions the online listing can’t convey – sounds, smells, sense of place, etc.
- They can stay uber-organized — HomeRover lets house hunters schedule, prepare, watch and replay home showing videos and snapshots–all from the convenience of a single app.
- They can collect second opinions — House hunters can use the app to quickly and easily share showing videos and snapshots with family and friends.
- They can save money . . . lots of it — Users can view an unlimited number of HomeRover showings for free.
“Today’s house hunters demand ‘reality,’ ‘reach’ and ‘convenience,’” Worthington explains. “They want to be able to schedule remote home showings at their convenience and they want to see as many homes as possible in as little time as possible. And most important, they want authenticity. They basically want to come as close to experiencing the property as they can before committing to buying or renting it.”
BrightDoor is already identifying its launch markets for HomeRover’s introduction, slated for fall 2019, when the app will be available through the Apple App Store® and Google Play ™. Agents interested in learning more about HomeRover can visit www.homeroverapp.com for more information and to subscribe to launch alerts.