What am I thinking about as we go into 2017? What innovation are we going to see in the new year?
I figured I’d write my own predications to follow Walter’s.
Here we go…
AI — I agree with Walter that AI is going to continue to be a point of innovation in 2017 (and beyond). I believe there is an opportunity to use AI to “predict” homes buyers would be interested in — without them even asking.
That said, I hesitate to include AI simply because many are working on AI for the sake of working on cutting edge technology/machine learning, without a focus on real problems. My gut is a big proportion of those working on AI are building solutions in need of problems, rather than trying to solve known problems with AI.
CityBldr — I’ve watched Bryan Copley’s progression from Rebls to Everyhome to CityBldr. We spoke a bit about his current model following the recent General Assembly meetup, and I think he’s discovered a really compelling angle for both real estate developers and sellers. For sellers, realizing your home may be worth $200,000 more to real estate developers than it is to home buyers is a pretty compelling proposition. Of course, there’s always the chance that big company down the street starting with Z could deploy investment estimates across their whole database of homes — but seems a bit out of their core focus of consumers and agents/brokers.
I expect CityBldr’s growth to continue, and one or two new entrants to start competing more heavily.
Premier Agent Concierge — I’m bullish on Zillow’s concierge program. It’s no secret agents waste a ton of time dealing with unqualified “leads”. Spending more time on pre-qualified leads, and less time on crap — in order to convert at a higher percentage, more efficiently — is a good thing for all agents.
Though I have not tested the actual product, Agentology is working in the concierge space as well.
This category is going to grow like a weed in 2017.
Trusted Curation + Real Estate Search — I assure you, I would not have taken a product and marketing role at 360modern if I didn’t believe trusted curation is the future of real estate search (read my thoughts on this from 2013). 360modern looks at every listing that comes on the MLS (with a human eye, not computers/AI), and flag those listings we deem to be of a modern / mid-century modern architectural style. The search interface lets buyers search and filter across just that subset of “modern” inventory — and ignore everything else. We’ve proved the model with “Modern” in Seattle, and setting our sights on expanding to more geographic markets in 2017 (starting with Palm Springs).
Horizon (my own bootstrapped startup) falls in the trusted curation camp too — it’s all about finding accommodations using communities as the trusted curation layer.
The fact of the matter is the majority of listings on portals are irrelevant noise to buyers who know what they want. People want fewer choices — particularly those well into their buying decision. Curated marketplaces deliver simplicity and time savings.
Though it’s not easy to grow niche marketplaces (on either side of the market, particularly inventory), this category will see growth in 2017 as more realize the power of curation to save both buyers and sellers time.
CRMs — will 2017 finally be the year someone solves the CRM problem? It wasn’t 2011, nor was it 2016. A strategy that could work — release a drop dead simple lead router for free, and then piggyback a CRM as version 2 or 3 (or 4 or 5) on that product. Even better if you team the lead router with a concierge program. Heck, maybe the right concierge program just becomes an agent/broker’s CRM.
Partial Home Ownership — There’s no way I could write this without including Point, which I’m incredibly bullish on. There will be a massive, massive home run in the partial home ownership space; it’s a matter of who and when, not if.
It’s safe to say, IF I was going to go work at another venture backed startup in the real estate industry — Point is one of the few companies I’d consider joining.
History rewards bold risk takers. Play Bigger, or even better, do something fucking absurd like launch a hospitality network for your clients.