Billed as a lifetime engagement solution, Hōm offers a lot for the growing agent targeting first-time buyers, but it’s more an assemblage of nice-to-haves than an application designed to create meaningful change.
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Hōm is a business productivity app for real estate agents to engage and maintain clients.
Platforms: Mobile-first; browser
Ideal for: Agents and new homebuyers
Top selling points:
- Branded agent experience
- Two-way consumer search app
- Included market stats
- True cost of ownership data
- Onboard workflow guides
The company may face some challenges selling its software as a standalone product in the midst of larger CRM and business applications offering similar mobile solutions already tied to larger enterprise systems. It’ll have to acutely define its audience.
What you should know
Hōm is a mobile-first real estate application motivated by the desire to provide agents with business data quickly in a mature, consumer-level experience. It looks great, feels light, and delivers home search, market performance insights, and marketing resources to both the agents and their consumer counterparts.
The UX is bifurcated, offering unique features to the agent and their client, with in-app communications and two-way activity tracking, meaning the agent can see what their client is searching for and saving.
Listing data is sourced from the user’s MLS accounts, from which also market activity is provided. There’s a filter for viewing homes by their “TCO” or true cost of ownership, a nice touch for buyers new to the process. Hōm offers messaging, extensive transaction guides to keep agents on track and clients educated and a New Homeowner Checklist.
The maturity of Hōm’s overall user experience is enough to help it stand out, but its uncertain place among competitors makes it tough to define. The former should help it gain traction, though, and from there, user feedback will push adoption and better nail down what it’s bringing to the market.
The company positions its solution as a “lifetime engagement platform,” which I think oversells the concept or, better stated, misses the mark. It doesn’t have to connect the agent to their clients forever, that’s the agent’s job. What Hōm can do is help agents react quickly to their clients and stay on top of their search activity without it being overwhelming. Delegate their search to the app.
Hōm succeeds in appealing to the new buyer, and for that, the app is a better tool for the growing agent than the top producer. Don’t view that as a drawback, it’s a finely tuned solution.
The agent-facing “Buy Guide,” for example, is a narrative breakdown of the sales process for the user, starting with buyer onboarding and culminating with post-sales tasks. In between are subjects like “offer and purchase” and “closing and settlement.” This is a nice list to have handy, but after a few years in the industry, the process shouldn’t require Cliffs Notes.
However, the Buy Guide is replicated on the consumer side, and it’s supported by the New Homeowner Checklist, which details relocation punch-list items such as updating IDs, setting up security systems and locating shut-off valves. The My Home feature is engaging, offering a graphical summary of value and other home health metrics.
Hōm delivers a superb home search for the mobile screen, and the ability to view a home according to its general market data and its “true cost of ownership” is a nice reality check for the buyer who aspires to be in a neighborhood that their pre-approval letter wasn’t intending to include. Again, this is a nice touch for the first-time buyer or maybe for a person relocating to a new market.
Clients are provided a general overview of how much home they can afford, and the multi-party buyer collaboration is great, a feature I’m going to demand to be present in every home search tool I look at for the rest of time. Rare is the buyer who makes decisions in a vacuum.
Agents are given a QR code to facilitate app downloading and setup, and from there the client can also share their agent’s profile with friends.
Contacts within Hōm are pulled from the phone’s native database, meaning there isn’t a definitive CRM integration as of yet. This is something they’ll want to consider, as the app tracks home preferences, budgets, and, in general, critical data for an agent to know about a customer. New agents, however, without thousands of contacts to track, can be less concerned about this issue.
There’s a lot to like about Hōm. Its messaging tools are effective, its search functionality stands out, and its educational tools also keep clients engaged. Just about everything an agent needs to start and end their day in a productive manner is here.
I don’t want to undersell what the app has to offer, there’s a lot of good here. But, it’s not uncommon for me to become enamored with a solution that looks sharp and enhances search. It’s like unwrapping a really nice sweater at Christmas. Sure, maybe it’s handmade and expensive, but it’s still a sweater. Nice to have, but is it making your year?
There’s a lot of industry knowledge behind this app, so I trust it’ll evolve and find the inroads it needs to penetrate the market. Maybe next year, I’ll be unwrapping something all new.
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.