If you’re in the market to buy or sell your home in a traditional way there are plenty of resources for you. When it comes to mobile we immediately think of Zillow. On the web there’s hundreds of websites that will easily access MLS listings for you and make it easier for you to do your own work on buying or selling your home before bringing a real estate agent into the mix.
For those looking to buy or sell real estate as investors though, the tools are quite limited.
San Diego startup Revestor is all about real estate from the investors perspective. The tools out there today allow investors to sift through hundreds of thousands of listings but they don’t take into consideration the important information for investors when it comes to looking for the best deals.
“Revestor is a multidimensional patent-pending real estate search engine that finds homes-for-sale by the highest potential cash flow based on the average rents in the area. Revestor can be accessed for free on the web or on the iPhone as a free App. Our goal in 2013 is to be the #1 ‘must have’ tool for real estate investors and real estate agents who work with real estate investors. Revestor solves one of the hardest problems in real estate investing: finding deals in the first place. Instead of spending hours sifting and sorting through multiple websites and archaic spreadsheets, Revestor does all the heavy lifting by presenting potential listings/opportunities to our users so they can go out and do their due-diligence. We simply give investors and agents a better place to start from. Users can expect User Profiles, Foreclosure Auctions, Advanced Searching, Alerts, and Advertising to be released in 2013.” Founder & CEO Bill Lyons told us in an interview.
We talked in depth with Lyons about Revestor, check out the interview below.
In layman’s terms, how does Revestor work? (In other words how would you explain it to your grandmother)
Revestor is a way to search homes that are listed for sale like an investor would. If you see buying a home as an investment then you are going to want to use Revestor to do it. Revestor generates key indicators like estimated rent, cash flow, cap rate, cash-on-cash return, ROI, etc. Investors can see potential returns and adjust the numbers accordingly. Home buyers can see if the home can rent for the payment to lower their risk as well as see if a property has potential to be a good overall investment for their family. When you see beyond what the other sites provide: location, beds, and price you can really see a picture that you’ve never seen before. Its an eye opening experience for most. Its like flying a helicopter with one gauge opposed to multiple. In todays nanosecond society everybody wants all the answers instantly at their fingertips so they can figure it out for themselves.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Bill Lyons is the Founder and CEO. Formerly, Mr. Lyons ran a multi-million dollar financial services company with over 250 employees. He is an expert at building teams, motivating employees, creating a performance-driven culture and operational systems for maximum effectiveness.
Boris Kaliman is Co-Founder and CIO. Mr. Kaliman and Mr. Lyons have known each other for over 10 years and met when Mr. Kaliman developed a CRM/LMS for Mr. Lyons that became a standard for the industry. Mr. Kaliman is a highly skilled programmer and database architect/manager.
Tom Ketter is Co-Founder and CTO. Mr. Ketter and Mr. Kaliman have worked together for over 6 years. Mr. Ketter, has a proven track record leading teams and projects. Mr. Ketter is a highly skilled web and mobile programmer.
Where are you based?
San Diego (Bill) and San Francisco (Boris and Tom)
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
San Diego has historically been non-existent but is looking up lately. Historically the San Diego tech scene has been limited to large corporations such as Qualcomm and startups have been limited to bio-tech. Same goes with San Diego investors they either invest in bio-tech or they don’t invest at all (instead they just put “Angel Investor” on their LinkedIn profile and waste everybody’s time at the expense of their own ego). These people can be major “time-vampires” . Like the term “wantrepreneur” has been adopted for some Entrepreneurs it only seems right to come up with something for this group. Some of these came to mind: “WantaBeInvestor” but since it is San Diego might as well come up with more of a surf name like “Kook Capital” or “Angel Poser” ha! However, their has been some recent press from the local newspaper www.utsandiego.com finally starting to cover startups and this site http://sdtechscene.org/
It will be tough to tell if San Diego will be the next San Francisco or even on the map as being a startup friendly city or have a big enough talent pool
How did you come up with the idea for Revestor?
