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How Is New Technology Revolutionizing the Homebuying Experience?

A Conversation with Matt Fagioli

According to a survey conducted by CoreLogic in 2021, nearly 80% of people looking to buy homes agreed that the homebuying process was very stressful. 58% noted that the pandemic has made the homebuying process much more difficult. And despite the digital world we live in, the process can still be cumbersome.

Matt Fagioli, owner and founder of BKG Brokerage Atlanta and broker advisor to CoreLogic, sits down with host Maiclaire Bolton Smith to talk about a new AI-enabled technology revolutionizing the homebuying experience: OneHome.

MAICLAIRE BOLTON SMITH: Welcome back to Core Conversations, a CoreLogic podcast. I am your host, Maiclaire Bolton Smith, and I’m the senior leader of research and content strategy with CoreLogic. In this podcast we’ll have conversations with industry experts about key topics, from housing affordability to the impacts of natural disasters on property.

Buying a home is an exciting yet stressful time. A home purchase is likely the biggest financial investment someone will make in their lives. And in today’s day and age, we’re so accustomed to everything being a seamless digital experience. Yet, the home buying experience can be such a process, whether it’s going back and forth on emails and texts, sharing listings, and waiting for feedback, or going through endless tasks of figuring out which home is the dream home and how much that dream home costs. The process can be long and cumbersome.

CoreLogic recently conducted a study in 2021 surveying Americans who were looking to purchase a home. Nearly 80% agreed that the home buying process was very stressful. And 58% noted that the pandemic has made the home buying process much more difficult.

I’m sure many have even shed a few tears during the process. I would be one of those people.

So a few years ago when my husband and I bought our first home, I remember wishing I could just find a home and buy it on Amazon. Well, what seemed like a pipe dream just a few years ago, is actually coming to life with OneHome from CoreLogic, a virtual collaboration portal, that enables agents and home buyers to connect like never before.

So for our episode today, I’m joined by Matt Fagioli, owner and founder of BKG Brokerage Atlanta and a broker advisor to CoreLogic. Matt. Welcome to Core Conversations.

MATT FAGIOLI: Thanks very much. I really appreciate it.

MBS: All right. So to get us started today, can you tell our listeners a little bit about your background?

MF: Sure. So I’ve been a real estate broker for almost 20 years. Before that I was in the technology space, for another, almost 20 years. So I’m dating myself. But got into the real estate industry and took a very tech-forward, marketing-forward approach to the business. And I have carried that on through the last 20 years—

MBS: Wow

MF: —selling real estate in Atlanta, done a bunch of consulting on the national stage for tech and marketing companies in the real estate space, and been working with CoreLogic for a long time as well.

MBS: Wow. So, great. Well, we’re happy to have you here. So in a previous episode, we talked about how the relationship between the home buyer and the real estate agent is so valuable. But why is communication so important in the home buying and selling process?

MF: Interestingly, it’s always been the most important thing. How you communicate. How often. What you relay when you’re speaking to a client. And always reaching out at those golden moments. And you know, having that sometimes fierce conversations, but making sure that you’re right on time with your communications has always been critically important.

MBS: Sure.

MF: But, in the last couple of years, you alluded to this in your opening, there’s so much happening in terms of the way the transaction is changing. People want that seamless Amazon experience. And, you know, the communication is becoming even more critical all the time.

And, you know, we can’t quite deliver that Amazon experience in real estate yet, but there’s all kinds of examples of that happening, or we’re starting to approach it more and more. And so having the right tools in your tool belt, so that you’re creating the most seamless communication possible, and sort of streamlining the process of buying or selling a home for a client.

You know, it’s interesting from our perspective as realtors, especially those of us who’ve been in the business for 10, 20, 30 years. We’ve know how difficult it’s always been. And so we expect the buyer or seller to enter the engagement, with them having some understanding of, Oh, this is just going to be hard. That’s what — real estate is just hard.

MBS: Right.

MF: But that is– especially younger buyer and seller, first time home buyers, second home, whatever. But, you know, I have children in their twenties, and they all– now they’re all homeowners because dad’s a real estate broker, but they’re all like, “why is this so freaking hard?”, Like, “Why can’t I just push a button?”. So their expectation is that experience.

MBS: Yeah. Definitely. And I– with that then, I want to just kind of dive into OneHome.

So we talked a little bit about this in the intro off the top, but for listeners who may not be familiar with it, it really is just a modern search experience. It puts the agent, the home buyer, the home seller, all on the same page. It’s like it’s a planner, and a whiteboard, and a dating app for homes. So really it’s just your trusted partner, and can instill confidence, as the home buyer really can understand clearly where they are in the process.

So, Matt, I know you’re familiar with OneHome. What is it about OneHome, especially in this more digitized world, that we’re in right now, that allows you to build your business and connect with your clients like never before?

