AI-Boosted Platform Reinvents The Homeownership Experience

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Artificial intelligence is resetting our professional and personal expectations and experiences, and now it’s entering the home.

An AI-powered home platform is changing every angle of homeownership, offering an improved experience for the owner and also for the pros who service the home.

HomeZada founders, John Bodrozic and Elizabeth Dodson, added AI functionality to their digital home management platform to help homeowners maximize the value of their largest asset.

The platform offers seven tools for homeowners to manage their homes, from a home remodel budget calculator to instant photo identification of any item in the home for insurance purposes, to severe-weather alerts tailored to a specific property address.

“I came from commercial construction property management side and thought it was crazy that we can manage a billion-dollar casino, but I cannot manage my house,” said Dodson. “So, we started digging in 11 years ago to build a digital home management product. It started with storing pictures for insurance purposes, then we added 50 common home improvement templates, and also moved to the financial side for updated values of the home and to track all the expenses, utilities, property taxes.”

HomeZada has made big investments to build out the platform with generative AI technology. The app can now empower a homeowner to be smarter about factors influencing their home, with guidance on maintenance and improvement projects and their impact on the value of the home.

In the U.S., median home prices have climbed above $400,000 nationally, so the average annual cost of owning and maintaining a home is 26% higher now compared to 4 years ago, according to Bankrate’s Hidden Costs of Homeownership Study. So, it is increasingly important to make wise financial choices regarding homes.

The report also calculates a tab of more than $18,000 per year to maintain the typical home, which adds up to $1,510 per month on top of an already hefty mortgage payment. This is up 26% from 2020, when those same expenses were $1,202 per month.

AI-Informed Resiliency

As more and more severe storms are compromise homes, owners are interested in resiliency features to stay safe at home, and to protect their home equity.

“When you know the location, you can ask HomeZada what natural disaster risks the home will face,” Brodozic said. “It will identify and give the reason why it is a risk, and also identify the ones that the insurance may not cover and then suggest insurance options.”

HomeZada is integrated with the National Weather Service to share severe weather alerts from the app based on the longitude and latitude of the house. The homeowner can initiate HomeZada’s AI to understand any mitigation they can perform in 24 hours that would help protect their home.

Resiliency and its impact on home insurance premiums is another critical factor putting pressure on housing affordability. According to Insurify, the average annual home insurance rate increased by 19.8% between 2021 and 2023. On top of that, costs are expected to rise another 6% this year.

Remodeling The Remodel Process

HomeZada can leverage AI to compare various project options, along with their tradeoffs and iterations, to determine the total home improvement project beyond just design. The process includes the overall scope and budget, specific brands and products, professional resource requirements, project timing and length, and the anticipated impact on home value.

For instance, a bathroom remodel has an average of about 15 different selections, which are predefined in a HomeZada template. So, when the user initiates a budget for a remodel, that template is married with the HomeZada data on the home’s specific address to guide the user on the price point segment, from lower-end products to higher-end, luxury products for their remodel.

Next, the user provides the rough dimensions of the room so the HomeZada generative AI can estimate the quantities and unit pricing for all the line items with 90% accuracy.

Then, the user experience gets even more interesting, because now they can have an ongoing dialogue with the AI tool to request specific items.

“As the user provides more data, it could completely redo the estimate for them,” said Bodrozic.

The AI has been taught options over time so it is smart about home remodels, and the data comes back to the user in a formatted chat window as a material takeoff including item, quantity, unit, and price.

“It works for any project in our template as well as for projects that are not within our template,” he said. “The user can still get a suggested list of items and they also can start from an open ended remodel, for instance asking the tool to prescribe improvements to make a house more energy efficient.”

However, having the list is just the start. The homeowner also has to find a contractor to get the work done, and while this technology can significantly reduce the time contractors must spend to educate prospects or new clients on the process and what is possible, contractors are in high demand at the moment, and in some cases, are hard to find.

The latest Construction Labor Market Report from the Home Builders Institute shows that there were more than 400,000 open construction sector jobs at the start of 2024.

Another AI-powered tool, Shovels, helps find the right labor in today’s constricted marketplace. The data-focused company tracks all contractors, knows how many active jobs they have, and how long it takes them to complete a job. This data set allows a user to filter by service area and availability.

Shovels also provides a contractor directory with unbiased, objective ratings on a number of factors that are purely data based. The contractor is rated by permit type, inspection pass rate, and time to complete a permit. The AI constantly refreshes the data and incorporates weather, topography and other factors that might influence their success.

Making The Pro’s Life Easier

HomeZada also has a professional platform that offers something for all of a home’s stakeholders, including the real estate agent, mortgage broker, remodelers and builders.

“The layout and design element of a remodel and architectural issues are not part of the process—we don’t have that capability,” Bodrozic said. “It’s about the financial aspect to get the consumer to a place to know if they spend $8,000 what the results would be versus if they spend $20,000, so they can be a smarter consumer when they engage a pro and to help them stay on budget.”

The HomeZada platform helps a homeowner prepare for the home improvement process overall before they call an architect or contractor, saving the contractor time and money having to educate a homeowner. Plus, it allows the contractor to vet leads, shortens the sales process, and eliminates at least some of the upfront that doesn’t result in revenue.

HomeZada estimates that this savings can be up to 2 hours for an initial project consultation meeting and 10 hours of project design and planning, which at an average of $160 per hour would be more than $1,900.

Then, there are big wins with improved homeowner leads and win rates for the contractor. By focusing on better leads and eliminating the chase after bad leads, the contractor could save another 10 hours per month. The new wins and the referrals that they offer would have immeasurable value to contractors.

These time savings also free up contractors to focus on the other areas of their business that provide a more direct opportunity to generate revenue, reduce costs and maximize return.

For homeowners, HomeZada offers three different pricing models. For the pro, HomeZada is transaction based and the pro can pay to manage a client’s home and then share the information with the homeowner.

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