Feb 20, 2024 - Technology

Exclusive: Ex Zillow exec launches AI-powered home search platform

screenshot of phone screens showing a home search platform with an ai-powered search box

Photo: Courtesy of Tomo

Mortgage platform Tomo is rolling out a new AI-powered home search portal today.

Why it matters: As more real estate marketplaces integrate AI into their platforms, searching for homes could become a lot faster and easier. Plus, results could be more personalized.

Details: Former Zillow execs and Tomo cofounders Greg Schwartz and Carey Armstrong developed the platform so consumers could search for homes based on specific wants — beyond the number of beds and baths — and shop more like savvy investors.

What makes Tomo different from existing home search giants is the platform's built-in, AI-powered free-text search capabilities, according to Schwartz.

  • The idea, Schwartz tells Axios, is for consumers to describe their dream house the way they might to a friend.

Axios tested the tool and found it was capable of picking up on specific preferences. We plugged in: "Home with a view of Lake Washington, modern design, a rooftop deck, and it's really important for me to have a space to WFH. Oh, the kids love a backyard."

  • More than 300 listing matches came up, clearly tagged with which boxes the home checked. Some had just a couple of the requisite tags checked off, others had most.
photo of phone screens showing homeowner and mortgage insights about a home listing in north bend washington priced at $785,000
Photo: Courtesy of Tomo

When you click on a listing, you'll see a description plus the names of the current owners, their original loan amount and the estimated remaining mortgage balance.

  • Generally, the narrower the profit margin, the less room you have to negotiate. But if the owner stands to make a considerable profit from the sale, then you might be able to put in a lower offer, Schwartz says.

Of note: Homeowners with privacy concerns can email the Tomo support team to have their names removed.

Our thought bubble: This machine's ability to play matchmaker and share negotiating tips comes at an interesting time, as real estate commissions — and agent value — are top of mind for consumers.

What's next: So far, Tomo's search platform is available in Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Los Angeles; San Diego; Phoenix; Dallas; Houston; Austin, Texas; most of Florida; Atlanta; North Carolina; South Carolina; Philadelphia; D.C.; Connecticut and Michigan. They plan to launch in additional U.S. cities throughout the year.

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