Google Ventures’ latest portfolio company to launch is HomeLight, a startup that’s all about buying and selling real estate.
More specifically, it helps you find the real estate agent — the best one for your price point and neighborhood and experience level — and agents only pay for the service if they end up with a new client out of the process.
“My wife and I bought our first home a couple years ago. [We learned] it’s really easy to find a real estate agent, but it’s really hard to find a good one ,” said Drew Uher, HomeLight co-founder and CEO, in a recent phone chat with VentureBeat.
After finding a “great” agent through a friend’s recommendation, the Uhers found the agent only worked in two San Francisco neighborhoods, and not the ones the couple was looking for.
“I felt like there was always a disconnect … like she was working against us rather than for us,” he said.
HomeLight was created to solve that kind of problem, programmatically sorting out the best realtors and agents for specific tasks.
As Uher put it, “The skills it takes to sell a short sale are completely different … Same thing if you’re working with an investor who’s looking to buy several homes. It takes a very different type of agent than someone who works with first-time homebuyers.”
This is one situation where asking friends for advice might not help. As Uher told us, each of your friends will typically know one or two real estate agents, and while your friends do have your best interests at heart, “They don’t have a great data set or perspective on the market.”
Searching the web is about as useful. Most of the time, said Uher, The top search results you’re going to see will be a local 21st Century or Vanguard office. You’ll be unable to determine which agents are just getting started, which are more established, which ones do short sales, etc.
Here’s a sneak peek at the service:
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Currently, HomeLight is live in 34 markets in the U.S., including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Boston.
The startup has raised a total of $1.5 million, all announced today, from Google Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Innovation Endeavors, and a handful of unnamed angel investors. HomeLight was founded in 2012 and is based in San Francisco.
Top image courtesy of dotshock, Shutterstock