Tuesday
September 30, 2014

Welcome to the Houzz

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Welcome to the Houzz

With 15 million monthly users, this new social site is a great fit for real estate pros.

If you like looking at home and design photos on Pinterest, you’ll love another fast-growing repository of beautiful home photos. It’s called Houzz, and it’s already turning heads in the real estate community.

Houzz—a combination of “house” and “buzz”—is a home remodeling Web site that caters to current and aspiring home owners with a passion for renovation and design. It was launched as a photo database in 2009 by a married couple, Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen, who were seeking remodeling inspiration for their own San Francisco Bay area home. Today 90 percent of the site’s 15 -million monthly unique visitors are home owners. In March, real estate professionals were invited to join the Web site’s growing community with the launch of the site’s “real estate” category for practitioners. The profile section enables you to introduce yourself and follow other users. Creating “ideabooks” and “projects” allows you to share and engage with others excited about home design. Real estate pro and home stager Michelle Morris with RE/MAX Gateway in Chantilly, Va., considers Houzz the “Facebook of the design world,” and considers it a powerful ally in differentiating yourself in the real estate business.

Whether her clients are selling, buying, or renovating, Morris uses Houzz to help them better 
envision a home’s potential. She’ll come to showings armed with the Houzz app on her iPad to help people look past aesthetic challenges, such as 1970s-era decor. She’ll peruse Houzz’s searchable library of renovation photos showing how a dated house can be transformed into the modern home her cus-tomers crave. “The pictures really tell the story,” Morris says. “Buyers’ eyes light up when they can see the possibilities of a home. Houzz gives you ideas, and ideas can change everything.”

Here’s how others in the real estate community are using Houzz:

INSPIRE: Houzz features a library of more than 1.5 million high-quality photos uploaded from designers and remodelers, showcasing everything from kitchens and bathrooms to landscapes and exteriors. You can sort those photos into ideabooks under any label you choose. Ideabooks can be featured on your profile page, e-mailed to clients, or embedded as a slide show on your Web site or blog. Brandon Patterson, a sales associate with RE/MAX Real Estate Concepts in Des Moines, Iowa, focuses on new-home sales and has created ideabooks featuring stylish kitchens, home offices, and do-it-yourself ideas.

SHOWCASE: Use the “projects” folder on your Houzz profile page to show off your portfolio of work, uploading photos of properties you recently sold, renovated, staged, or anything that illustrates what you do. Scott Campbell, a broker with Century 21–The Realty Group in Washington, N.C., posted photos of his own renovation project, a historic fire station built in 1912 that he’s renovating into lofts, and invited the Houzz community to leave feedback.

REVIEW: Reviews by your clients and peers can be testimonials to your good work. To move higher on the site’s directory of agents and contractors, you’ll need to amass several reviews, receive high ratings, and be active in discussions by posting to the site.

DISCUSS: Pose and answer questions on everything from design dilemmas to ways of boosting a home’s value. “All of your questions and answers become part of your brand and profile,” says Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “It can be a way to show your expertise and personality.”

COLLABORATE: Use the site to collaborate with a client on a design project. Make the project accessible to the community or keep it private between you and your client.

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