Custom homebuilding tech startup launches
Online platform offers pre-priced house plansMarch 28th, 2019
Todd J. Sullivan, owner of custom home building company Sullivan Homes LLC, says he has launched a new tech startup called Customhomes.house, which is being guided by StartUp Spokane, University of Washington’s Co-Motion labs, and Mind to Market.
“This is going to completely change how new construction works,” Sullivan claims. “We’re starting in the Spokane region and should be moving into Seattle and Portland by this summer. The goal is to have our next platform fully operational and ready for a national rollout at the National Builder Convention in Las Vegas next January.”
While CustomHomes.house does have an office in downtown Coeur d’Alene in the Wallick & Volk offices at 117 N. Fourth, Sullivan says, because the platform is all internet based and uses real estate agents and local builders, it will be able to scale nationally quickly.
Sullivan says the company doesn’t yet have employees, although it does have several individuals who are volunteering their time until the company receives Angel funding. These include; Steve Strom, who serves as the company’s vice president of product development, Wendy Anderson who serves as director of lending, and Natalie Elliot who serves as director of public relations and outside sales.
Sullivan describes Customhomes.house as an online platform that matches people in the market for new homes with property to build on, pre-priced customizable house plans, a virtual storefront for interior and exterior product selections, and a builder toolbox that helps connect them with local real estate agents and builders.
“Our platform walks homebuyers through a four-step process that includes securing financing, selecting a lot for building, choosing a house plan, and selecting a builder for their project,” he says.
Using the platform, people seeking to have a new home built will have access to simple construction financing starting with zero down for Veteran Administration-backed home loans, on up to 10 percent down for typical construction projects.
“By using pre-priced custom home plans, homebuyers won’t go over budget, and using the storefront for products gives them competitive pricing on hundreds of different items and allows them to make changes quickly.”
Sullivan says the platform creates a separate website for every home built, so information relevant to the construction process stays with the home permanently.
That means that once homebuyers have moved in, they can look up items when something needs to be repaired or replaced, and if they choose to sell the home, potential buyers can view all of the home’s background information through the site.
Sullivan says the company’s target market for the platform includes real estate agents, homebuyers, and builders. He says that by providing custom house plans that have regional pricing by local certified builders, the platform gives real estate agents the opportunity to sell new homes and help buyers and builders with the homebuilding process, while adding a new significant revenue stream to their conventional buy-and-sell services.
Sullivan claims the platform creates a new category of real estate for brokers and agents.
“Homebuilding is an area they’ve previously been unable to access, and some of the Realtors we’re working with are already changing their entire marketing strategy to include it.”
Sullivan says the company’s beta website was operational as of March 4, and it’s been working to add real estate agents, brokers, and certified builders to its network.
“First and foremost, we need the Realtor community to be able to roll out this platform on a national level,” he says.
Real estate agents can work with Customhomes.house by registering their clients online and filling out a referral agreement, which locks their clients with them for six months, he says. The platform also offers agents a free, private labeled custom home plan book that also allows them to download the house plans.
Sullivan says the company has teamed up with lender Wendy Anderson, with the Coeur d’Alene office of Wyoming-based mortgage lender Wallick & Volk, to offer the lending and MLS search tools available on the Customhomes.house site.
He says the company’s first transaction involves building a home for a Spokane couple with financing through Wallick & Volk.
“We have two other transactions in process right now, along with 11 fee agreements with Realtors who are working directly with homebuyers to find land prior to financing,” he says.
Now, Sullivan says Customhomes.house is focused on working with local incubators to raise $324,000 in funds for the next version of the platform.
He says the company plans to present to Mind to Market in two weeks.
Mind to Market is a program that connects entrepreneurs with coaches to help them scale business ideas, prepare a pitch, and obtain financial modeling assistance.
“We’ve been accepted into the Mind to Market program and are in the initial rapid commercialization phasing of funding,” he says. “If that goes well, we’ll move on to an angel round of financing in order to begin building the next version of the platform.”