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Real Estate Just Got a Lot More Real: Introducing Home Reviews in Sacramento

5 min read
author
Tim Hyer
CEO

Trusty’s tagline has always been “real estate made real,” but until this week, that was more of a philosophy than a reality.  So I’m excited to share that Trusty has now officially launched, with the Sacramento area as our launch market.  We first chose Sacramento as our test market in early 2020, based on some things that were important to us: size of market, availability of inventory, similarity to other markets around the country, and because it’s close to home for us.  Fast forward to December 2020, when Sacramento was named Hottest Market in California by Realtor.com research.  It’s definitely making us appreciate Sacramento all the more, and the many reasons why it’s an increasingly popular place to live! 

For the past several months, our team has been hard at work building a platform that makes it possible to see honest perspectives from real estate agents about homes for sale in their local market.  For the first time ever, the listing agent’s opinion is not the only opinion available.  With Trusty, buyers and sellers can get multiple opinions from local real estate agents about homes currently for sale, exclusively in the Sacramento metro area.  These opinions come in the form of home reviews, and they’re the first of their kind.  If you think about it, nearly every other purchase we make is done with the help of reviews -- from restaurants to movies to cars to electronics.  Why not homes?  Now home buyers (and sellers) can use reviews to do their own research and feel greater confidence in their purchase decision.  Never before have home shoppers been able to get the inside scoop -- whether it’s good, bad or ugly. 

What is a home review?

A home review is like any other product review, but it’s providing guidance on the biggest financial decision of a person’s life -- buying a house.  

What is covered in a home review?

Home reviews will vary depending on the agent doing the review, and will reflect their unique style, personality and expertise.  That’s what makes the reviews interesting.  Despite the variety, however, you can count on all home reviews to be honest, unbiased and include some basics:

  • Ratings
    The familiar five-star scoring system you see across your favorite apps can now be applied to different aspects of a house, as well as the listing overall.  Ratings are displayed per individual agent reviewer, and also aggregated for each property, for a quick read on how the different parts of a home stack up.

  • Candid commentary
    Each agent is encouraged to take off their “rose-colored” glasses and get down to business with honest evaluations of the homes they’re seeing.  We believe home buyers want the real story and insights that go beyond the professional photos and listing copy.

  • Pros & cons
    There are pluses and minuses to everything in life, and the same principle applies to homes.  As part of each review, agents select what they believe to be the pros and cons of the property.  These pros and cons are also aggregated as an easy way for buyers to filter the homes with the features they are most -- or least -- interested in seeing.

  • Upgrade ideas
    Many buyers are interested in adding value to a home purchase so that they can continue to boost their equity.  Upgrades are called out by agents who know which improvements would see the greatest bang for the buck.  This vision is useful to buyers who can have greater confidence that their investment will continue to pay off. 

  • Non-professional photos / videos
    Finally, a way to look beyond the professional photo shoots, staged furniture, and photoshopped images that don’t show a single flaw.  Our agents submit images and video directly from their smartphones so you can be assured there are no fisheye lenses being used to exaggerate the size of the kitchen!

  • Estimated selling price and timing
    Two of the data points we ask each agent are, “How much do you think the home will sell for, and how quickly will it sell?”  This is a great way to crowdsource home value from insiders who know the local area, including recent comps and market dynamics.  Unlike the computer generated price algorithms on other sites, ours is powered by real agents who know the market better than anyone.

Why are home reviews relevant?

A 2020 research study revealed that as many as 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product.  With this staggering statistic as a backdrop, it is even more shocking to consider that reviews have not existed within real estate… until now.

What are you waiting for?

If you’re in the market to buy real estate in Sacramento, it’s time to make the switch to Trusty.  Unlike traditional online portals that simply pull the same static home data from the MLS, Trusty leverages human experts to introduce dynamic, authentic, and multi-faceted content to buyers.  What’s more, this content is only available on Trusty.  So instead of reading a single, biased opinion from the listing agent, use the power of multiple agent opinions to educate yourself about the market and the properties you’re interested in. 

Trusty’s the first site to offer home reviews to the public, and we’re proud to be making real estate more real.

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