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Introducing Househappy

June 24 2014

We've heard called the "Pinterest for real estate" several times since the site launched in March 2013. While the search portal's visual focus makes the comparison understandable, the truth is that the Portland-based startup is far more compelling—especially for real estate professionals.

"When searching for a new home, real estate consumers really want to see images of properties," says Robyn Woodman, Vice President of Partnerships for Househappy. Househappy gives consumers exactly what they want by offering a visual real estate search experience that places property photos front and center.

While that alone is enough to differentiate Househappy from other property search portals, it's their business model that makes them really stand out. Househappy is (and always will be, according to Woodman) free to consumers and agents. Unlike other portals, agents never have to worry about a competitor's contact info being shown next to their listing. There are no banner ads, either, and no advertising programs for agents to buy into.

But we'll get to all of that in a moment. First, let's take a look at how Househappy works.

The Basics

Househappy's interface is based on the principles of clean, beautiful design. As you can see in the screenshot below, a search brings up properties as a list of photos displayed on a grid. Mousing over a photo will reveal the location, price, and property type. The heart icon lets users who have created a free Househappy profile save that home to their favorites.

pr hh front page

Users also have the option of choosing between the Map view and the Grid view by toggling between the two next to the search bar. The Grid view displays tiled property photos and the Map view displays properties available in the area. On the Map, individual properties are shown with a red pin and areas with multiple properties are shown with a blue circle; hovering over the red pin reveals a preview of the property in the bottom-right screen.

Househappy offers a wealth of granular search features. Users can search by address, neighborhood, city, state, or zip code. To further refine results, the following search criteria are also available:

  • Location
  • Price
  • Financing options
  • Seller concessions
  • Property features
  • Nearby attractions
  • Sale type
  • Beds/baths
  • Square footage
  • Architectural style
  • and more

The thumbnail photos repopulate as a user's search specifications change. To see more information on a property, click on its photo to visit the property details page.

pr hh details

The property details page sports a description, social sharing links, details like lot size and school zoning, photos, and more. Most importantly to real estate pros, this page also provides the contact info of the listing agent or brokerage and a link to their Househappy Agent Profile.

And if you're wondering where the listing data comes from, the link icon in the upper right corner will let you know. For many of the properties we looked at, ListHub was the data provider. (Househappy announced a partnership with the listing syndication platform in May.)

Users can also add a property to their favorites on this page via the heart icon beneath the main photo. You'll need to create an account in order to do this, but like everything else on Househappy, accounts are free.

For Agents and Brokers

Signing up for an account is simple—all it requires is your name, email address, and a password. Once registered, you'll be able to create an Agent Profile that will be associated with all of your listings. The profiles leave ample room for your bio and other information like specialties, contact information, and links to multiple social media sites.

Agent Profile

Once you've set up your profile, posting listings is a similarly low key affair. Use the Post button in the upper right-hand corner of the site, fill-out information on your property, and your listing will be live on Househappy within 20 minutes. Agents can upload up to 20 photos per property and set a listing expiration of 30, 60 or 90 days. Listings can be renewed post-expiration if the property is still for sale.

Househappy announced a partnership with ListHub in May, so if you or your broker has selected Househappy as a publisher channel to syndicate your listings to, your property may already be on the site. If that's the case, once you create an account, you'll have the option to "claim" your listings and associate them with your Househappy profile. Simply navigate to the Sign Up page and enter the email address associated with your ListHub account.

With the free account, agents are provided with a Dashboard where you can manage both your profile and listings. The Notifications section will be of most interest to agents looking to manage buyer leads. Each time a consumer "likes" one of your listings, a notification will auto-populate here. You'll be able to click through to the consumer's profile and view whatever contact info they've chosen to disclose—be it email, phone, social media, or beyond.

Agent Notifications

Househappy has a flagging system in place in case agents see that someone has wrongly posted a listing that's either inappropriate or not theirs. Once flagged, the Househappy team will review the post and take appropriate action.

The "Secret Sauce"

Earlier in the review, we mentioned that Househappy is free to consumers and agents. This is possible thanks to the site's unique revenue model. Rather than charging agents to advertise, the site has plans to offer advertising to real estate service providers like contractors, plumbers, and other similar professionals. This has the advantage of attracting sellers to the site who want to find home service providers—and nurturing them until they're ready to sell or buy their home.

Househappy also offers promotional opportunities to local attractions. So if, say, Starbucks or another business partners with Househappy, they'll appear in the Attractions search filter. Consumers who want to live within walking distance of a Starbucks can then search for properties according to their proximity. This, in essence, lets consumers search for a certain type of lifestyle—one near coffee shops, museums, galleries, or other attractions.

Beyond its business model, Househappy also assures us that they have consumer marketing plan in place to drive buyers to their site—and to your listing. "We have a specific consumer profile that we're targeting," says Woodman. The site's photo-centric, social-friendly feel is designed to appeal specifically to Millennials. That generation is just now reaching the point where they're ready to buy their first home.

"Millennials are one half of the world's population—and they comprise the largest share of homebuyers at 31 percent, 76 percent of which are first-time buyers," says Woodman. "Collectively, they have over $200 billion in buying power."

As part of their plans to target the "always on" mobile generation, Househappy is launching a free app for the iPhone this summer.

Househappy is a welcome addition to the often conflict-riddled property portal sphere. We're happy to see a site come on the scene that's explicitly not trying to make money off of agents and brokers. We'll be watching their growth with interest in the coming years.

Next Steps