The idea seems like a no-brainer: If people can fill out a detailed questionnaire to find a partner to spend their life with, shouldn’t they be able to do the same for a house to spend their live in? That’s the simple premise behind Casamatic, a Cincinnati startup offering an "eHarmony for homebuying."
With a bright, sleek website and a brand new iOS app, Casamatic is no doubt going after the millennials, who now make up the largest share of homebuyers in the U.S. In fact, in the early stages of the company, co-founders Alex Bowman and Chris Ridenour began by talking to a group of 50 millennial homebuyers and determining which factors matter the most to them when searching.
The resulting parameters, things like commute, nearby restaurants and activities, proximity to family and friends, drive the Casamatic algorithm that matches users with ideal listings. According to Bowman, one person they initially interviewed had created his own spreadsheet of every neighborhood within a 20-minute drive of Cincinnati. "And they categorized them by five different things, and did research to rank them," he says.
"We use technology to solve a lot of that."
On the site or app, which are free to use for house hunters, you start by filling out as many categories as you can or want—as you would on a dating site—and await a selection of properties with the most matching qualifications. From there, you can schedule a showing right away with a local agent pre-vetted by Casamatic.
The service, which mainly pulls its listings from the MLS, doesn’t claim to have every single listing available at the moment (bigger sites like Zillow and Trulia can’t offer that guarantee, either) and can certainly be used in tandem with other tools. Casamatic just wants to start the search with your needs rather than specific neighborhoods, a more traditional approach that might lose out on suitable listings in overlooked locales.
First launched in Cincinnati in August 2015—and in Chicago soon after—Casamatic just expanded to Phoenix, Raleigh, Charlotte, Nashville, and Columbus last month. Next targets will be Boston, Denver, Seattle, Austin, and essentially, wherever the market is hot and the millennial population continues to rise.