Flyhomes wants to solve the often painful experience of buying a house, and to do that, the Seattle real estate startup decided it needs to be involved in every part of the transaction.
Flyhomes, which started as a brokerage and has emphasized a program to make cash offers on behalf clients, is expanding with new lines of business to deal with mortgages, title and escrow, repairs and renovations and more. Flyhomes is staffing up in each of those areas and working with vendors as well.
The move to become a more full-service real estate company comes from customer complaints about various parts of the home sales process.
“We started Flyhomes Crew because clients would come to us every day asking for recommendations of handymen and contractors for renovations,” Flyhomes CEO Steve Lane said about the company’s new maintenance and repairs business line. “We were already recommending providers for our clients and it felt like we were only halfway in. Today, we’re owning it. If something goes wrong or there’s a delay, we’re there to help. We’ve built vendor networks and partnerships to ensure that every Flyhomes client, both present and past, can get quotes without the hassle and uncertainty that can often be one of the biggest drawbacks of homeownership.”
Flyhomes is far from the only company trying to solve the riddle that is real estate, with small startups and large public companies alike taking aim at home sales from different angles. Some see directly purchasing homes and selling them straight to the public as part of the solution. Others are tackling specific pain points.
And there’s big money in disrupting real estate, with huge deals going down just in the last few days. Yesterday, Seattle general contracting startup Pro.com announced a $33 million funding round, that included Redfin as an investor and potential partner. On a larger scale, Knock, a real estate company launched by founding members of Trulia, this week landed a whopping $400 million to build a national home trade-in platform.
Lane says Flyhomes is watching and learning from other ideas being tested in the market. He added that competition helps the company innovate, and that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for all the challenges in real estate.
“We believe the market will require entirely different innovations for each home buyer segment,” Lane said. “First-time home buyers require a different product experience than homeowners who are looking to sell and trade up, which is a different experience than what empty-nesters that are looking to move to a smaller property will require.”
One of Flyhomes’ first runs at disrupting home sales is its Cash Offers program. The company made its first offer — using its own cash to by a house for a pre-qualified client and then selling the home to the buyer once they’ve secured financing — a year ago. Flyhomes has since made 230 offers on behalf of 191 clients.
Flyhomes saw a more than 2.5x increase in revenue over 2017, though it did not give a dollar figure. The company grew from 25 employees at the start of 2018 to more than 100 today, with plans to staff up even faster this year.
Flyhomes recently expanded to Portland, its fifth market overall after its hometown of Seattle, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago.