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HomSurfin was a social real estate platform founded by Caroline Holden & Michael Pelletier in fall of 2022.

Over the course of 9 months they designed & built the app, conducted customer / client research, developed financial models, pitched investors, & raised $25k.

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The Problem

At HomSurfin, we identified a few key core problems in real estate that we wanted to solve:

  • 87% of new realtors quit within their first 4 years

  • Drastic change in the industry (high interest rates, low inventory, faltering real estate orgs, etc)

  • UX design is lacking for users & real estate pro's

  • Disconnect between massive social media interest and static dated platforms

We believed that we could design a better product that would have viral effects and could help tech savvy realtors get ahead of old school players.

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Which red dot on this map is your dream home?

Our Solution

HomSurfin is a social real estate platform. It allows users to:

  • Like, comment, and share favorite homes with friends, online communities, & their realtors

  • Use AI to help find their dream homes faster & search for home styles via images vs keywords

However, that's not all. HomSurfin also gives real estate agents:

  • More personalizable collaborative search tools (more clients, not 1:1, & easier sorting systems)

  • Save time with AI to write CMA's & listing proposals, & to find homes for clients faster

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Why HomSurfin?

What makes HomSurfin different? We are giving users what they want: a place to talk about current real estate inventory and trends.

  • #realestate has over 26.4B views on TikTok (up 6B since Jan). #interiordesign has over 27.6B views

  • Thousands of users on Twitter ask Zillow to add a comment section nearly every day

  • Millions of people discuss real estate daily on every platform - except for current real estate platforms

HomSurfin takes this user activity and uses it to help real estate agents connect with potential buyers & sell homes faster.

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What Happened

After working on HomSurfin full-time for 9 months, our team decided to wrap up shop. Why?

  • Housing data companies (MLS orgs) are anti-competitive

  • Market is deceptively smaller than it appears due to such a small concentration of successful real estate agents (Zillow only has 75k paying clients)

  • Every real estate startup founder we spoke to regretted working in this industry due to anticompetitive practices & small size of market

While we may restart this project after a few major lawsuits in the industry have concluded, we determined that our business model was not strong enough to be a venture viable business & that the current MLS system model is too expensive for us to pursue independently.

Caroline's Responsibilities & Achievements

As founder and CEO, Caroline took HomSurfin from original ideation to (almost) launch. This included:

  • Completing nearly all product design & product management of marketplace

  • Conducted deep industry research with potential users, real estate agents, real estate startup founders, industry leaders, & industry data experts

  • Financial modeling, market sizing, and pricing analysis

  • Developed marketing strategy with a focus on video content, experiential guerrilla in person marketing, & influencer marketing

  • Recruited team members, advisors, lawyers / accountants, & investors to get HomSurfin to market

  • Curated marketing / pitch materials, raised $25k in funding from local Angel investors

  • Collaborated with co founder and CTO on alpha tests of HomSurfin with 50+ test users

  • Created youtube series about building HomSurfin with over 8k views

  • Accepted into BETA.MN's Fall 2022 Startup Accelerator

  • Runner Up in Twin Cities Startup Week BETA Fall 2022 Showcase Competition

  • Interviewed with startup accelerators and reached the first, second, and final round of programs including TechStars, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Association, & Gener8tor

There's probably more than what is mentioned above, but as you can imagine, it's a bit hard to keep track of everything Caroline did to make this startup possible.

Over the course of the project, Caroline ran a weekly vlog documenting her journey as a first time founder.

Watch Here

Watch the first episode here

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