Written by Kara Carlson – Austin American Statesman – October 07, 2019
At a time where it’s possible to customize just about anything online, founder Gregg Alvarez of myHouseby is looking to bring new home purchases into the modern age.
“They’ve been selling homes, and consumers have been buying new homes, the same way for 50 years,” Alvarez said.
The platform, which debuted in 2018, lets users select a home, customize it in virtual reality and know how much it will cost, all before it’s even built.
Alvarez is no stranger to new technology changing the purchasing process. He previously worked for Cars.com, Ticketmaster and Realtor.com. But as other industries have modernized, there is still a gap between the way consumers buy and the real estate market, he said.
MyHouseby allows consumers access to tools that have been used internally in the construction industry for high expense projects, but haven’t be available for mainstream new construction.
“The idea was, why wouldn’t we put this type of this type of technology in the hands of consumers?” Alvarez said.
On the platform, home seekers have access to every new home community being built in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Users can search by builder, location, community, price range and amenities. From there, house plans can be customized based on the needs of the home buyer.
“To the degree the builder will let you personalize kitchen options or number of garages or different types of room, then you can go about personalizing a house from your phone,” Alvarez said.
Builders can pay to join the platform, and gain more customization, virtual and augmented reality features and real-time pricing. Currently about 60 home plans from seven builders are fully customizable, with more expected to join.
In such properties, buyers find a house in a community they like, click through each room, and swap out windows, add rooms, or change cabinet color, all while the price of each change is listed.
Once completed, the platform sends the information to the builder. In person, the only step left is to sign the paperwork.
For communities where builders have not joined the platform it still lists the homes, directions, pictures, scheduling for appointments, and information about the property.
The software can save money for both builders and buyers, Alvarez said, because the process can reduce months of development and marketing time to reduce sales costs.
“What would typically take weeks or months and driving out to each community, we can reduce to an hour,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said the platform is focused on Texas for now as the startup builds out, but plans are to add builders around the country.
MyHouseby is also looking to add ways to incorporate the platform to individual builders sites in addition to the startup’s own platform.
“There’s a moment in our future where getting in your car, and driving from community to community to community around central Texas, you’re going to think that’s crazy,” Alvarez said.