Founded in part by agents at Compass Nook Real Estate Group and a proptech entrepreneur, the new portal lets buyers find specific architectural styles and agents offer sellers a new marketing resource.
The industry is experiencing a trend in lifestyle relocation.
Resort towns around the mountain west are seeing remarkable jumps in activity from urban dwellers wanting to retreat to less crowded, presumably safer towns and communities.
In the Inman Handbook on ramping up referral business, Compass Lake Tahoe broker at Team Blair Tahoe, Nicole Blair, said she hasn’t seen the market this active in 20 years.
The remote work lifestyle is taking hold, and homebuyers are seeking the homes they want, not the homes they thought they once needed.
Thus, it seems a company called Search With Style is launching at the right time. It calls itself the “first architecturally-based search engine and API for the real estate industry.”
The new real estate portal is dedicated to lifestyle-based home search. More specifically, it’s allowing buyers and their agents to find homes that match an architectural style. In an age where people are fleeing the sameness of the suburbs, homes with character matter now more than ever.
The company’s plan entails building and curating specific websites centered on a type of home. Its first is cabinhomes.com, expected to be live before September. Modernhomes.com won’t be far behind.
The company is registering similar domains frequently, and it has managed to win a number of property type-specific web addresses, including craftsmanbungalows.com and historicalhomes.com.
Featured homes on each site will have magazine-style layouts with lengthier descriptions and narrative stories on its details, location, and history.
Agents can choose to list on the site with a number of placement options and in the midst of related content, such as in-house written articles about famous cabins, for example, or types of cabin construction, along with longer-tail content about activities that correspond with owning that kind of home.
Each listing has a time stamp as to its recency (it’s common for unique homes to stand longer on the market), and can be part of a larger section of Curated Collections, such as “Modern Mountain” or “Cabins on the Coast.”
Search With Style domains will also allow agents who specialize in particular homes to showcase themselves to prospective buyers and browsers.
The properties are largely pulled from portal connections using a proprietary algorithm and automated image recognition. The company ensures every property fits its appropriate designation by reviewing them manually as well. Agents can create a listing from scratch, too.
The company also examines its agents’ sales records to see how much history they have in marketing a particular type of home.
Like all portals, the ultimate goal is to give the home shopper as close a result as possible to exactly what they are looking for, and that includes what they need in an agent as well. Staff will contact aspiring buyers shortly after expressing interest in a listing to further discuss needs and potentially connect them to an agent who knows that property type.
Unlike the major “every home type” portals, Search With Style is making the home search more an experience than a chore. Because of the specific home types, buyers should be more focused and more connected to why one home works and another doesn’t.
For listing agents, this is the type of site to use when your sellers want something different.
The nationwide portal’s COO is Brandon Hobbs, a Compass/Nook Real Estate Group agent who founded and sold to BoomTown lead qualification company Real Contact. He also worked for Zillow.
And he helped fund Search With Style’s first round of financing.
Co-founders of Search With Style who also work with Nook, include, co-founder and CMO Derek May and co-founder and President Mark Hughes.
Search With Style is not legally connected in any way to Compass.
The company’s plan is to continue to build out its domains and be fully up before summer ends. Until the browser portals are launched, homebuyers can use the Search With Style app on both iOS and Android platforms.
Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe
Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.