HomeStack is a mobile solution for today’s agent: Tech Review


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HomeStack is a customizable, mobile-first white-label business app.

Platforms: Browser; iOS

Ideal for: Independent brokerages, teams and individual agents

Top selling points:

  • Consumer-driven UX/UI
  • Easy CRM integrations
  • Emphasis on personalization
  • Real-time listing updates/MLS connections
  • Middle-funnel focus
  • Home search experience

Top concerns:

Redundancy. Some teams may see their CRM or franchise-provided mobile solution as an alternative. There was a time when I would say to go that route, given that you’re already paying for it, the data is there and so is the name recognition. I’m not 100 percent on that anymore.

What you should know

HomeStack is mobile app Lego, a build-as-you-go solution for independent brokerages to create powerful, consumer-facing business applications with features on par with much more expensive scratch-built software. HomeStack comes with home search functionality, CRM, on-board communications with two-way activity notifications, lead routing, tour scheduling and other tools that should match the expectations of any tech-savvy tech admin or broker wanting to find new ways to add value to their operation.

HomeStack has linked up with 200 multiple listing services to ensure its listing data is tightly integrated. Applications built by users are heavily personalized with custom names that need to be approved by the App Store, and each comes with download trackers and user behavior alerts for agents to know by whom and when the application is being used.

It includes vendor promotions and nods to in-house partners (mortgage, for example), driving tour features, two-way save search alerts, agent profile pages with links to social accounts and the ability to separately market exclusive listings if desired.

MLS Data No Shadow

The home search experience is as good as consumers can ask for and almost always my primary concern when looking at apps made for agents to re-sell to customers. This is because the company expressed an admiration for what Zillow has built, as opposed to so many others who point to Zillow as this Godzilla-like leviathan that needs to be taken down. You should know by now, it’s not going to happen. Smart business people learn from their category leaders instead of attempting to carve out weaknesses to serve as motivators for assault.

HomeStack’s search looks terrific and is best summarized as not giving the consumer any reason to look elsewhere. Good software design doesn’t have to be better, it merely needs to be a dependable alternative with a few things that help it be its own thing. Some people love Nike. Others prefer Reebok. It’s often that simple.

Dashboard 2

There’s a sharp vertical card view of homes for sale, map views and a grid-based look at what’s out there, which then drives the consumer to a tour scheduler, open house registration or general call-to-action for more information. This is where in-house lenders can be promoted, searches saved and the listing agent’s profile page can be found.

It’s all vertically aligned, further powered by administrative controls that allow for the granular coordination of consumer notifications, either via email or push, the latter of which I believe is more effective when you can consider the level of obsession buyers have with new market information. Remember, buyers are bananas when it comes to wanting to see what’s new and different. Don’t try to stay ahead of them; let technology do that.

Know that two-way listing status alerts are not at all new, but the context here is different because HomeStack is providing it in a white-labeled app and it’s done at a level that, again, reflects very much what a customer app developer would deliver if hired for the project. However, I would argue your app developer isn’t going to handle the 200 MLS feed connections. “Yeah, that’s on you to handle.”  No thanks.

Activity Feed

Linking up your CRM feed is done on the backend upon set-up and ongoing management via some easy drop-down menus and a short list of settings. HomeStack works alongside Lofty, Wise Agent, MoxiWorks, Follow Up Boss, Inside Real Estate, Sierra Interactive and others. This then allows for the agent to include in their app functionality for mass outreach via a tagging system, a core tenet of streamlined communication systems.

Many CRMs and marketing tools use tags to define user groups, and I’m always a fan because of its simple categorization of business intelligence, in the way that Slack and Trello excel in these capacities.

Clearly, there is some overlap with any existing mobile options your current CRM may offer, but those types of enterprise installations are not as common among smaller brokerages, independents and teams, which might be part of why the company centers its sales around them. HomeStack can help a 50-agent company offer a technological advantage, as it’s much, much easier to get that many agents uniformly behind a software solution than 1,000 or more.

The roadmap is exciting for HomeStack. Users have a lot of sharp advancements to look forward to integrating with their branded app. There’s an activity feed module for the consumer, an engaging way to keep them in the loop, a Threads feature for consolidating communications (chats/alerts) according to listing, a decision the company made based on the idea that “every listing should have its own narrative,” a phrase I told them outright I’m going to steal.

Agent Insights Analytics2

The Agent Insights tool is getting made over as I write this. It’s an existing app option that gives agent-users a look into their clients’ interest in listings, app downloads and other helpful metrics. The company will also be launching a number of widgets and be rolling out a GPT-driven reporting module.

HomeStack told me during our demo that it’s rolled out a partnership with LiveEasy, an end-to-end relocation and home management solution. I’m excited to see where this goes, as LiveEasy is one of the better consumer-forward companies supporting the many ways in which real estate interacts with everyday life.

The advantage to using a branded mobile experience for business is many-fold, but in truth, good ones are not easy to find because it’s too big a lift for the agent. HomeStack is a b-to-b-to-c model, meaning it’s a business selling a product to a business that sells its version of that product to a consumer. Agents are not in software sales. (I argue often that a lot of agents aren’t even very good at selling homes.)

Chats

However, HomeStack makes it easier to sell an app because it decided to center on independent brokerages (a more compact structure makes adoption easier and they tend to have more high-performing, tech-savvy agents). It’s not trying to replicate what’s already good by not trying to build its own CRM, for example, and, most importantly to me, the company decided to do what more proptechs should: Start with what the consumer expects, then provide the agent with a way to meet that expectation.

I’m a little embarrassed at not having reached out to this company before now. However, based on our chat, it seems the timing is better now than it would have been five or 10 years ago.

Companies need time to sit with their decisions, and for the market to give them the input they need to better meet it. I was called out by a PR representative for a recent review in which I made note of a founder’s experience-based naivete impacting his product decisions. I can see the potential of the subject’s product, and I can see exactly what mistakes they’re making. I also know that the person is likely to eventually agree with me.

After all, there’s no better teacher than time.

Now, go build an app.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.





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