Move over Airbnb, it’s time to share the pool and the backyard

The world of real estate services enabled through PropTech changes fast, so we’ve completed a round-up of some of the other innovations that have caught our attention.


Boston-based disruptor Torii knows that buying a home can be hard. Founded in 2017, the PropTech startup offers homebuyers a full suite of services, including being matched with an agent or broker.

Torii’s app, which has a Tinder-like search functionality, navigates every step. With Torii, buyers can search for the perfect home, book an inspection, make offers and track their home purchase.

Machine learning and data-backed tools increase efficiency, so Torii can buy its buyers’ closing costs, which sits at an average of $6,132 per purchase this year.


Venture-funded home renovation tech company Curbio launched in late 2017 and has since become one of the fastest-growing companies of its type in the US.

Curbio offers a renovate now, pay when you sell business model and uses an array of technology to ensure quick project completion times. The platform provides real-time project communication and updates with comments, pictures and video as well as a design through to build process, including project management.

Curbio plans to complete over 1,000 renovation projects in 2020 while doubling city expansion in 2020 and 2021.

Rent the Backyard

Launched in July, Rent the Backyard builds studio apartments in homeowners’ yards and rents them out, with 50 per cent of the income going to the property owner.

Rent the Backyard keeps the other half. The company estimates homeowners will earn up to $6,000 per year. For its cut, Rent The Backyard builds the apartment, finances the build, lists the unit, selects a tenant and collects the rent. Over time, homeowners gain a rising share of equity in the unit and after 30 years will own it.

When homeowners sell the home, they need to buy the startup’s equity. They can also do this earlier to take full ownership of the apartment at any stage.


Uber Co-Founder Garrett Camp launched Haus in 2016 intending to digitise and simplify the home-buying process. Last year former Trulia executive Jonathan McNulty joined the team as CEO and turned the focus to helping people buy homes through co-investment.

Rather than pay a mortgage, homeowners make payments to Haus to buy equity and pay the company and its investors. Haus says these payments are, on average, 30 per cent lower than a traditional mortgage.

Hello Alfred

Named after Batman’s dutiful butler, Hello Alfred is a tech-driven concierge service for apartment buildings. Founded in 2014, the New York-based startup combines AI with human assistants to look after and anticipate occupants’ daily needs.

In-home services include things such as grocery delivery, laundry, tidy-ups and replacing fresh flowers. On-demand services include pet care, cleaning and tech help. In July, Hello Alfred announced it had acquired building management tech platform, Bixby.

Bixby has a cloud-based set of tools that allow commercial and residential property managers to automate operations. This includes maintenance, repairs and collecting payments, while tenants can access on-demand services with smart-home devices.


Taronga Ventures launched the RealTechX Growth Program in July to propel up and coming real estate technology businesses.

The Australian-based innovation and venture capital company has partnered with Dexus in the venture, which is also backed by the Federal Government and other partners including Microsoft, Google, IBM, UNSW and CSIRO.

Taronga Ventures says the program aims to fast-track RealTech businesses and help them to expand into new markets. RealTechX offers companies industry expertise and market access, while program participants and partners benefit from technology adoption and other commercial outcomes.

S-Squads 3D Printers

The New York-based company used its patent-pending Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS) to build the largest 3D printed home in the world in July. The 500 square foot home in Patchogue took about 12 hours to complete.

It comes after the printing company launched ARCS at the end of 2018. The specialised ARCS 3D printer can construct homes, roads, bridges and commercial buildings. It is said to reduce traditional construction time and costs by up to 70 per cent.


Based in Seattle, Flyhomes is one of a growing field of startups that help home buyers make cash offers. The company buys homes with cash and holds onto them while buyers source financing.

They also offer mortgage, title, escrow and home improvement services to buyers. Flyhomes’ website says it has helped more than 1,000 clients buy and sell more than $1 billion worth of property since its 2015 launch. It has also closed more than 300 mortgages since June last year.

Flyhomes recently secured $141 million in new financing, some of which will go to expanding its Trade Up program. Trade Up sees Flyhomes sell clients existing homes with a guaranteed sale date. If the property doesn’t sell within 90 days, Flyhomes will buy the home itself.

Constellation real estate group

Constellation real estate group, or Creg, is one of the largest technology providers in the US and Canada with more than 500,000 agents, teams and brokerages using their products and services to power and grow their businesses.

Creg offers tech solutions including artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and data. The group has continued to acquire technology and tech companies throughout 2019 with the latest being elements of SmartZip Analytics and

The SmartZip acquisition includes its SmartTargeting platform, patent-pending predictive analytics, data solutions and Reach150, which is an automated referral-building content system.

Offers leverage Big Data and its proprietary machine-learning algorithm to predict future home sales and transactions. It then distributes the Smart Data to agents.

JLL and Inspace XR

Real estate group JLL joined forces with Inspace XR to create a virtual-reality model of what Sydney’s future city skyline will look like. The model, named CityViewer, was created using JLL’s research, background data from Aerometrex and cycle network data from the City of Sydney.

The model covers the residential, office, hotel and student accommodation sectors. Users wear a pair of VR goggles and can then interact with the digital replica of the CBD using a handheld remote.

JLL believes the technology will become part of the leasing process in the future and has already used it in a campaign at 80 Collins St, Melbourne.


Homeowners have a new way to make some extra cash from their property without having to move out. Labelled the Airbnb for pools, a new website and app called Swimply connects private pool owners with people looking to take a dip.

Pool owners charge about $45 per hour for use of their pool and can stipulate how many people can use it, along with whether things like alcohol or music are allowed.

Swimply is available in 26 states in the US. Startups such as ResortPass and DayPass work on a similar concept for hotels. Rather than having to stay at the plush hotels, patrons can purchase a day pass and access services including pools, spas, beach clubs and private cabanas.

Morty Meet Morty, an online mortgage brokerage born in 2016. Now active in 34 states in the US, Morty brings mortgages online and makes them more transparent.

Customers can access real-time loan pricing, a Home Financing Score and calculate how much they can borrow. If accepted, they can select from more than 20 lenders.

It is free for homebuyers to use and automates the mortgage process from instant verifications for pre-approvals to cutting the closing process time to as little as two weeks. Morty makes money from charging lenders a fee on the close of a loan.

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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.