Home improvement marketplace provider Porch has extended its database and established a partnership with Realtor.com., with the aim of providing potential home buyers with information on the history of the house they are interested in, plus the neighborhood.

Porch partners with Realtor.com to provide renovation reports on homes for sale

Since last year Seattle-based startup Porch, whose original mission was to make home improvements easy for homeowners by providing a database of home improvement contractors, has amassed a huge database of documents relating to renovation projects and other work carried out on houses throughout the United States. Up to now, it has only made this data available on a neighborhood level on its own website but is now extending its service, seeking to give people extra information that will help them find the right home to buy. Porch has forged a partnership with real estate websiteMove Inc’s online real estate platform Realtor.com, which now enables prospective home buyers to request a detailed report on any of the properties listed on the site. This new Porch Home and Neighborhood Report gives potential buyers new insight into the background of houses and neighborhoods. With its extensive database, the startup is in a position to apply big data technology to the real estate sector, and is looking to bring greater clarity and convenience to the process of searching for a new home.

Info on refurbishments carried out

The Porch Home and Neighborhood Reportgives an overview of the house, including utility costs, details of work carried out, photos and information on the builders and artisans who have worked on the house in question and on other homes in the area. The report also provides insights into the neighborhood, such as the number of years neighbors have lived in their homes, average home value, median price per square foot, the percentage of the properties that are owner-occupied, and other details on nearby houses. The Porch website already gives general details of projects that have been carried out in a given area, but these new home reports provide specific information on homes for sale. Most of this information will come from the 1.5 million contractors whose work Porch currently indexes – a total of about 98 million projects currently in its database. When a potential buyer requests a report from the Realtor.com website, it will be emailed by the estate agent handling that particular property, thus opening up opportunities for the various parties to work together. Real estate owners and buyers can use the service free of charge, but home improvement contractors – renovators, plumbers, electricians, etc. – will be charged.

Detail never before available to customers

This new feature on the Realtor.com website enables customers to access a level of information hitherto never available in one place. Moreover such information never used to be passed on from owner to owner and was therefore usually lost each time the property changed hands so that there was no continuity or follow-up on home improvement projects. In order to reassure potential buyers about the honesty of the information provided, Porch CEO Matt Ehrlichman stresses that the houses’ less favorable points will also be reported. He argues however that refurbishments carried out by professional contractors will in most cases be well done and tend to add value to a house. Homeowners can also upload information on their own homes. This partnership with Porch now gives Realtor.com access to the kind of information that its competitors do not have. In a tightly-packed online real-estate market, this new service should therefore enable the real estate specialist to stand out from its rivals.  Meanwhile Porch is looking to become the ‘go-to’ service for this kind of information and is planning to establish partnerships with other players. This new move to link up the different professions involved in the home-buying process and share a wealth of information on both an area and home refurbishments may be set to revolutionize the real estate industry.

By Manon Garnier