Photo: James Bombales

An Edmonton-based tech company is rolling out a suite of online tools to help home buyers and sellers navigate the market as the pandemic continues to alter the country’s housing landscape.

HonestDoor is a free online service that combines realty intelligence and data science to produce in-depth information about residential and commercial properties, such as price assessments and neighbourhood analytics — information that’s typically difficult and time-consuming to collect. Last month, the platform launched in British Columbia, its third province since the company was founded in 2019.

“The company started because we thought there was a need for transparency in real estate and that was our main mission at the time,” said Dan Belostotsky, founder and CEO of HonestDoor. “We still have that mission today, and we’re trying now to do it across the country.”

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In addition to its live database with detailed information on three million Canadian properties, HonestDoor gives users a data-backed price assessment of their property using a machine learning system, known as the HonestDoor Price. The company recently integrated its own listing service, which allows homeowners, developers and real estate agents alike to list their properties on HonestDoor.

“I think HonestDoor has been a nice supplement to have when [homeowners] are going to buy or sell their property, to find out, ‘Hey, what’s my home worth?’ or ‘Hey, what are the details of this property?’ or any other red flags that they can find about a particular property, or just give them peace of mind,” said Belostotsky.

“For that reason, I think we’ve seen our traffic grow considerably because maybe more people are at home or people are actually really interested in moving,” he added.

Unlike MLS-based websites, which tend to share the same information across multiple sites, HonestDoor listings are unique to the platform. They also don’t require the lister to be an agent. Traditionally, listing your property for sale could be a drawn-out process with multiple meetings involved. Belostotsky explained that adding a listing on HonestDoor can be done quickly from your living room couch.

Image: HonestDoor

“In the smaller markets, it’s kind of like a risk-free way to determine the attractiveness of your home without necessarily getting an agent,” added Nicole Dong, a senior manager at HonestDoor. “You can get an agent at any point, but by listing your home on HonestDoor you’re sort of sussing out the demand for it.”

“We’re in a strange time for real estate, so I think that being able to offer that platform is a nice way to gain interest from people who are hoping to sell,” she said.

By the end of the year, HonestDoor plans to capture data for another two million properties on the platform for a total of five million properties site-wide. The company is looking to expand its operation to the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario.

“I think the key for us is we want to be front and centre when someone is interested in buying or selling a home, or even earlier than [that],” said Belostotsky. “It would be a year or five years before they decide to move, so they’re always checking sold prices, they’re always checking on what’s happening in their neighbourhood.”

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