The media is blasting it, people are tweeting it, and my friends are starting to ask me about it so I thought I would post my thoughts on the latest consumer focused? real estate technology: "haus".
Full disclosure: What I have heard from the media does not line up with the Frequently Asked Questions section on the haus website.
What is it?
haus: a "service technology" (website, app, text messenger, etc) developed by noted Uber co-founder that targets the Real Estate industry via the marketing of properties and simplifying the offer and acceptance process while making it more transparent. The interface is clean and it is easy for the seller to see and understand what the offers are.
How it is supposed to replace agents
The media THEORY is that by allowing home owners to post their property online and have a place where buyers can submit offers on the property, there wont be a need for real estate agents in the future. The offers are open and anonymous. Other buyers who are looking at the property can see the price and terms of each offer on the property after they submit an offer and can decide if they want to make any adjustments or offer more.
Will it replace agents?
In short, no. Currently, the only people who can post to haus are listing agents. It is a tool used BY agents or by buyers and sellers in conjunction WITH agents. What about the future? Still no. It is just not a smart large scale business play for a company to target a consumer for a once in a 3 to 5 year purchase. It is a much smarter move to target a real estate agent and find a way to make processes simpler. Real estate gents close 10s and 100s of transactions per month. If you can convince them to use your service in that transaction to make the process smoother for them or their clients, then you can make some real money. A loyal real estate agent as a paying customer is far more valuable.
A "loyal" home owner as a customer may only use them 5 times in their lifetime, maybe!!
Would I use this specific tool as an agent to market a property I represent or manage the offer/acceptance process?
No. The secrecy of offers and how much they are in a multiple offer situation tends to benefit the seller. If I am acting in the best interest of my seller, then how could I recommend a system that could net them less money on the sell of their home? It's just not a smart move.
What could haus do to become more viable in the market place?
It is tough road ahead for a service company like haus. Their current system seems more like a solution looking for a problem. What does it solve that is currently broken in the process? I don't know.
The key players are sellers & listing agents. Haus relies on agents and sellers NOT understanding how an open offer/acceptance process could negatively impact their net while a closed offer/acceptance process does not hurt them and could help them. "The market" is smart as a whole and adjust/corrects quickly.
In my opinion haus has to change into something else completely before being widely accepted into the market place. I predict that they will morph into an agent services company who uses software to simply the offer/acceptance and contract to close processes. A simpler process and system for that to help all parties understand the agreement and proceed forward through my transaction coordinators would be helpful, but I also do that well as an agent, so I am not sure how much I would be willing to pay for that service.