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Domicile: Game of Homes, a new app that bridges gaming, real estate and social media, seeks to engage consumers with the real estate industry on a new level.
The product is the brainchild of Edward Fitz, an LA-based agent and partner at The Agency, and has been backed by the brokerage’s CEO, Mauricio Umansky, who is also serving as an advisor to the platform.
The app, which can be accessed on mobile or desktop, is the first-ever game to pull real-time Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data to merge gaming with an ever-changing real estate market. Users can explore real MLS properties and guess competitively with friends what a home’s listing price is, and what it might sell for.
“Over the years, I have found that pricing property is probably one of the most difficult things that a real estate agent can do, and convincing a seller — or buyer, for that matter — what the real value of a property is, is tricky,” Fitz told Inman. “At one point, about three or four years ago, I hit upon [this] idea because Zillow had become such a big thing, and the Zestimates are so frequently incorrect. I hit upon the idea to make Domicile an app for everybody, and make it a game.”
Fitz noted that nearly 80 percent of people who browse real estate listings have no intention of actually transacting, which is a huge source of untapped potential.
“It’s kind of hilarious to me how many people who have no intention of buying property — it’s something like 80 percent of people — peruse these various real estate sites and apps, and people literally spend hours looking at property,” Fitz added. “That’s a lot of people looking at stuff that might be interested in being a little more engaged than they are on some of the other apps. So we give them that opportunity to play this game, which, at its core, is a price game, not unlike The Price is Right.”
For now, when users engage with the app, they see a leaderboard, which can either be on a global scale with the app’s users, or on a small scale with select friends they’d like to play with. Fitz said it could also be used among new agents as a learning tool for how to price a home well.
At some point, Fitz also hopes to create some kind of tie-in with retailers like Home Depot, where users can weigh in on what finishes or colors they like or dislike in a home, with a reward from the related retailer.
Down the line, they also plan to create a kind of Domicile pro account for agents, where they can gain insights into what consumers are saying about their listings and receive feedback.
“There are endless possibilities of ways for this to help a real estate agent,” Fitz said. “How many views is your house getting? Do people like the photographs?… All of those things can be in the app and can be information that can be helpful to a real estate agent who can then go to their seller and say, ‘We’re priced at $2 million. The Domicile group is telling us that the price should be more like $1.795 million.’”
Through the app, consumers will also be able to directly get in touch with the listing agent of any property they may be interested in.
“We have a contact form that if you’re interested in seeing this or hearing more about this property, fill out this form,” Fitz said. “But unlike Zillow or Redfin or any of the others, that request for more information will not go to some broker who is paying for the privilege to get that information. It will go directly to the listing broker. And, at least at the beginning, we have no intention of asking for a referral fee from brokers.”
The app’s initial launch places it in 20 U.S. markets, including LA and Orange County, San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, Tampa and Orlando, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon. Ultimately, the goal is to expand globally and enhance games, search functionalities and the app’s social aspect. The app is free for consumers and can be found at the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Fitz also said that it’s not out of the question that the game could at some point evolve to include a home-pricing television show as well, for network or streaming services.
“I’m thrilled to be part of Domicile,” Mauricio Umansky said in a statement. “I’ve believed in its amazing potential since the first time Ed shared the idea with me. Domicile offers a fantastic new way to experience real estate. Whether you’re a property enthusiast, a rookie agent, a seasoned pro, or a homebuyer trying to find your dream home, the app makes it a super fun and immersive experience.”
In coming months and years, Domicile will continue to launch new developments for the app and its related endeavors.
“The one intention is to make it more of a platform for all things real estate, not just the pricing of homes, but a place where people can share what they like and have their own group, almost like on a Facebook page, where you’ve got your 300 friends and you’re all playing this game together but you’re also expressing your opinions. ‘What do you think about this house?’ ‘Do you like that yellow door, or is it really bad?’ I think the possibilities are endless.”