Pando

Millennials are finally buying homes, as Winklevii-backed TripleMint relaunches to help

By David Holmes , written on April 30, 2015

From The News Desk

In two days I've talked to two startups that emphasized the idea of "owning every step of the process" or "owning the process from end to end." The first was New York chef David Chang's food delivery startup Maple, which launched yesterday to handle preparation, packaging, ordering, and delivering of meals in a way only a handful of its competitors do.

Now today, a startup is (re)launching to offer a similarly comprehensive service only for New Yorkers to buy or rent a home. It's called TripleMint, and it already has a bit of celebrity cachet -- an important trait when dealing with New York City real estate -- having sold Jason Sudeikis' and Olivia Wilde's home when the service was still called Suitey, and counting the Winklevoss twins among the investors in a $1.65 million seed round announced today. As for the company's big selling point? From finding a potential home to checking it out with one of the company's 20 real estate agents to moving in and becoming acquainted with the neighborhood, TripleMint wants to -- there it is again -- "own" every part of that experience.

"It all starts online," says CEO David Walker. "Buyers can search all available properties on TripleMint and we’re actually giving them direct access to the RLS [Real Estate Board of New York Listing Service] database. So they’re searching the same database that brokers see. Then we match the client with one of our licensed real estate agents to take them out to see the property. The agents are all full-time employees of TripleMint, not independent contractors, given bonuses on client satisfaction." Walker says basing bonuses on that metric as opposed to sales helps remove the incentive for agents to be to pushy in trying to close a deal.

Walker goes on: "We help them through the negotiation and then the close. We're a full service broker when looking at properties. Expanding the service downstream, we have a concierge moving service, discounts on gyms, groceries... we really help our clients orient themselves in their home."

The comprehensiveness of the service is just another way that TripleMint is carefully optimized for the next generation of homebuyers who are in their 20s and early 30s. And while this demographic has been slower than other generations to enter the home-buying market, simple mathematics and senescence dictate that someday these millennials would comprise the largest share of homebuyers, and that day has arrived.

According to a report last year from the National Association of Realtors, buyers aged 33 or younger finally edged out older generations, making up 31 percent of home buyers compared to Generation X's 30 percent and Baby Boomers' 30 percent. Furthermore, these young buyers are naturally the most likely to go online to buy a home and possess the least knowledge of the homebuying process. That's where TripleMint's virtual handholding may give it a boost above competitors.

"If you’re searching on Zillow and you find 20 things you want to see, you get 20 different brokers," Walker says. "There's no smooth transition from online to offline." -- which is something members of the Uber generation clearly expect.

Finally, TripleMint is also announcing today a partnership with Rebuilding Together NYC, a non-profit organization that rebuilds and rehabilitates homes across the five boroughs. The company will donate a portion of each transaction to the non-profit. And so hey, even if it only gets one customer, the startup won't be a total wash.

[photo by Paul Knittel]