Real estate entrepreneur Kevin McCloskey thinks that shopping for houses online is still very clunky. The current online destinations for house hunters are still very agent driven and confusing for the general consumer who could find themselves on either end of the real estate transaction spectrum, the buyer or the seller.
That’s why he created his Portland Oregon based startup Househappy.org. Rather than looking at sites filled with numbers, charts and graphs, pictures, pictures and more pictures, along with social features and information presented in a much more consumer friendly way should drive people to Househappy.org.
McCloskey plans on rolling Househappy.org out to 60 major markets across the U.S. immediately after launch, with a goal in mind of making real estate on the web friendlier. His mission is “to simplify property search and make information accessible to everyone.”
“We believe Househappy represents the future of real estate search,” said Kevin McCloskey, CEO and founder. “While other real estate sites restrict the user’s experience and are loaded with charts and graphs, our design makes it easy for users to find what they’re looking for.”
While McCloskey never actually said he expects to be the Pinterest for Real Estate, it’s this kind of graphic and photo intensive site that shot Pinterest into popularity.
We got a chance to talk with McCloskey about Househappy. Check out the interview below:
What is HouseHappy?
Househappy.org is a user-generated, photo-driven real estate site. Our mission is to simplify property search and make information accessible to everyone.
In layman’s terms, how does it work? (In other words how would you explain it to your grandmother)
– Sellers and brokers can post properties for sale.
– Buyers can browse homes for sale.
– All users can share properties within Househappy, or on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
– Post and browse properties in all 50 states.
– All of these features are FREE.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Househappy was founded in 2011 by Kevin McCloskey, a former real estate broker with 25 years of experience in California, Oregon and Washington.
Where are you based?
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
We have an amazing start-up scene here in Portland. Within a mile from our office, there are dozens of companies who have secured tens of millions in funding. The coffee is strong, the beer is good…..it’s an amazing place to start a business.
How did you come up with the idea for Househappy?
As a broker through the 1990s, I saw the industry transition from brick and mortar to the web. Despite the potential of the internet to break down old barriers, real estate is still a fragmented, regional industry. The industry has really struggled to take advantage of things like social networking. Craigslist is the closest thing to an open community, but their format limits visibility and is not user-friendly.
I want to create an open platform for buyers, sellers and brokers. Free access, social networking features, user-friendly search…and pictures! People want to see the houses.
How did you come up with the name?
Finding a new home, a new place to live, should be a happy experience.
What problem does Househappy solve?
Househappy wants to improve the real estate experience for everybody involved. Buyers are sometimes hesitant to approach a broker, or intimidated by the financial aspects of the transaction. Househappy will provide a platform for all involved in the buying process to communicate on their own terms.
Buying a house is a visual experience. The internet is full of beautiful images and innovative ways to use them. Real estate sites still rely on graphs and data. Househappy will focus on the actual houses and provide data in a more approachable way.
What’s your secret sauce?
We have no affiliation with the established real estate industry. That allows us to create something entirely new.
Are you bootstrapped or funded?
We took a seed round from an angel investor.
What is your goto market strategy?
Our first and foremost strategy is to engage people through photos of properties and connect them with each other.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Finding talented developers to build an enterprise app has been a bit difficult. It took some time, but we have assembled a great team who is working long hours to fulfill our vision.
Who are some of your mentors and business role models?
Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com for one, because of his deep understanding of user experience and ability to execute successfully.
What’s next for HouseHappy?
Get the site launched and build the Househappy community.