In our latest real estate tech entrepreneur interview, we’re speaking with Sarah Biggerstaff from Homease.
Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Sarah Biggerstaff. I am the CEO and founder of the Homease App for Realtors.
We are a digital community connecting Realtors to a vetted and reputable network of contractors, subs, inspectors, and all other vendors/home service professionals for themselves and their clients based on reviews and recommendations from trusted Realtor colleagues (a.k.a. their ‘homies’). It is a one-stop shop FREE tool for Realtors. We launched in Austin, Texas in January of this year and are currently servicing the Greater Austin area. In June of this year we partnered with Williamson County Association of REALTORS® (WCAR) to offer Homease as a free member benefit to their nearly two thousand Realtor members.
As a Realtor on Homease, search for reputable companies based on category and keyword searches, read about the companies and what specialties they offer, access special promotions to Realtors and their clients exclusively through Homease, call and text the companies directly through the app, and share the vendor profile pages directly with a client or another Realtor via text message. Realtors can also find and ‘follow’ their Realtor ‘homies’ in order to easily see their reviews and recommendations on the app.
What problem does your product/service solve?
A large part of what Realtors do before, during, and post-real estate transactions is recommending contractors, inspectors, and other home service professionals to assist their clients with getting their homes ready to put on the market, with inspections after going under contract, and with work and remodeling that gets done post-closing. Our clients almost always lean on us for these recommendations. So, where do Realtors find companies to recommend their clients to? They generally ask other Realtors they know and trust. This was how I came up with the name Homease, which is a play on words from ‘homies.’ Homease offers a streamlined tool where agents can find trusted, reputable companies that are recommended by other agents. It’s a win-win for all parties!
Before a vendor becomes ‘Homease Approved,’ they undergo a stringent vetting process whereby we collect three references from Realtors they have worked with; we verify their general liability insurance and their state licensing; we conduct an owner-background check; we do a phone screening with each company; and we check their online reviews as well as their BBB ratings. It is this very thorough vetting process that allows us to offer ‘Options with Ease’ to Realtors and their clients. As Realtors, it is imperative that we make solid and trustworthy recommendations to our clients. Homease is a solution that allows agents to do this within seconds and at no cost to them.
What are you most excited about right now?
Mostly, I am excited and grateful to finally be running the company of my dreams! Although we just launched in January of this year, I have been working on Homease for about two years. I spent quite a bit of time conducting market research interviewing Realtors to find out how and where they were searching for vendors and what is most important to them in the companies that they choose to work with and recommend to their clients.
Beginning in October of this year, Homease will begin advertising in RealtyLine Austin, a well-known industry publication for the Greater Austin real estate industry. This will be a wonderful opportunity to not only get the word out about Homease to our 14,000 Austin-area Realtors but also to promote the awesome companies that we work with in a full page ad that will run each and every month.
In general, I am excited about our brand ‘Homease’ and all the things that could potentially be done with the brand it as we expand geographically and otherwise. I am also excited about potential future partnerships with other local boards/associations of Realtors.
What’s next for you?
Right now my main focus is on continuing to grow our user base of Realtors (‘homies’) on the app, continuing to fill in our categories each with five reputable companies, and to track all the ‘success stories’ that happen through the app so that I can use them for continued sales and marketing. Eventually, I would love to expand Homease to other markets and to do a zip code integration into the app to pair agents and vendors based on zip codes. While expanding nationally over the next five years would be great, I am continuing to focus my efforts on the Austin-area.
What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?
I love animals and especially dogs. I adopted a rescue dog in March of this year; her name is Nova. I support Austin Pets Alive which is a local animal no-kill shelter here in Austin. They are actually our charity organization this year for Austin Young Real Estate Professionals (AYREP), which is the Austin chapter for Young Professionals Network (YPN) which I serve on the board for. We set a goal at the beginning of this year to raise $10,000 for Austin Pets Alive and we are on track to meet our goal!
Thanks to Sarah for sharing her story. If you’d like to connect, find her on LinkedIn here.
We’re constantly looking for great real estate tech entrepreneurs to feature. If that’s you, please read this post — then drop me a line (drew @ geekestatelabs dot com).