MF: Sure. Well, it’s been true for all the years I’ve been in real estate that– we’ve always had tools in all those 20 years, from CoreLogic and others, that allow us to set up– We call them saved searches.

So client says, hey, you know, I’m interested in buying a home in the three hundreds in this ZIP code. And so if you’re doing your job right, you’re setting up a search for that person in the MLS, so that every time a new listing comes on the market, that meets their criteria, they’re going to get notifications about that.

MBS: Yeah.

MF: So that’s been true. Always. But, it’s been less true that there’s been a great portal experience for us to talk with the clients about those listings, and to stay at the front of the conversation, and stay at the center of their search process.

I had a new buyer email me for the first time today to referral from another market. So thanks to my friends in Miami. But they sent me an email, and they said, “Hey, we’re coming up this weekend, “we’re interested in seeing homes. “Here’s some homes we want to see”. All those links were from Zillow.

MBS: Wow.

MF: So, at the start of that interaction, right, that’s the starting point of the conversation is they’re, you know, sending me links with Zillow. And so I got to pull that conversation back to my world. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to set up search environments, we’re gonna send them back all these same listings and more in our world. We’re going to engage them in that platform so that they’re talking to us in our world and their eyes are focused here.

And so what OneHome does is gives us– There’s been other tools like that, but this is the most powerful tool to date, that allows us to try to lasso that conversation back.

MBS: So Matt, now that you are using this exciting new technology, what are the OneHome features that you see your clients using the most?

MF: Well, I think the biggest deal is for the client to be able to send us feedback on which listings they like and which ones they don’t. A place where we have a little better control over that information. And it’s all in one place, of course. And we also are getting insights into their search activity.

So, we can figure out you know, you know, you don’t have to be in real estate long before you hear the phrase, “Buyers are liars”. And what happens is, they said they wanted this, what they’re looking at is that. And so, you know, being able to connect those dots, and have that, have that insight, it’s a big, big deal.

MBS: That’s really interesting, because it can really help you learn more about your client and what they really want. And it’s interesting, because I really wonder if you say buyers are liars. Like I wonder if they even know what they want when they initially tell you, and through the search process, they start to realize they actually do, and maybe can’t afford, something that’s even a little different.

MF: Yeah, that’s exactly right. There’s no malicious intent here. They don’t really, we’re not saying they’re really lying. It’s just that things change down through the process. You think you want X, and it turns out you actually wanted Y. You think you wanted this price point, and it turns out, usually, well, it either stays the same or goes up, but usually doesn’t go down.

If somebody can start out saying I’m at reach for three’s, and go, you know what, we’re not finding what we wanted with the three’s, we want in the four’s and maybe we’re in the five’s. When we really get down to the house we actually want, it’s gonna cost us five. We thought maybe we could get it for 3.50 but we can’t.

And so what OneHome allows me to do is you’re seeing their search activity, and it ease up the question, hey, I understand now, I can see that, you know, you’re, you seem to be interested more in these houses, that are in the fives, or you know, do we need to change the pre-qualification? Do we need to make sure that we’re, you know, qualifying with lenders and then making offers on houses and looking at houses that are in the fives, in order to meet your goals. And so the platform gives you that insight. That’s really powerful.

MBS: Yeah. That, that is really powerful. I’m thinking about it from, you know, the agent’s perspective using this, because I’ve only really thought about this before from the home buyer’s perspective, where absolutely the house we bought, is not the house we set out to buy when we thought we started looking. So I can see how that’s a common feature, that many people do change their minds, once they realize what they can get, and what they do need. So, that’s really interesting.

MF: One of the things that is also really common is people say, I want to move to Atlanta. So this buyer that I mentioned earlier, that we just met today through email, is moving to Atlanta from Miami. Do they want to live in Atlanta? No. Do they want to? They think they might want to live in Marietta, but there’s 10 other places, that they’re going to discover, that they might want to live.

So that’s one of the other things really moves, you know. No one– everyone says, we’ve recently started doing business in Tampa. So everyone says, I wanna move to Tampa. Do they want to live in Tampa? No, they want to live in the suburbs North of Tampa. That kind of conversation.

MBS: Right. Well, very telling and very informative to be able to learn more about buyers search habits, to help them really find that dream home. So, okay, one other feature that, you know, we’re pretty excited about with OneHome is it allows you to browse, and compare your options for things like lenders, and mortgage provider, and insurance, and even service providers, if you were looking to remodel or repair your home. And this is called the Marketplace. So how is OneHome’s Marketplace going to be a game changer for you and your clients?

MF: Well, I’m glad you brought that up. I think that, the trick with all of these affiliated services is to position them with your client as extensions of your fiduciary relationship. So we’re explaining to the client that we’re there to help them with every aspect of the transaction. We want to make sure back to making it as seamless as possible, that they’ve got a great homeowner’s insurance solution set up, and they’ve got the right lenders through the process, and that we have their best interests in mind all the way through. And of course, you know, marketplace now can be customized for your specific relationships. And you’ve got the real opportunity to introduce all of those things.

