I’m excited to bring you my next post in the #InnovatorsRE series. Each month we will be featuring companies in real estate – brokerages, franchises and technology companies who are ‘shaking things up;’ not just providing great technology solutions – but providing great customer and agent experiences.
This month I had the pleasure of connecting with Rob Morelli, a client of mine and the CEO and Co-Founder of HomeKeepr, an innovative tech company aimed at keeping real estate professionals connected to homeowners as a valued resource for local information and home maintenance. It’s easy to see why Rob and HomeKeepr have seen such success – a brilliant business concept paired with an action driven CEO (Rob) makes for a true shining star in the real estate industry. I’m excited to share this great interview with you today. Enjoy!
Q: How did you get started in this industry and how did HomeKeepr get started? Talk a little bit about the growth you’ve had as a team.
A: My partners and I have been working in web businesses in one way or another for about 4 years now. However, it wasn’t until we each went through a home purchase ourselves that we discovered what we’d been working on could’ve helped us solve some big problems we had as homeowners while creating real value-add opportunities for agents. A great example… my partner and co-founder, Dave, had a pipe burst in his house shortly after he moved in. He was in a new town and didn’t know a soul other than his agent. He gave her a call and within minutes she had a few recommendations for him.
When I moved into my home, my agent handed me a piece of paper with her trusted network of home service providers. I couldn’t have been happier to not have to spend the next 5 years getting ripped off and interviewing new contractors. I still use the painter, plumber, and landscaper she recommended to me back then.
It became clear that this way of sharing recommendations needed some real technological improvements.
Q: What do you think has contributed to your success personally and as a company?
A: As a company that promises to make “staying in touch” simpler, we take customer service very seriously. We understand that agents are people on the go. They can’t spend hours in front of their computers and they can be easily distracted when a client has a need. We need to be available when they are… and we make sure that we are.
Personally… I love what I do! In my role I’ve met some really great innovators in real estate as well as in tech. It’s exciting to engage with people who love doing things differently.
Q: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?
A: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to just “get started” with whatever it is you plan on doing. You can spend countless hours planning and going over every possible situation or potential outcome but you will learn nothing until you are actually in the market with a new product or strategy. You’ll certainly make more mistakes this way…. But you have to be ok with that. Mistakes are good because you’ve learned something based on real experiences and not some hypothetical exercise you did in your head. You learn more faster by “doing”.
Q: If you had to give advice to a new leader in real estate (i.e. brokers, owner, manager, executive) what would it be?
A: Our experience with brokers and owners has been on the technology side of their business. Adoption of tech products seems to be a consistent struggle across the industry. I have seen lots of situations where HomeKeepr was introduced and was an immediate success. I’ve also seen situations where HomeKeepr was introduced but never really got off the ground. The difference is almost always dependant on the enthusiasm and the encouragement of management. Whether it be broker, owner, team leader, etc.
Q: Why do you think you’ve had the success you’ve had so far? What are the one or two things that you can point to that have helped?
A: One of the biggest reasons that we’ve had success is that our service is not a real change in behavior for anyone. Real Estate agents have been recommending local home service providers to their clients for decades. We didn’t need to introduce that concept. However, we did need to introduce a better way to do it. We introduced a prototype of our product a year and a half ago and even with just a prototype we found agents just “got it” without a lot of explaining.
Q: Is there anything people would be surprised to know about you?
A: That I grew up in New York… Haha! Despite my best effort the accent still gives it away. Seriously.. I’m terrified of jellyfish. I don’t know if that’s surprising…. more like a confession, really. Feels good to get that off my chest though.
Q: What’s next for HomeKeepr?
A: My bankers would kill me for telling you this but we’re in talks to acquire Google… Or Apple. Not sure which yet.
We’ve got lots of cool new features in development now that will further contribute to agents’ status as local experts, that will help agents remain valuable to their clients forever, and that will make homeowners love that their agent invited them to HomeKeepr.
Thank you so much, Rob, for sharing your insights and passion with us! If you’re a real estate agent or brokerage, be sure to check out HomeKeepr.
Questions or comments for Rob? Feel free to leave them in the comments below. Also, check out our other featured innovators in our #InnovatorsRE series: