Tinder for house hunting
Technology and real estate sometimes butt heads, but Huckleberry has introduced a novel idea that marries the two, with sales representatives presiding over the union.
“We’re like Tinder, in that homebuyers swipe left or right on the front end while looking at homes on our app, and on the back end there’s machine learning doing all the matchmaking,” said HuckleBerry’s founder, Mossab Basir. “Whenever a user swipes left, we learn which homes they don’t like, just as we learn which homes they do like when they swipe right. Huckleberry, our machine, learns over time and presents listings relevant to homebuyers over that time.”
The tech startup has an interesting feature in the form of a floating text button that allows homebuyers to directly contact listing agents for desired homes, rather than filling out contact forms.
“When I was doing research, I heard interesting comments from buyers about why they’d have so many browsing tabs open—they were afraid they’d miss out on something if they didn’t look at absolutely everything,” continued Basir, adding that it impelled him to rethink how “real estate discovery happens.”
“Homebuyers are trying to discover a home at this early juncture. We chose the word ‘discovery’ because it’s about matching buyers to homes.”
Huckleberry is connected to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s feed and every night at 2AM it updates and analyzes its database. Basir says that, much like a good real estate sales agent, Huckleberry must have thorough understanding of homebuyers.
“Homebuyers like hosting parties, so they need a chef’s kitchen; they like backyard space more than front yard space,” said Basir. “The other essential ingredient for good matchmaking is thorough understanding of the properties—the listings—themselves.”
Sales agents benefit from Huckleberry by receiving expeditious inquiries from potential buyers who have more than mere cursory knowledge of the properties. Huckleberry allows them to create a favourites list and then either chat directly with an agent or book a showing with them, at which point Basir says Huckleberry will have done its job.
“CREA says 76% of homebuyers start their search without a realtor; like everything else today, they do preliminary research and then seek out experts to help them through the rest of the process,” he said. “After they chat with the listing agent or book a time to see the home with the agent, Huckleberry will have done its job with discovery and we let the realtor do their job by taking the homebuyer through the rest of the process.”