Pinterest Meets Houzz in Shopping Platform for New Homes.
Editor’s note: I get hundreds of press releases weekly and the ones that cut through the noise— the ones that I choose to write about in magazines and on my blog are game-changers influencing the way we shop, live, decorate and create. HomLuv caught my attention because it is one of those digital disruptors in the homebuying industry changing the way we search for a new home. Now, the home finds you. I interviewed Mark Law, VP Product Innovation for HomLuv, on the day HomLuv launched, June 14, 2018. Here is a deep dive into this new website:
Building a new home comes with a steep learning curve and one of the most challenging aspects is matching your design voice, lifestyle needs and budget to the perfect builder. The new online site HomLuv.com recently launched as the first visual search and discovery platform for people looking to build or buy new homes. Think of it as a cross between Houzz and Pinterest, where buyers indicate which images they like or dislike and HomLuv creates a unique profile for them using artificial intelligence and crowdsourcing tools to match buyers with homebuilders who can build their perfect home, in their desired location, and price range.
Unlike the traditional Multiple Listing Service (MLS) where the buyer searches for a home from the outside-in, HomLuv flips the search process around, showing buyers interior images, floor plans and videos. “People buy a home from the inside out,” explains Mark Law, VP Product Innovation for HomLuv, who used the site to find his new home in Austin, Texas. His three millennial-aged children also used the site in their new home searches.
During the testing of HomLuv technology, data showed that most consumers on the site started their search queries with kitchens and master baths rather than exteriors. “With the real estate listing sites, the homebuyer is not in control because the site’s algorithms decide what to show. Every single buyer has a preference of how they want to enter the house and it’s not through the front door,” says Mark, a technologist who has worked with industry heavy-hitters including MSN, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL.
“Builders and real estate listing sites tend to start with the exterior of the house and the homebuyer has to hunt and peck to find the best rooms they are interested in. Our testing shows that people want to look at the home’s exterior at the end of the search process. The entire new home marketplace has it backward.”
“With Pinterest, people create boards pinning images of homes and interiors that they like but it leads to nowhere because there is no way to click on the photo and find the builder,” explains Mark. HomLuv is an image-centric online platform that allows homebuyers to explore design options, share that collection with the co-buyer and collaborate in real time.
Homebuyers can click a heart icon next to each image indicating the ones they like and share them on a digital board with their co-buyer, spouse or loved one. The system is designed to open up communication by sharing comments on each room.
HomLuv’s artificial intelligence takes all of that data to match the homebuyer with the ideal home and builder. “For millennials, this was an eye-opening experience because HomLuv is a neutral place to understand your significant other’s preferences before you walked into the model home.”
Once HomLuv matches the homebuyer with their ideal builder, it will ask if they want to be in contact with the builder. “We aren’t just pushing leads to the builder without the homebuyer’s permission.”
HomLuv’s parent company NewhomeSource.com is the largest website for new construction representing almost half of the US new home inventory. Many of the builders on HomLuv originated from NewHomeSource.com. To date, Mark says HomLuv has more than a million photos of rooms and represents thousands of builders nationwide.
“There are many people, especially millennials, who are dreaming of a home and they don’t know where to start but they aren’t ready to visit model homes. Millennials are not running around doing field tours of spec homes; they are searching online. HomLuv allows them to explore their options based on their own criteria.”
As a new website that recommends new homes and builders to suit homebuyers’ tastes, needs and budgets, HomLuv doesn’t compete with traditional real estate listing sites but rather enhances the new home buying process.
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