Long-term customer retention is at the heart of CORE Home: Tech Review

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CORE Home is an aftermarket customer retention solution from Inside Real Estate.

Platforms: Navigator; Mobile app iOS, Android
Ideal for: All kvCORE customers and their customers

Main Selling Points:

  • Links all stages of home ownership
  • Inspired by the consumer
  • Home search in portal grade app
  • Integrated into the kvCORE ecosystem
  • Fully white-labeled, brokerages retain all brand benefits

Main concern:

Nothing is automatic. As well thought out as this software is, agents need to stay up to date with how their customers are using it. In short, don’t let his alerts and abilities linger in time. This is not a solution offered as a simple sweepstakes, it is a business partnership model.

What you should know

Home is a new entry in the growing suite of kvCORE real estate business solutions that aims to keep clients and brokers connected through every stage of the transaction lifecycle, which includes gaps between active activities. The software is in beta and some aspects remain in engineering. kvCORE customers are testing out-of-the-box components, and I bet they’re pretty happy with what’s been done so far.

First, know that this isn’t just another “how to run your home” advice list with a picture of an agent digitally taped around the corner. The glorified fridge magnet approach to post-deal customer retention pushed me like a wart on my lips, making me a little anxious to see what Inside Real Estate (IRE) had been telling me about for the past few months.

Phew.

What you need to understand is that retaining customers is a reality in business, a basic need to stay in business. It can’t be an afterthought, in fact it has to be an afterthought, something in your head from the first contact. The best real estate agents don’t think about transactions. If you want to have a better year, think about next year.

When it comes to creating a product to help you do that, vendors have to do more than just help you hand off a bunch of tasks to customers, expecting them to hook you up to replace the filter water from their refrigerator. It requires a strategy and a value proposition. That’s what’s happening within CORE Home, and the difficulty of manifesting that in software is probably what’s taken a very smart, technically savvy software company over a year, and why it’s not always not totally Completed.

I envision this software becoming more than what the IRE envisioned from the start, because you simply can’t accomplish what they aim for with just a value-added product or loss leader.

CORE Home fits tightly into the kvCORE orbit, tying to data gathered from initial lead generation efforts, CORE Present interactions, ongoing communications, and the entire transaction experience, keeping all parts synchronized at all times.

Under “My Home”, consumers benefit from an engaging and creative overview of their current home’s valuation, presented alongside dynamic market trend reports, mortgage/refi rate information, and essentially an interface which could be considered a “living CMA”.

The app is designed to educate the homeowner on what’s happening in the market around them, providing alerts on changes in the neighborhood and even new homes, which leads directly to what I think is the a real CORE Home differentiator, something that could drive your customers away from outside portals.

The software’s onboard home search experience, under ‘Next Home and Search’, gives homeowners a constant reminder of what else is out there; it’s not a home search, it’s “following home search. Using IRE’s connection to over 250,000 IDX websites, there’s little it can’t market to owners. They can sign up for alerts, save homes, and chat whenever they want with their agent, and vice versa.

With a range of filters, a seamless, ad-free interface, and tips on how to better find that next place, I find it intriguing that IRE hasn’t tried to market its search experience as a standalone product.

Instead of directing search as a lead generation tool, the product team cleverly hid it in a property management app. It’s like discovering a home theater on the last visit that contains original copies of Quentin Tarantino’s filmography. (Well, that’s my hidden home theater fantasy, anyway.)

There is no doubt that homes are becoming content lures for consumers. Scrolling on Zillow is one thing, one vibe, as kids might say. And in this case, CORE Home agents are alerted to the activity, able to contact their customers, feed it into their CRM and be all the better prepared when everything happens again in a few years. Or maybe less.

And when that next move starts to unfold, CORE Home is there to monitor transactions. It’s not a document-based task tracker, but rather a well-honed mechanism for knowing the outline of a deal.

It uses a dynamic, vertical timeline to show offer points and contingencies, conditions, approvals, trading periods, closing details, and more. It keeps email links and phone numbers of each linked party at every stage of the transaction. It’s a very cool interface; and generally speaking, there’s been a lot of net minimization in transaction management lately, industry-wide. Shaker is an example.

Yes, there are in-home monitoring and system management capabilities, as well as insurance provider recommendations and relocation services for that next move – but those are table stakes for this product category. That’s not what sets CORE Home apart.

Behind this carefully designed and carefully executed consumer app is a strategy to keep all parties aligned at every stage of the relationship. And yes, the customer’s time as an owner is part of that relationship. I don’t want to see an agent send their client a few days after the close a brand new, partially branded software solution that is unlikely to be adopted. Options like this don’t offer any customer opt-in; it’s unfamiliar, like showing up to Thanksgiving dinner with a new spouse: “Uh, who is that?”

I’m glad to see what I haven’t seen, in part because I want to know that I’m right about the company’s plans for CORE Home, that there’s more to it than they let hear from a business perspective. I like to think the product team comes up with new ideas as each feature rolls out: “Hey, how about we add this?”

I doubt they fully knew what they were doing when they acquired DashCMA, now CORE Present, a category leader.

CORE Home is true customer relationship management for real estate, not just a three-letter acronym glued to a hard-to-define marketing application.

That said, given its beta status and not having seen its wings fully spread, I have to keep my expectations grounded. I’ve been told that the product will be released in full as 2022 progresses, and an early rollout with The Keyes Company is going well.

But I have many reasons to believe that he will lead the herd.

Do you have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping a range of commercial real estate companies build their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing by reviewing software and technology for Inman.

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