The era of subjectivity in choosing the right home and neighborhood has ended – well, sort of. Seriously speaking, just like any other decisions you make in life, you should research first before you decide to buy a real estate property. And we all know that research is quite a problem due to one reason or another, namely the questionable objectivity of the information you read, watch or hear.
We need to get down to some facts and figures, and to be honest with you, there is not many choices. Storm Duncan, CEO of DwellAware attempts to change that. Here is what he has in mind.
Tell us about your business and what it does
DwellAware provides a mobile and web application to help you easily and confidently find the most comfortable, highest quality home you can afford.
Our system ensures that users are fully informed and confident that the house, as well as key factors, such as the neighborhood, transport, and budget is perfectly suited to exactly to their needs. The user can analyze — on a hyper-local level — which property best suits each individual components they look to satisfy. Not only does the platform include the standard search parameters, but it facilitates the choices of its users by giving critical insights, such as the chosen home’s comfort, quality, and even monthly costs, before a decisions is made. In a nutshell, the platform will be the most informative real estate source to date.
By letting homebuyers search for and compare neighborhoods and homes based on previously non-existent information, we aim to expose these critical insights from the beginning of the search process and reduces our customer’s fears, making the entire process more enjoyable and successful.
What was the original inspiration behind the idea for your business?
Buying a home exposes six of the 20 greatest anxieties in life all at the exact same moment in time. Many of these anxieties exist because buyers have important questions that are not being answered: is this the best neighborhood for my family, what are the neighbors like, what are the hidden costs and monthly bills, can I afford all of the bills, how much upfront cash do I need, how comfortable is this home throughout the year, etc.
All of these questions eventually would have been answered for the buyer after they moved in to their new home, but we think that is too late. DwellAware provides this transparency to homebuyers before they even visit a home for the first time let alone make an offer.
The choice of our home is much more than just the location, it also comes down to personal choices of neighborhood, affordability, proximity to our friends, and proximity to schools and work. Our homes are our primary asset, financially and personally. We spend most of our time and money on them and we want to be fulfilled and fully satisfied with our choice.
Have you owned a successful business before? What were the characteristics that led to success?
I started by advising a technology startup called NexGen, which was acquired by AMD. I remember how the CEO of NexGen was singularly focused on the meritocracy of solutions, rather than the nonsense of hierarchy. I was immediately captivated, and have been advising, investing in, and running technology startups ever since.
How does your product and/or company stand out from its competition?
Real estate search engines can only take the user so far, as they only narrow down the search to a point where you ultimately need a local agent, who is hardwired into the local sphere to give you the insightful advice that can’t be gained online. They profit from closing sales as frequently as possible. We believe that transparency creates friction in this model, and we bridge that gap and give a fully comprehensive service.
We are exclusively focused on helping homebuyers buy the right home. We do this by providing them with previously unavailable, but absolutely necessary transparency and insights about each dwelling’s comfort, quality, monthly bills and affordability, and we do so from the very beginning of their search.
What is the most important lesson you learned in the early stages of your business?
It’s never too early to start testing your idea and product with potential users. Early and frequent feedback helps reduce cycle time, energy, and costs. When we fail to do this, we often spend countless hours building a solution that we have to rebuild once we expose it to customers.
What are the key company milestones that you would like to achieve over the next year?
We plan on releasing our fully integrated search product, and iterating with customers on any friction points until we have a solution that our customers champion for us. At this point, we will expand our product to help all home buyers nationally.