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Listing Bits: Making Real Estate Mobile with HomeSpotter CEO Aaron Kardell

by Greg Robertson on September 27th, 2017

By 2009, mobile users could do a lot with smartphone apps—get directions, listen to music, take pictures, play games, even film a video. Aaron Kardell thought that you ought to be able to add ‘look for a house’ to the growing list of applications, and he founded HomeSpotter with the intention of doing just that.

Aaron grew up in rural Nebraska in a family of entrepreneurs. He started writing software programs in high school, and went on to earn a BS in computer science at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He originated several businesses, including Altona Ed, an ed tech student information system that was acquired by Pearson School Systems in 2004.
Aaron’s first experience with location-based iPhone applications came along in 2009 when he created iGarageSale. Very shortly thereafter, a broker contacted Aaron about building an app to complement the firm’s successful lead generating website. Aaron retained intellectual property rights, and Mobile Realty Apps was born. The company rebranded as HomeSpotter in 2015, and today they have offerings for MLSs, brokers and agents. On this episode, Aaron joins Greg live from CMLS in Austin to discuss HomeSpotter’s business model, the latest capabilities around mobile listing input, and HomeSpotter’s recent launch of Boost, an automated digital marketing system with trackable ROI.

What’s Discussed: 

Aaron’s entrepreneurial family
How Aaron developed an interest in writing software programs

The genesis of HomeSpotter
– Created iGarageSale app
– Realtor asked to build app as consultant
– Retained intellectual property rights

The tactical mistakes HomeSpotter made early on
Why Aaron chose to take the native mobile route

How Aaron built a business in the 99¢ app store world
– Relied on SaaS model
– White label broker offering

HomeSpotter’s service offerings
– White label platform for brokers
– MLS member access on-the-go
– Boost (automated digital marketing with trackable ROI)

How high agent adoption in MLS markets led to the introduction of additional products
The new capabilities around mobile listing input

– Ability to edit listings (corrections, status changes)
– Update photo support capabilities

How Aaron funded HomeSpotter
– Personal capital sustained first three years
– Angel investors in Minneapolis/St. Paul

The particulars of HomeSpotter’s newest offering, Boost
– Automated system
– For agents, teams, brokers
– Creates Facebook/Instagram ads for each new listing
– Targets prospective buyers and seller
– Helps average agent be more effective with marketing

Greg’s hesitance to get into the ‘advertising business’
Why agents are willing to spend more for advertising than tools
The scalability of an app like Boost

How HomeSpotter is upselling current subscribers to try Boost

– Partnering with brokers, franchises, MLSs
– Email agent when listing added
– Brokers pay for initial week in some cases

How Aaron’s team generates ideas for new products

Cloud CMA’s deal with Tom Ferry
The pros and cons of a pay-per-listing pricing model
The difference between HomeSpotter’s free and premium versions for MLS


Cloud CMA’s Listing Presentation Kit by Tom Ferry
Zillow’s Report on Trends in Residential Relocation

Connect with Aaron Kardell:

Aaron on LinkedIn

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