Millennials are the largest and fastest growing segment of home buyers today.
“We thought they were under-served in the home search products that are out there – an experience that my co-founder and I experienced first – hand,” says Casamatic Co-Founder Alex Bowman.
Based in Cincinnati, Bowman and Chris Ridenour had a time of it searching for houses about three years ago.
“It was really hard to find the homes that we ended up buying,” Bowman says.
They spent months searching in the same areas everyone else was looking, with Bowman eventually purchasing a friend’s home and Ridenour landing in Northern Kentucky. During that time some glaring gaps in the process became apparent.
“The way that home search sites work, they don’t recommend things to you,” Bowman says.
Filling out a few basic filters like number of bedrooms, bathrooms and price range returned an all or nothing list of possible matches. They noticed sites didn’t pick up on nuances like smaller cities incorporated within Cincinnati (think Upper Arlington and Grandview Heights in Columbus).
About a year and a half ago, the duo started talking to other millennials to find out what factors influenced their home-buying decisions. That information would guide the way for Casamatic.
A free web-based application, Casamatic asks a home buyer a list of questions that goes beyond just bedrooms, bathrooms and price, and includes other lifestyle factors. Casamatic asks the address of any friends and family the home buyer wants to be near, ideal commute time, the importance of highly-rated public schools and yay or nay on pools. Favorite activities, types of food, styles of house and yard size also get their say in the algorithm.
“All those things are weighted differently,” Bowman says. “The cool thing about what we do is we’re scoring all these homes so if it’s above this certain threshold we’ll show it to you.”
Casamatic takes its algorithm very seriously. Bowman says that when it comes to something as emotional as home buying, they have to make sure their system works, and works well.
Instead of inadvertently limiting themselves to a basic list of houses in a certain area, compromise is often the name of the game when it comes to house hunting and the app is showing what some of those good compromises might be.
Casamatic pulls from the Multiple Listing Service – aka the master list of what’s for sale – and returns an initial list of good matches. A home buyer can update their preferences at any time, and also receive notification when a new house matching their criteria comes on the market.
Should a home buyer find a property that piques their interest, they can use Casamatic to schedule a walk through with a local real estate agent.
Casamatic service in Columbus comes in a wave of expansion that includes Phoenix, Raleigh, Charlotte and Nashville. Bowman says Central Ohio made the list for many reasons. First, a wealth of data indicates it’s a city many, many millennials are paying attention to, and with it’s close proximity to Cincinnati, it’s an area the founders know and love.
While service just launched April 1, “People really are excited about it,” Bowman says. “It’s the first time there’s a real recommendation engine for house hunting.”
For more information, visit casamatic.com.