Sumter-based tech startup looks to hit home with Realtors, homeowners

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 5/17/18

Two Sumter residents hope a new tech application they've created will satisfy a need in the real estate market locally and nationwide.

Husband-and-wife team Anand and Aimee Vora gave a hands-on presentation Wednesday to about 15 local Realtors of …

This item is available in full to subscribers

Sumter-based tech startup looks to hit home with Realtors, homeowners

Posted

Two Sumter residents hope a new tech application they've created will satisfy a need in the real estate market locally and nationwide.

Husband-and-wife team Anand and Aimee Vora gave a hands-on presentation Wednesday to about 15 local Realtors of the mobile app PORCHD they recently created with the help of a web development company. The new real estate app is unique from other industry applications in that it provides unbiased, anonymous ratings and feedback on residential properties.

For example, Aimee Vora said, say someone is a Realtor and they have a client who's trying to sell a home built in the 1980s, and the homeowner just isn't budging that the kitchen needs a new color to modernize it and bring it up to market value.

With PORCHD, a Realtor can post property pictures online, ask questions and get anonymous public feedback and ratings right on their smart phone.

The whole process is anonymous, according to the Voras. Online property reviewers from across the state and nation don't know the Realtors or their clients, and local properties' addresses are not given.

Local real estate agent Jay Linginfelter, who attended the presentation at the Sumter Board of Realtors, 26 E. Liberty St., said he thinks it's a novel idea.

"This provides us a tool to take back to our clients and say, 'Hey, this is what the general public is saying,'" Linginfelter said. "So, now there is more power behind that to help the homeowner make a decision."

All the big-name Realtor web sites - Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia - don't provide ratings and feedback, according to Linginfelter and the Voras.

Before deciding to sell their home, homeowners can also get on PORCHD themselves to see what public opinion is on various aspects of their property, Aimee Vora said.

Feedback for homeowners on their properties via social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, is often biased since a person's friends and families are providing the opinions.

Fellow Sumter Realtor Lisa Svetlik, who has 33 years of experience in the field, thinks the app is a "brilliant idea," she said.

"This gives you information to give to your sellers," she said.

Realtors are individually linked to specific properties and can generate their own leads of potential buyers, as well.

The incentive for online reviewers is the more property reviews they complete, the more points they rack up, which are redemiable for gift cards, according to the Voras.

The Voras have been in product development for about 18 months, they said, and through free trials to date they have basically worked out all the bugs, Aimee Vora said.

The prime package for Realtors is $499 per year and includes listing 10 properties online with 10 pictures each. Properties stay online for ratings and feedback for 30 days.

One property listing online with 10 pictures for a Realtor is $99, with a run time of 30 days.