Someone searching for homes on
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News; Shutterstock

Flyhomes takes on portal giants with ‘incomparable’ tech 

The company is launching a new AI-backed home search that CEO Tushar Garg claims is “far ahead of everybody else” in terms of data and tech.

June 11, 2024
4 minutes

Key points:

  • The Seattle-based “buy before you sell” company has spent the last three years building home search functionality that it says is “not even comparable” to its rivals.
  • The new portal aims to take consumers as far as they can get on their own and then connect them with an agent for the “last mile.”
  • