Startup studio Expa has launched a new company with a focus on real estate. Called Haus, it adds transparency to the home buying and selling process, giving all parties access to real-time information on pricing and terms. The service is available today to those in California, but there are plans to roll it out to more parts of the U.S. in the future.
In the world of real estate, home buyers have a range of available resources, including Trulia, Zillow, and Craigslist. But when it comes to processing offers, there’s quite a bit of paperwork involved. Haus wants to simplify this by using technology that should work for not only the home seller and buyer, but also for their respective agents.
“When you get to the point of making an offer on a home, the agent deals with a lot of paperwork. They have to drop off the form, mail it in, or fax it to the seller,” explained Sarah Ham, Haus’ general manager. “The agent has to go through the work, while the seller while the seller waits to find out their price and terms, and the buyer is frustrated because they don’t know what’s going on, or if the seller has even seen the offer. They want a fair shake at the home.”
When it’s used, Haus becomes the exclusive system to manage and process the paperwork associated with the sale and covers all the forms required by state regulators. Agents are able to submit and edit bids for the home, while the buyer and seller retain the right to approve such actions. And because Haus seeks to make the process transparent, buyers are able to see the price and terms of other offers (identifiable information is excluded). Acceptance of an offer can take place within Haus, as well.
“We really believe in agents,” Ham said. “We want them to spend their time analyzing the quality of the offers and advise their clients.”
She explained that what Haus does is keep buyers and sellers apprised of the bidding process in real time. When buyers submit an offer, the seller will receive a text message immediately. All of the received bids are placed into a comparison table that the seller can read to better understand their options. Buyers can also receive notifications when a new offer is submitted or if an existing offer is modified.
Sellers are also able to set the minimum offer they will consider, as well as the minimal increment needed to increase a bid.
In order to use Haus, you must have an agent. Currently the service isn’t available to those who want to sell their home on their own. Since it’s currently in beta, agents are not charged anything to use the service, however, Ham’s team has been looking at possible pricing options, such as taking a fraction of a percent from an accepted offer that’s charged to the listing agent.
As mentioned earlier, Haus is currently only available in California, which was selected because the state has a huge and diverse real estate market that the company wants to focus on. Ham wants this phase to be about soliciting feedback so Haus can scale and eventually expand into other markets, something that comes with complex regulatory issues.
Haus also doesn’t work with any third-party services, but Ham didn’t dispute potential integrations with tools that agents use or perhaps with services that provide mortgage help, home inspection, and more.