Househappy.org is the next-generation global real estate search portal that has been described as “the Pinterest of real estate”. Househappy is, frankly, one of the best online real estate platforms available. So I was thrilled when Robyn Woodman, Vice President of Partnerships at Househappy, invited me to visit the Househappy offices in Portland to chat about the people and platform that are revolutionizing the world of online real estate.
You have a background in real estate, can you tell me more about how you came to be at Househappy?
I was a real estate broker in Seattle for about 6 years. I met Kevin McCloskey, the founder of Househappy, through a real estate deal in Seattle back in 2010.
So you’ve known Kevin for a while.
Yes. We stayed in touch. Then one day he told me about his idea for Househappy. I loved it. I’ve been with him since the very beginning.
If I had never heard of Househappy, what’s the first thing you’d want to tell me about it?
It’s very visual. It’s intuitive, very easy to navigate. It’s free. As a buyer or broker you can easily search Househappy. There are many categories to choose from: price, bed, bath, square footage, etc. But when you get those search results returned to you, they are images. It’s not text based. So buyers can make quick decisions about what they see, and then have their broker contact the listing broker or they can contact the broker themselves, immediately. That’s what we always want; we want buyers to connect with brokers.
The platform is ad-free, so you see only the essential information you need without the visual noise.
And how does that work if you’re a broker and you want to set up listings on Househappy?
As a real estate broker, you can upload your listings manually to our site. Or if you syndicate your data through Listhub, the nation’s leading syndicator of real estate listings, you can choose to direct them to Househappy as well. There are a variety of ways to put listings on Househappy, and it doesn’t cost anything. You also get your very own profile that you can maintain and control any way you wish.
What are some things that are happening right now in the world of real estate that make Househappy such a good platform for brokers?
The biggest thing is that we all embraced the fact that the world is a global community. And I feel like that has finally trickled down to the real estate industry. For instance, Inman News sponsors two events per year, and this year they focused the whole day on global real estate issues and how important it is for every broker to embrace the global realm.
How this relates back to Househappy is that we are a global portal. At Inman, a number prominent of brokers indicated that about 70% of their business coming from outside of the U.S. this year, and 80% are coming from online real estate search. And when people are looking for properties or homes online, they want to see photos first. So I think embracing a global portal that’s image-based is double duty.
I know that there are other listing platforms that are fairly popular, are those other platforms also global?
No, they are not.
Wow! That’s a huge difference then. So you’re kind of breaking into not only the visual, but the global?
A lot of our brokers use print marketing, and some of them are just starting to embrace social media for their businesses. What do you think about ways that brokers can integrate offline and online marketing with Househappy?
One thing is that when you post listings to Househappy, we make it very easy for you to share those listings with your followers on various social networks, along with your content.
For example, Nick Krautter is one of the busiest brokers in Portland. And I think one of the reasons Nick is so successful is that he does things like put out market trend reports online, and he’ll tweet that out and put it on his blog. I think that’s a great way to transition because buyers have got buyer fever. And all they’re doing is searching 24/7 and if they’re not searching for a particular house then they want to feel good about why now is a good time to buy. You always want to feel like that, right?
Right, you don’t want buyer’s remorse.
Agreed. They are asking questions like: “What are the interest rates?” and “Why should I buy right now?’ and “Am I going to get the best price?” So sharing worthwhile content online is a great way for brokers to break into the space.
And also, on Househappy’s broker profiles you can list all of the additional places that you can be found online…Twitter, Linkedin, ActiveRain, etc. We want people to be able to find you.
I’m not even looking for a house and every couple days I want to look on Househappy just to see what sort of houses are available right now.
It’s addictive, isn’t it?
It is, the listings are beautiful and it’s so easy to use. What’s going on at Househappy right now that you’re really excited about?
We just launched a new map feature. We’re really excited about that.
What are some things you might like to see in the future?
Oh, we have tons of plans. The list of features we want to introduce is long. Kevin used to be a broker, I used to be a broker, so we’re always interested in hearing what the brokers want. Chances are those features are probably already on our list, but if we hear that it’s a hot topic, we’ll try to roll it up to the top of the list.
Nice! And where can brokers submit those ideas?
They can write in, absolutely. The email address is email@example.com.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Househappy is built for brokers by brokers. That’s important to know when comparing us with other platforms, with how they are built and how they operate. We are ad-free and we want brokers to get the most out of the platform experience without spamming it with paid promotions.
It sounds like you’re providing a very strong service. I want to thank you so much for talking with me today, Robyn.
The pleasure is all ours.
Note: If your brokerage already syndicates listings through Listhub and you would like to post them on Househappy you can log in to your ListHub account at www.listhub.com, click “Marketing Choices,” then click “Publisher Choices” and select “Househappy” from the options.
Robyn Woodman is Vice President of Partnerships at Househappy, a next-generation global real estate search portal that is visual, intuitive, and free. For more information about partnering with Househappy, email robyn(at)househappy.org.