Snap Up Your Fu­ture Home with Your Smart­phone There’s an APP for That Called Homes­nap

CAIFU - - Contents - By Cather­ine Skrzyp­in­ski

“Homes­nap makes real es­tate ac­ces­si­ble, in­ter­est­ing and fun for any­one.”

Po­ten­tial­home­buy­ers of­ten be­gin their house hunt by sim­ply tak­ing a stroll around their de­sired neigh­bour­hood. If they see a home they could imag­ine them­selves liv­ing in with their fam­ily, they can take a pic­ture of it on their smart­phone and upload the photo to the Homes­nap app to find out whether it is on the mar­ket. The app will then make as­sess­ments based on the home’s GPS lo­ca­tion.

If the home is for sale, then the app will re­veal its es­ti­mated value, show in­te­rior shots and will al­low the home­buyer to sched­ule a real es­tate show­ing ap­point­ment in­stantly.

CEO and co­founder Guy Wol­cott told CAIFU Thurs­day, Nov. 15, 2016 he built the orig­i­nal Homes­nap.com in his base­ment on nights and week­ends.

With real es­tate listings across the United States, in­clud­ing At­lanta, Austin, Texas, Bos­ton, Chicago, Dal­las/ Fort Worth, Hous­ton, Los An­ge­les, Mi­ami, New York, Or­lando, Palm

Springs, Cal­i­for­nia, Philadel­phia, Phoenix, Port­land, Ore­gon; San An­to­nio, Texas, San Diego, San Fran­cisco, Seat­tle and Wash­ing­ton D.C., Homes­nap is avail­able for iphone, ipad and An­droid de­vices. Around 90 mil­lion homes across the United States are listed on the app.

Nowa­days, the Homes­nap app has a so­cial com­po­nent, where users can store listings of their favourite homes with an In­sta­gram- style photo stream. Users can also con­nect with their friends and fam­ily through Face­book, Twit­ter, text mes­sage or email to share pho­tos and rec­om­men­da­tions. The app also shows places lo­cated nearby much like the app Yelp does, in­clud­ing cof­fee shops, restau­rants and schools.

Be­fore join­ing Homes­nap in 2008 as CEO, Wol­cott was a part­ner at Flex Fund­ing, a Wash­ing­ton, D.C., mort­gage com­pany, from 2004 to 2008. He is also an ac­tive real es­tate in­vestor around the Wash­ing­ton, D.C. metropoli­tan area.

CAIFU re­cently caught up with Wol­cott to

If the home is for sale, then the app will re­veal its es­ti­mated value, show in­te­rior shots and will al­low the home­buyer to sched­ule a real es­tate show­ing ap­point­ment in­stantly.

Homes­nap has made the ex­pe­ri­ence of find­ing the right home much eas­ier and more pro­duc­tive.

find out more where, why and how to house hunt with a smart­phone.

CAIFU: How is Homes­nap rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing buy­ing prop­erty?

Wol­cott: Homes­nap pro­vides home searchers and their real es­tate agents with a pow­er­ful, in­tu­itive, user-friendly mo­bile plat­form that al­lows them to col­lab­o­rate on home searches and get the in­for­ma­tion they need when they are on the go.

We are in­creas­ingly liv­ing in a mo­bile world. Homes­nap has made the ex­pe­ri­ence of find­ing the right home much eas­ier and more pro­duc­tive for peo­ple do­ing it from their phones, tablets and lap­tops – on their sched­ules.

CAIFU: Who came up with the idea for the com­pany? How did you come up with the name?

Wol­cott: I have a deep tech­nol­ogy back­ground, and my co-founder Steve Barnes and I ini­tially set out to es­tab­lish a web- based real es­tate bro­ker­age. We soon re­al­ized, how­ever, that mo­bile was the place to be.

It dawned on me one day that we needed to build a “Shazam ( a mo­bile phone- based mu­sic iden­ti­fi­ca­tion ap­pli­ca­tion) for homes” – some­thing that you can only do with your smart­phone. That’s how Homes­nap was born. The app lets you go up to any home in the coun­try and snap a photo of it to down­load in­for­ma­tion about the house – how much it is worth, whether it is for sale, and who could help you buy that house. That’s how we came up with the Homes­nap name.

CAIFU: What are you most proud of so far? Any chal­lenges you faced that you would like to high­light?

Wol­cott: I am proud Homes­nap has built a plat­form with mil­lions of users in six years – a rather short time – in an in­dus­try that is gov­erned by struc­tures and in­sti­tu­tions that have been in place for decades. We also pro­duce Homes­nap Pro – the lead­ing mo­bile app for real es­tate agents that is now ac­ces­si­ble by al­most 500,000 agents in the United States. Any­one who works in the real es­tate in­dus­try will tell you that it can be very dif­fi­cult to break through and change agent be­hav­iour – and we have done it.

We also pro­duce Homes­nap Pro – the lead­ing mo­bile app for real es­tate agents that is now ac­ces­si­ble by al­most 500,000 agents in the United States. We plan to in­ves­ti­gate how Homes­nap would work in Canada in the com­ing years.

CAIFU: Do you fore­see a ser­vice like Homes­nap mak­ing an im­pact in an emerg­ing mar­ket, like China? What po­ten­tial do you see in the Chi­nese mar­ket?

Wol­cott: We see great po­ten­tial for an app like Homes­nap in any mar­ket where peo­ple de­pend on mo­bile de­vices to com­mu­ni­cate and get in­for­ma­tion. An app like Homes­nap can make a real im­pact in a vi­brant and dy­namic real es­tate mar­ket.

CAIFU: Are there plans to launch Homes­nap north of the border in Canada, as Toronto, Cal­gary and Van­cou­ver are hot cities due to their liv­abil­ity rank­ing?

Wol­cott: We have had a lot of in­ter­est from mar­kets in Canada. We have not launched there yet be­cause we do not have ac­cess to the same range of pub­lic records data about homes in Canada that we do in the United States. We plan to in­ves­ti­gate how Homes­nap would work in Canada in the com­ing years.

CAIFU: How would you ad­vise some­one who wants to launch a real es­tate app?

Wol­cott: Make sure that you have a deep and re­al­is­tic un­der­stand­ing of how the real es­tate in­dus­try is struc­tured – from Mul­ti­ple List­ing Ser­vices and real­tor as­so­ci­a­tions to bro­kers and agents. Then make a prod­uct that agents can­not live with­out. They are del­uged with new apps, cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment soft­ware and mar­ket­ing plat­forms all the time, and you need to make sure your prod­uct is much bet­ter than your com­peti­tors. You will need to per­suade agents to try it out, and once they have, they will de­cide they sim­ply can­not func­tion with­out it.

CAIFU: What’s your vi­sion for Homes­nap?

Wol­cott: My vi­sion is for Homes­nap to be­come ev­ery agent’s ev­ery­day app, and for clients of those agents to use the app in col­lab­o­ra­tion with their agents as they work to­gether to find the per­fect home.

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