Buying a home is one of the most exhilarating yet exhausting, frustrating, and outright annoying things someone can experience: exorbitantly lengthy processing, less than enjoyable brokers, and bouncing back-and-forth between everything from previous owners to HOAs are just a handful of the issues a homebuyer experienced.
Enter Long Beach resident and broker Matthew Firth, who has designed an app that takes away a massive amount of the frustrations that come with buying a home for Long Beach homebuyers.
Hobizbo sets to use the benefits of mobile technology—paper-free, instant connection, flexibility—and let Long Beachers decide for themselves what they want in a home.
“I wanted to give hands-on homebuyers, those with a high comfort and enjoyment for technology, a method to control more of the buying adventure,” Firth said. “These independent, creative, free spirited, and optimistic types are often skeptical of advertising and salespeople, yet expect instant results and concierge service. I wanted to leverage technology to give buyers the tools they want in support of, not replacing, the very emotional human elements involved in buying a home.”
Those tools? Instant messaging with brokers, 24/7. Real time home data for Orange and Los Angeles Counties that culls its info from CRMLS rather than sites which lag in time like Zillow or Trulia. It even offers free professional photography.
“Hobizbo has the unabashed goal to provide home buyers the ‘most visually appealing search’ experience to help people decide which homes are really worth seeing in person,” Firth said. “I will send a professional photographer to shoot any home for sale for free and are working with local MLS’s to get better quality images across the web.”
There’s even a green element to Firth’s approach. According to the broker, the average buyer sends 10 offers before one is accepted. On a recent listing, he noted, 23 offers were received, resulting in 500 pages of documents—excluding the paper included with counter offers.
“Even if you don’t print them all,” Firth said, “the time involved in identifying the key economic points—which is what you really care about—and then going to prepare counters and get everything signed was wasteful, even with electronic signatures. It’s a waste of time and effort until you know you’re going to escrow on that property.”
The future of Hobizbo is still evolving, with another iteration of the already-available app to hit the Apple App Store in 2015. It’s most prominent new feature will be an “instant appointment” option, where licensed real estate agents can sign up to be available on demand for home tours on a schedule that’s convenient to the buyer.
Even more, Hobizbo is about the agent as much as it is the buyer.
“I figured, why not let buyers write the key economic terms of the deal and have the agent come in to leverage their true value, his or her expert local knowledge, problem solving during escrow, and generally providing advice and support through the process?" Firth said. "Maybe then agents can spend 80% of their time doing highly specialized, knowledge based work that is really valuable to their current client instead of marketing themselves to future clients. I, as an agent myself, wanted to empower buyers to do more of what they already want to do, with a platform that will actually help us—the agents—deliver better service to our clients all the while.”
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