Another home buying startup comes online

How Zeppidy aims to carve out a niche in the crowded housing website market.

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It’s been just more than a year since I purchased my first home, but I remember the process as if it was yesterday. Before consulting with a real estate agent, I diligently scoured housing websites like Zillow and Trulia, only to face a hard reality: those homes I pictured my couch in were no longer available. That’s the consequence of a fast-paced market. Enter Zeppidy, a new web platform trying to streamline the buying process by providing a one stop shopping center for buyers and brokers.

In addition to listings, Lake Oswego-based Zeppidy provides buyers information about neighborhood demographics, schools, crime rate, along with an interactive map of local shops and services, a drive-time calculator and local market data. The site also allows access to document sharing so buyers and brokers can arrange open houses and work on closing documents online.

In these edited excerpts, Zeppidy founder Gary Schultz explains why the world needs another web-based real estate service.

How does Zeppidy differ from other real estate websites like Zillow?

If you think about how the internet has helped other industries, this industry hasn’t equally matured. There are a lot of opportunities to streamline home buying and selling, but no platform has focused on the actual process. Our goal is to make the entire experience simple and fast. Other advertising-based property search sites, such as Zillow, have paved the way for consumers to locate a home online, but none provide a comprehensive approach for agents and consumers to navigate the entire process, from search or listing to closing. Zeppidy is a subscription-based service as opposed to advertising or lead generation based websites, so consumers and agents are not bombarded with unwanted advertisements and phone calls. Zeppidy is free for buyers and obtains its revenue from agent subscriptions and individual seller fees.

Exactly what void does Zeppidy fill?

Consumers have grown tired and frustrated with the lack of confidence, transparency, and inefficiency in the home buying and selling process. And real estate agents are often relegated to using multiple non-integrated systems and convoluted processes that don’t deliver on their present day expectations. Zeppidy empowers consumers with better information and transparency through the process so they can work with real estate professionals more effectively in the digital, consumer driven marketplace. Until now, there has been no single, integrated platform for buying or selling homes where everything necessary, from property listing or searching all the way through to closing — is in one place.

So you can close a sale online?

Completing the formal purchase and sale contract that includes property disclosures involves a simple 3 step process of 1) selecting the legal form by state, 2) filling in the blank fields on the document, and 3) inputting the email addresses of the parties in the transaction who need to electronically sign. Should the deal need to be renegotiated (for example, after a home inspection where a home needs significant repairs), addendums are available to add to the existing contracts which will just follow the same process to complete and sign. The integrated educational step-by-step checklist flow with integrated calendaring allows agents and consumers to easily schedule the key dates such as home inspection, appraisal, and signing day.

Do consumers ever meet with an agent in person using this platform? 

Yes of course. The Zeppidy platform was designed to bring buyers, sellers and professionals together. Digitally connecting and streamlining all the activities in the process from search or listing to closing actually provides more valuable face-to-face advisory time between agents and their clients.

Real estate websites are often out of date because of how quickly homes are sold. Does Zeppidy address this issue?

Yes. Zeppidy updates all properties across the entire platform every 15 minutes so properties that are pending, taken off market, or sold are not displayed in the search results, which is the source of much frustration and confusion in the online real estate marketplace. Additionally, users are able to see status changes to the properties they have previously added to their tours or favorited on the platform. This real-time digital experience is just another way Zeppidy is helping to provide transparency and save everyone time and effort.

Why would real estate agents use this site instead of the RMLS?

Zeppidy provides agents a modern user experience that is easy to use, that is directly connected to the consumer, and provides full collaboration with their teams and brokerage. Local MLS websites are primarily designed to provide raw, clean listing records. In today’s marketplace, agents need immersive digital experiences that are connected to consumer, and have the capability to collaboratively close transactions with speed and accuracy. The next generation of platforms like Zeppidy are focused on addressing these evolving needs.

Part of the website experience is weekly tours of homes by region, allowing the purchaser to take part in a pre-planned parade of homes.  I didn’t notice many “affordable” homes in the weekly tours. Is that because the site is still new? Or is it because there are a limited number of homes in the first-time buyer market?

We are experiencing historically low inventory in the “affordable” price range. Also, the platform has only been live to the public in Oregon and SW Washington for a few weeks. Agents and consumers are in the infancy stage of understanding the power of the organized touring/showing. As “Neighborhood Showings” gains momentum, agents and consumers are building what we refer to as “any time” tours. These tours are for properties that are not participating in Zeppidy’s predesignated weekly showing time. Any time tours allow agents and consumers to quickly plan the private showings or “drive bys” that include integrated driving directions.

The site is in beta testing. What is the timeline going forward?

In software innovation, products are almost always being expanded and optimized. Currently, Zeppidy is live and functional in the Portland and Southwest Washington market. Zeppidy is expanding its reach into the greater Seattle market within the next 90 days and, soon after, plans to scale-up nationally. The beta release in the Pacific Northwest is designed to ensure the platform capabilities have been optimized for agents, brokerages, and consumers. Zeppidy is currently focused on the enhancement of its mobile use. 

The full power of the internet has been brought to the home buying and selling experience. We have several significant platform initiatives underway that will continue to remove the inefficiencies in the real estate marketplace.