And really, you know, I think all the best agents and brokers in the industry know that they should be bringing all of those pieces to bear, but OneHome makes it a little bit easier, a little bit more seamless to introduce all these other pieces. So I’m really excited about where that particular piece of the platform is now.

MBS: Sure. Yeah. Just a way of pulling it all together. Cause even though, you know, we all know that we need all those different things, and we may not have access to all of them. So finding a way to bring it in one seamless experience, really is helpful as this moves forward.

MF: And just teeing it up without having to introduce yet another platform. Teeing it up and saying, you know, here’s all these other things that you really need, and they’re just right there for you. So, you know, one of the many coolness of OneHome.

MBS: Wow. Well, I love to hear that. So, okay, so I just want to wrap things up, and let’s look to the future, and the spring and summer home buying season is typically the busiest of the year. So, as we head into this busy season, if you can look into your crystal ball, what things are, what are the things that buyers and sellers should be mindful of, and how can they make the most of it?

MF: Wow, that’s a big one. Well, certainly, you know, most people that are listening to this, that our agents and brokers won’t be shocked when I talk about limited inventory. You know, we’re at a incredibly unique moment in history. Low as possible as it’s never been.

And so, you know, we talked about how critical communication is, and part of that communication is engaging constantly with our buyers particularly about the inventory situation. OneHome helps us to make sure, that they’re seeing any brand new inventory, as soon as it’s possibly available, and being, you know, super prepared to make those instant offers.

It’s so incredibly common, that we have a buyer that we’re working with, who would love to buy this property, and it’s under contract so fast, that we never even got to present an offer. And so, you know, that’s another great thing about OneHome is, if we’ve done our work, let’s say, we’re working with a buyer for a few weeks. We’ve done the work of engaging them in the platform, and getting it set with them, so that they’re seeing those listings happen every day when they come up, and we can act as quickly as possible, to take action on that listing when it comes up. So that’s probably the biggest thing.

And again, I don’t think it’s going to be coming as any kind of epiphany to agents and brokers listening to this, but that’s the power of OneHome, is it just takes you one step closer, gets you one step faster. You know, you kind of think of it as a literal foot race. You know, if you’re in a 100-yard dash, and you’re one step faster, you might just win that deal. And so, you know, OneHome helps you do that.

MBS: Wow. It really is the competitive advantage, in the hottest of hot markets, that we’re seeing right now, so.

MF: Absolutely.

MBS: Well, that’s so great, Matt. So any last minute thoughts, or parting comments for us today?

MF: Sure. Well, I think, the best thing that I could share I think, about where we are in the current market, and the way to maximize your success, and what we’re focused on is continuing to build deep relationships, one human at a time, which, you know, sounds sort of old school and shade, but all of this conversation about platforms, and eyeballs, and you know, at the end of the day, if the client wants to work with you, and feels in relationship with you, and you know, whether they say that, you know, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

MBS: Yeah. I think agents, a lot of times, have a tendency to put themselves forward as, hey I know you should work with me. But, you know, the client really is– You know, the reality is that it’s like, hey, how much do you love me, Now, I want to work with you, and now I want to come back and bring the– I found these listings over here, but I’m going to bring them back to you.

So, you know, we can do everything in the world technology wise, right? And if we don’t win in the relationship side, then we don’t win.

MBS: Yeah. So, so important, because home buyers have options, and if they don’t connect with their agent, there’s plenty of other ones out there that would love their business, I’m sure. So I think that is a really important point.

MF: Absolutely.

MBS: Yeah. Well, you know, just working at CoreLogic for a number of years, one of my favorite things is just knowing that at CoreLogic, we’re kind of like a ninja behind the scenes, and 70% of the homes sold each year, really pull on CoreLogic solutions.

And it’s just, this is just exciting to have another advancement, that can really help people find their dream home, and really bring it into the day and age with everything being digital and seamless.

So, Matt, this has been so great. Thank you for joining me today on Core Conversations, a CoreLogic podcast.

MF: Yeah. Thank you so much for inviting me. It was great conversation. I hope it was helpful.

MBS: Awesome. Okay. Well, for more information on the property market and the housing economy, please visit corelogic.com/insights. Thanks for listening. I hope you’ve enjoyed our latest episode. Please remember to leave us a review, and let us know your thoughts, and subscribe wherever you get your podcast to be notified when new episodes are released.

And thanks to the team for helping bring this podcast to life. Producer Rhea Turakhia, editor and sound engineer Romie Aromin, and social media guru Mike Wojcik.

Tune in next time for another Core Conversation.

© 2021 CoreLogic Inc., All rights reserved.

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