As we exit 2020 (likely eagerly for most) and think about the coming year, we at HomeBinder are thinking about the ways that homeownership is evolving in centralized ways for both the benefit of the homeowner and the businesses that serve them.
The core theme of HomeBinder is CENTRALIZE as displayed front and center on our website. Our belief is that centralizing home information, actions, and people brings improved ability for homeowners to manage (and ultimately sell) their home. Further, it brings a greater connection between the homeowner and the businesses that support their ownership.
We are not alone in this effort. Many tech enabled businesses are also rowing in this direction. The reasons are twofold. First, we have a generation of homebuyers and owners that expect things to be much simpler than they are today to get things done whether it is finding a plumber, getting insurance, refinancing a loan or replacing a product (e.g. air or water filter) in their home. Centralizing information supports these efforts. Second, the advancement of technology and connectivity (mobile tech, AI, payment systems, API availability, image processing) are allowing that to happen in ways that previously would have taken people an extensive amount of time.
Here are five ways in which we’ll see more of this centralization take place in 2021:
- Increased Home Device Adoption – Devices for the home (Google Home, Amazon Echo, Facebook Portal, Apple HomePod) have already been adopted by millions of homeowners and today people are getting devices bundled in with other items they may be purchasing for their home such as security systems. Although there are concerns of data privacy, most homeowners are accepting the tradeoff of their concerns for the convenience of having something that is more and more connected to the lights, heating system, information, and shopping for their home.
- Home Insurance Evolution – There are a number of companies such as Young Alfred and Branch that are transforming the way people find and purchase home insurance by using cutting edge user experiences, selling direct, bundling, and data feeds. A myriad of home IoT devices that are promoted by insurance carriers such as water shut-off devices bring unified protection. And finally, conversations are happening about how the telematics for the car (Progressive Snapshot, Drive Safe and Save) can be brought in a similar way to the pricing of insurance policies for the home (though don’t expect this anytime in the next several years).
- Faster Home Loan Borrowing Experiences – The dominant player in the mortgage space, Quicken has elevated the bar in the last couple of years with RocketMortgage. They have been able to put an extraordinary amount of technology into the loan application process making it seamless and ‘magical’ for the consumer. The broader market is turning to companies like SimpleNexus and Blend to bring cutting edge mobile tech to the mortgage processing process. This is achieved by centralizing loan data and documents in a way that benefits both the borrower and the loan officer creating less work and a faster close time.
- Home Management – There are more and more tools and services available to help manage a home. In 2020 Setter was acquired by Thumbtack and companies such as Super or House Happy continue to advance the outsourcing of home management and centralizing information into a platform to help make ownership a bit easier. HomeBinder is in this category as well, as we see the need for a common place for all home information, regardless of origin to get recorded for current and future use. Bringing all aspects of ownership under a single hood gives value and peace of mind to homeowners and imprinting of businesses to homes and specific projects and maintenance that they may be associated.
- Improvements in Home Valuation Tools – Ever since Zillow launched its Zestimate® tool in 2006, it remains one of the more publicly known Automated Valuation Models (AVMs). Despite national accuracy hovering around 8% (that’s off by $40K on $500K house) it continues to draw the attention of homeowners, sellers and buyers alike. What is missing here is both more data and better “in-home” data as often comparable (“comp”) data tells only a piece of the value of a home. Merging datasets are beginning to come together to better inform buyers, lenders, insurers, retailers, and marketers.
We’ve seen a lot of these trends happen in other markets where information comes together to benefit consumers and businesses alike. Automotive, healthcare, financial products, and commodities. The residential housing market is definitely behind, but in terms of size is as formidable as all of the above given the sum total of residential housing in the US is north of $34 trillion dollars and so a lot is at stake. Of course, it won’t all happen in 2021 as it is a big ship to turn, but the foundational elements are there to chart a course where all of homeownership is at your fingertips in a centralized way.
Thank you and Happy New Year!
CEO and Founder, HomeBinder