HomeViews: the review site envisioning becoming ‘TripAdvisor for property’

31 July 2020 | General

A property site where residents review developments is looking to become ‘TripAdvisor for property’ after making inroads into the UK market.

Since launching in February 2019 HomeViews has listed hundreds of developments in London, as well as others in cities like Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester. In all, it currently covers nine UK cities.

The website works by allowing residents to review the quality of their homes – those who are verified as having lived in the developments have the biggest impact on the development’s score.

The developers themselves can use the platform to showcase the facilities on offer and supply pictures of what living in the space looks like to potential buyers or tenants.

Hannah Marsh, marketing director at HomeViews, said: “We want to be seen as the TripAdvisor for property – a trusted platform that becomes a household name for anyone searching for a home.

“Smaller developers value this opportunity because they don’t have the marketing budgets the big boys do.

“If they are delivering good products this will give them a voice to share that.”

HomeViews has a partnership with Berkeley Homes, while it works with small boutique developers like Coulter Homes.

Developers that pay for HomeViews’ services can use the content within their marketing and add more information and images to their listing.

HomeViews has offered residents incentives to review developments to help build up the website’s reach, as it previously gave residents of Barratt developments a voucher to be verified.

The company will shortly reach out to residents in Reading, Brighton and Milton Keynes to encourage them to submit reviews of their developments.

When verifying a user, the firm asks for their full name, flat number and postcode, while it uses an independent data provider to check they live in the place by seeing if they are on the electoral roll or have a credit card, utility or bank account registered to the address.

For those in new developments residents can supply a utility bill to prove the review is legitimate.

Reviews from verified tenants are worth 20 times a non-verified review, though all are made public.

Rory Cramer, chief executive of HomeViews, said: “If the consumer doesn’t trust us we are useless to anyone.

“What we offer is much more authentic than a company’s website.”

Housing associations and agents have shown some interest in the site, so HomeViews is working on products to support those areas of the market.

Cramer said there has been some interest in partners overseas, but currently he wants to focus on expanding coverage of the UK.

He added: “We are 18 months old and feel comfortable we have the density in London – we own that market.

“However we have work to do for the wider UK. We have one eye on some other international locations but for now we’re focusing on expanding in the UK.

“In the startup journey you have to stay laser focused or you end up doing lots of things averagely.”

This post has originally been featured in Property Wire.