Leadership of Home Ownership Division at Inside Real Estate
I’ll start by saying that this is a serious effort for IRE. They’ve created a separate division, are making a multi-million dollar investment and building a highly experienced product team to leverage IRE’s current capabilities. On top of that, Stringham himself is leading the division to make sure the strategy and direction stays on track with the vision they’ve set out. Stringham pointed out that this is also designed to ensure the core business is not distracted and maintains strong momentum.
The Home Ownership Division is about creating a lifetime consumer experience. However, this is not a consumer strategy that goes around brokers and agents who are Inside Real Estate’s customers. Rather, it empowers them to serve their clients even better. In order for a consumer to access these home ownership solutions, they will need to work with a broker and agent who are using IRE’s kvCore platform. The initial product is being developed for launch mid-year with one of Inside Real Estate’s existing enterprise clients.
Many of the features and capabilities in the new platform Stringham described are available to consumers in some form or another today, but they are one-off, disconnected, poorly integrated, and confusing for homeowners. Stringham elaborated, “There’s no single, personalized spot with the tools and information consumers need to create the kind of digital experience they desire, especially one that works seamlessly with their local agent and all the parties involved in the home ownership cycle.” He went on to say, “It’s time for the consumer experience to have it’s day and agents and brokers should be the ones to deliver that.” Some of the key services that will be integrated with the platform include mortgage, title, insurance, home warranty, moving related services and home management. The product set will integrate these services if the broker partner has them in place. If not, then Inside Real Estate will bring its partners to fill in the gaps.
Ned Stringham has an uncanny ability to rethink user experience. In imagining the delivery of the home ownership platform, he focused on the consumer. When they open the app, it will be broker and agent branded; it is not about IRE’s brand. It is about information the consumer wants to know about their home. It will have features like home valuation, access to calculators for home improvement, ability to get alerts around mortgage, refinancing, and reminders about home insurance renewals. It will be the first mobile app that starts with the user’s home. Sure, there will be capabilities to start the next home search, and other functionality to manage transaction checklists during the trading process, but the app will unify the entire home ownership experience.
The consumer benefits are pretty obvious. I do not know of any other consumer application currently that has these comprehensive features combined with an integrated experience, but I now want it for my homes. Ned described the real benefit in the following way.
“Today, our customers collectively have well over 100 million consumers in their CRM (kvCORE). They have excellent tools to engage and nurture their clients to generate leads, but they don’t have the technology to provide a full homeownership experience that will create a customer for life. Imagine a solution that empowers them to do that. Combining a local, real estate expert with this lifetime consumer technology is the winning formula for the future. It’s the path for our customers to succeed in a world where many others are trying to take their businesses from them.”
I use phrases like ‘customer retention’ and ‘client for life’. Ned says he just wants to help you make sure your clients never leave.
I wish that I could get the exact investment commitment out of Ned, but I respect that Inside Real Estate is a private equity backed company and are reticent to share their investment commitments. My bet is that they put in enough capital to hire smart people and deliver an excellent product on time.
We shall see.
Good Luck Ned, and thank you for sharing. I appreciate everything that you and your team do to deliver innovation to our industry and contribute to improving the homeownership experience in America and Canada.