Plunk helps homeowners assess their renovation projects
A new app called Plunk, with a renowned pedigree of industry knowledge, has been launched to help homeowners better assess the return on improving their home.
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Plunk is a home improvement value app for homeowners.
Ideal for: Owners, agents
Main selling points:
- User interface
- Integration of market trends
- Chart / graph animations
- Very analytical
- Home condition scale
In short, there are a lot of these apps out there. Plunk does some things differently, but those already using home maintenance trackers and similar home improvement appraisal models will need good reasons for switching.
What you should know
Plunk is an iOS (iPhone) mobile app that helps homeowners and real estate agents better value home improvement projects and updates. It uses live market data to analyze how homes with similar finishes and equipment are selling. Agents of all levels who work with investors or have a client who wants to update a home before listing would have a reason to download Plunk.
Despite its recent launch, Plunk is emerging as a much more mature app than its tenure in the App Store suggests. It’s refined, engaging, and is capable of distilling vast amounts of real estate intelligence to help its users come as close as possible to what a home can expect on the open market.
Understand that it is the same free market that ultimately dictates the value of a home, regardless of the finishes or the quality of the renovation. Still, this app should give people a pretty good idea of what to expect.
In short, Plunk lets you know what impact a particular home improvement project can have on a home’s value. It does so knowing that this is not an individual return, which many consumers seem to think.
The developers of the app were inspired in part by Zestimate and the fact that it didn’t always take recent upgrades or nuanced features of a home into consideration.
The application breaks down its activity points into Feed, Dashboard, Improve and Your Home. The dashboard has a very interesting selection of animated graphics that compare a Plunk value (after) to the actual home value (before).
Each house project comes with a detailed description of what is involved and allows the user to indicate what is in the house, much like an MLS entry sheet, except it’s a lot more beautiful. Users can upload images and give the home a condition rating, just like an appraiser would: run down, economy, stock, semi-custom, custom, luxury.
Users can also see a history of the home’s value, plotted, again, on a very cool line graph. It also takes into account size, year of construction, lot size, and micro and macroeconomic trends. This includes regional data, such as how local industries, retail growth, population, and major labor centers affect value. Attractive.
The Upgrade pod is where you can apply renovation scenarios and see expected increases in value, like a new bedroom, updated master bathroom, or new patio, for example. It will also show how long it will take for the project to bear fruit.
The News Feed is where users can browse relevant news and select the type of content they want to see. These could be mortgages, local housing market activities, etc. You get the idea.
The Seattle-based company has extensive expertise in real estate technology; its founder played an early role in realtor.com.
Plunk will debut in the Seattle market, a pretty bold move given the wide range of house types and their ever-rising home values. It is a commendable gesture. Many applications are tested in Phoenix or Las Vegas because the houses all look the same. I think this will give the Plunk team a really good test case for their product.
Obviously, there are ways to connect with nearby entrepreneurs and lenders, a feature without which no app in this category can seem to find a way to make money. I was hoping it wouldn’t, but I guess these vendor connections are table stakes for applications in this industry.
Future top features will include more agent-centric property review reports as well as in-app purchases for additional analytics.
Plunk’s user experience and realistic approach to the link between home improvement and resale value helps it stand out from a few of its competition. Assuming the deployment is going smoothly, there should be no reason not to use it.
Do you have a technological product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe
Craig C. Rowe started out in commercial real estate on the cusp of the dot-com boom, helping a range of commercial real estate companies build their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents make technology and marketing decisions by reviewing software and technology for Inman.