With the popularity of online mortgage lenders and new tech-savvy real estate websites designed to match potential buyers with their perfect new home, the housing industry seems to be increasingly making its way into the digital realm.
A new Cincinnati-based start-up called Casamatic is turning its sights to Nashville’s robust housing market. The site, described by co-founder Alex Bowman as “eHarmony for home buying,” allows house-hunters to complete a survey — like an online dating profile — that asks them to consider what they’re looking for and what aspects are most important to them when choosing a home.
The information then gets used for real estate matchmaking, guiding interested buyers to homes that best suit their profile. It will also help connect consumers to realtors and potential Nashville mortgage companies to streamline the entire home-buying process.
Casamatic is looking to partner with local mortgage lenders to get people get pre-approved even before a house walk-through. In the booming Nashville housing market, Bowman says, the speed of the process is crucial.
Both traditional and online mortgage lenders tend to require both a minimum credit score and down payment — usually 680 (or 620, in the case of FHA home loans) and 3.5%, respectively. With Casamatic, buyers can match both their financial situation and their desired home qualities — neighborhood, space, locality, etc. — with available houses on the market that are ready to go.
Unlike other real estate sites, Casamatic is specifically geared toward Millennials, who are both increasingly becoming first-time home buyers and who tend to have different priorities than some members of older generations.
“Millennials are the largest and fastest-growing segment of homebuyers right now,” Bowman says, and they tend to be interested in aspects like bike friendliness and proximity to local shops.
With these factors in mind, Casamatic’s aim is simple: “We’re showing you homes that you might not see on other sites.”
A lot has changed since the modernization of the U.S. mortgage market between 1949 and the turn of the latest century. Together, you might say that Casamatic and online mortgage lenders are two tandem branches of the “post-modern” world of home buying, leading the way for a new generation of homeowners.