Looking to develop a marketplace platform to better serve customer needs? See how a workshop and MVP approach can help expedite your idea to market.
Putting the Home Buyer Back in the Driver's Seat
A marketplace developed from the ground-up helping consumers connect with real estate agents and mortgage officers in five minutes or less
HomeownerNow is an online platform that provides a digital community to help connect home buyers to real estate agents and loan officers. The goal of the organization is to put the home buyer in control of their own experience, making it easier to build trust in what is often the biggest investment and decision that individuals and families make in their lifetimes.
A group of successful business owners approached us with an idea relating to what they felt was a drastically underserved and underappreciated consumer market within home buying. The concept was simple. To better connect individuals looking for homes and home mortgages with people that shared their same core values.
On one side of the group was an individual that had been consistently ranked over the last couple years as one of the top mortgage originators and coaches in the country. Helping to produce billions in home loans for consumers. On the other end was a mortgage banking company with over 2,000 employees and 180 branches throughout the US. Both were appalled at the desensitization that much of the industry put on getting a home loan. While buying a home and getting approved for a loan was serious business, it was all handled with a sort of blasé. With much of the loan origination side left in the backdrop.
Their vision was to help connect individuals with people in the loan marketplace they could trust. To put the power of choice back into the consumers hands. The ask? To build the brand and software to run this idea from scratch.
Los Angeles, CA
Strategy, Experience, Development
Workshops, User Experience, User Interface, Software
With the seeds of an idea already planted in the owners’ heads, our first step was to get all of that information out into the open. One of the largest risks in working entrepreneurs in launching a new business concept is not gaining enough shared meaning from the start. These ideas have usually been thought of and flushed out in many ways (right and wrong) for months or even years before an agency is engaged. And as such we put an in-depth focus on discovery to start the process. It was our job to establish a single vision in the immediate and challenge any threats to it, even from the inside.
This resulted in multiple all-day workshops in order to understand, map out and programmatically understand how operations and technology would intersect. About much more than just “executing”, it was key to get the buy-in and agreement of exactly what path this idea would take shape down.
After aligning the UX flow, site architecture and scalability plan with potential business value we began building. The first phase in the process focused on an MVP model to kick out a software platform that could be iterated upon in the future. Within 10 weeks we had a working prototype in Ruby on Rails, flush with a catchy UI design that was debuted in a large mortgage conference in Las Vegas.
Having been live and functional for nearly a year we are currently iterating on the third phase of the platform itself, working to automate more and more operations, lead flow and new market features. With hundreds of real estate agents and loan officers signed up all over the country and thousands of consumers visiting every couple days; the platform surpassed the proof of concept phase within only 3 months of launching.
Our sights collectively with the client have set on furthering the brand. It is no longer just about proving that the platform is useful, but about refining the messaging and beliefs that people will form when consuming HomeownerNow as a brand.
The largest current focus relies on us working with HomeownerNow to balance marketing for both consumers of the platform as well as professionals of the platform with that of building out the features that continue to provide market value.