HonestDoor founder and CEO Dan Belostotsky says he is launching a new era in real estate transparency with a website in Edmonton that features the sold prices of homes and condos, property history and future growth projections for most city properties.
HonestDoor.com features the following free information for each property:
- last sold price of a property (residential and commercial);
- daily updated price estimates appear for each property using a proprietary machine learning valuation model called HonestDoor Price;
- neighbourhood growth rate;
- annual property taxes on the property;
- permit data; and
- transaction history.
“It was born out of my own frustration. I felt like there’s only a few people – kind of one per cent of people – who had all the information. I’m not saying they were taking advantage of the situation but if one per cent of the people have it, I believe that the other 99 per cent of the people should have it,” says Belostotsky.
“Whatever the consumers choose to do with it is up to them but I just thought I would perhaps level the playing field. I just didn’t like it that one group had info and the other didn’t.”
Belostotsky says the data on each individual property is curated from a variety of sources.
“It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of manual work. It’s a lot of people involved. Some of it we have to pay for, some of it we don’t, some of it’s on open data. We can’t really reveal how or who we go to but we kind of mesh it all together,” he says.
Belostotsky says the company is also experimenting with an ibuyer model, in which they use technology to come up with an offer to buy a home, then resell it. It’s similar to what companies such as Zillow are doing in the United States.
“We’ve already purchased about 15 homes in Edmonton under our model. So, we’re really experimenting with the math, the calculations there, if we can make it work. We’re not heading in that direction just yet but we’re definitely exploring that possibility and we needed to transact on some homes to really kind of prove out our model.”
Belostotsky is an entrepreneur based in Edmonton. In his early 20s, he co-founded a digital billboard and media company that was acquired by The Jim Pattison Group, one of Canada’s largest companies. He later partnered with Cieslok Media, which was acquired by Bell Media. He continues to invest in businesses and real estate through his private investment company, Otto Capital. Belostotsky is a venture partner with Panache Ventures, Canada’s most active seed-stage venture capital fund and he is a mentor with Venture Mentoring Service of Alberta, helping entrepreneurs across Alberta.
Expansion plans for HonestDoor include Calgary, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto and other cities across Canada.
“We already have a lot of data in a lot of different cities . . . If we can get a little momentum here in Alberta and Western Canada we’ll definitely go to Toronto. We want to expand as fast as we can. If that means partnering with someone to get there sooner, we will. Things take time and it’s a lot of work to make it right but our definite goal is to be a Canada-wide website.”
HonestDoor is part of a growing wave of real estate technology companies in Canada, often referred to as “proptech” companies.
“Technology is changing real estate and HonestDoor is the next stage in the proptech revolution, allowing people to take charge of their own data and make buying and selling decisions based on the best data available,” said Kyle Campbell in a news release. He’s an advisor to HonestDoor and co-founder of Retsly, which was acquired by Zillow in 2014.
“HonestDoor is a prime example of Edmonton’s growing expertise in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) and I am pleased to help the company expand its offerings to consumers and businesses,” said Ashif Mawji, an advisor to HonestDoor, venture partner at Rising Tide and entrepreneur, investor and community builder, in a statement.
Belostotsky says HonestDoor will add new tools and information over the coming months. He also said more transparency for consumers should help transactions move faster, which could be good for the real estate industry.