Where's the Expedia For Home Remodeling?

Raf Howery  |

Remodeling or building a home is one of the most arduous tasks to undertake. Most of us who aren’t familiar with the home remodeling process embark on a project and finish thinking, “I’d never do that again.” Even those who have experienced the overwhelming course of home renovation are quick to decline the thought.

The National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, told MarketWatch that there hasn’t been enough new-home inventory added over the past decade. This leaves homeowners and future homeowners to buy a home that needs renovation, or build a new one.

It’s becoming more and more inevitable that home remodeling is a necessity... but why is it so hard? The answer lies in two issues: transparency and fragmentation.

When we don’t know what we’re getting into, the fear of the unknown is scary. On top of the distressing reputation of these home renovation projects, we have to deal with four equally complex industries to make a home remodeling project happen:

  1. The Real Estate Industry: Buying fixer-uppers
  2. The Loan and Finance Industry: Mortgages to finance our home renovation project
  3. The Construction Industry: Finding the right professional(s) to execute the project, and unfortunately, manage it
  4. The Retail Industry: Shopping on different sites, finding what you need in stock, ordering on time, and confirming a timely delivery

Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies’ report reveals an increase in spending on remodeling and repairs this year, supporting the fact that the housing market lacks affordable, move-in ready homes. Americans are coming to terms with the current state of the housing market, and are realizing to get the home they want they will need to tackle home remodeling projects. While the thought of this may make you feel the need to stock your cabinet with pain relievers, remodeling shouldn’t be a headache! It’s time the industry creates a solution.

Why can’t we have an equivalent of Priceline (PCLN) or Expedia (EXPE) for home remodeling? Having that would mean having access to all our needed resources (loans, shopping for products, etc.) in one place. It would mean being able to find the best contractors without doing an extensive Google (GOOG) search or getting referrals from friends and family. We could avoid the time-consuming process of having to receive offers from multiple contractors and then struggle to accurately compare them. It would allow for support throughout the project from start to finish! We need that sort of “remodeling agency” to exist. While access to the Internet has helped mask the problem and provided a temporary solution, the truly difficult issue of uniting these fragmented industries still needs to be addressed.

It’s surprising that no Venture Capital firm- with all of its collective intellect- has tackled this effort. There is a big opportunity to incite change and help consumers, but VC firms tend to be concerned with a quick return on investment, which doesn’t always align with innovation. The technology exists today that can allow this issue to be tackled with ease, it just takes guts, and the right team to do it.

I recently had conversations with executives from the different divisions of two large retailers- one European and one American- as well as two large financial organizations, and they all admit that a streamlined home remodeling marketplace that bridges real estate, finance construction and retail is the way of the future. The problem is, they are all struggling with how to achieve this.

This is where Kukun comes in! We are proud to be playing a role in this change but our help is just a piece of the army it’ll take for a full cross-industry transformation.. All four industries need to be on board and create change as a joint effort. The solutions are there, we just need commitment, audacity and foresight to develop them.

Kukun is confident we are on the path toward continued success in this effort, and have seen early signs of progress toward change. We’re calling on the real estate, finance, retail and construction industries to jump on board and start making home remodeling more predictable, manageable, accessible and democratic.

(Photo by Visitor7)

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