I saw a major problem in the marketplace with investors and agents spending hours worth of research to find deals in the first place. I also saw how apprehensive regular home buyers were to buy. People were begging for real estate to catch up to todays technology so they can make better decisions based on more information. Our mission to to provide the best user experience and give users a whole new look at real estate. As the market bottoms out and starts to grow again people want to make better decisions this time around. If we can save people time and money while helping them reduce risk we’ve achieved our goal.
How did you come up with the name?
One of our Advisors, Teevan McManus, came up with the name. He was helping us cultivate the idea and spent all night searching domains. I think he did a search “real estate investor” and came up with play on words: “Revestor” I think the name is pretty cool.
What problem does Revestor solve?
Instead of searching multiple websites and then entering the data from each website into a spreadsheet one by one by one Revestor overlays ontop of residential real estate listings (and soon to be foreclosure auctions) then runs it through our database and calculates which properties may have the most potential. Revestor does all the work upfront over ALL the data instead of trying to do it one by one. I believe that one of the biggest myths in real estate investing is “There are no good deals on the MLS, All the good deals are OFF MARKET deals or Foreclosure Auctions” This simply isn’t true, there just hasn’t been an effective way to find deals on the MLS until Revestor. Revestor isn’t perfect or an end all be all but rather a pre-due-diligence tool that helps you get a better starting point. If the rents are off in the area users can simply adjust them. We also have some really cool stuff coming out with the ‘Super User’ and ‘Premium Accounts’ that will help investors and agents quantum leap in 2013.
What’s your secret sauce?
No secret sauce, no magic we just automate a process that is already being done manually without todays technology. The competition is falling short and not providing the experience users are looking for. Its our job to fill in the holes and do something really innovative in the process. User Experience is our #1 value as a company. Revestor is really a ‘user driven’ site that will ultimately become a site that gives users what they want and are looking for in a real estate search site.
What are some milestones you’ve achieved?
* Patent Submission Aug ’11
* Regional Launch Dec ’11 (Added more cities month by month)
* iPhone App Sept ’12
* Nationwide Launch Oct ’12
* Retention: 23% Returning Visitors (will drastically increase with release of ‘User Profiles’ and ‘Alerts’)
* Average Duration: 3:06min
* PageViews: 3.63/visit
What’s your next milestone?
Our next milestone is maintaining, increasing and monetizing the traffic. We will be releasing our advertising platform for the real estate agents (1million plus agents nationwide), our Premium Accounts for real estate investors (an estimated 7million nationwide). The user experience will improve when users have all the new features that we have planned. The FAQ on our blog is a good resource to see what is coming.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Its easy to be misunderstood. We had a challenge from some press we received that the site was not 100% free and that everybody had to pay $99/mo no matter what. It was also said that we claimed to predict the future. Our brand is very important to us so we did a little PR and corrected everything so people understood that the site is 100% free and will eventually have an optional upgrade for real estate investors. We also explained that Revestor simply gives more information about the property today/now not 5yrs into the future. Cash flow, cap rate, cash-on-cash return are all numbers based on today. ROI is the ONLY indicator on the site that projects potential return into the future. It is up to the user to enter in their unique situation based upon their planned exit strategy for the property. We thought that this section was important on the site so that is why we left it in. A majority of real estate investors don’t have an exit strategy when they buy and we believe they should. An important lesson is to be as clear as you can and to make sure your reticular activators are turned up full blast so your sensory acuity is on full alert. WIth anything new or unknown someone can be asking one question when you think they are asking something else
Who are some of your mentors and business role models?
Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins, Jay Abraham, Dan Millman, Jack Welch, Steve Jobs, (the usual suspects, was Mark Cuban but now I think I’m gonna move back to Donald Trump, just kidding I actually like both of them for different reasons)
I try to read Business Insider and Inman News daily, I try to go to an educational seminar or conference every quarter and read a new book.
What’s next for Revestor
Sky is the limit. We are focused on user experience and continuing to develop and release the features our users are asking for.
Where can people find out more?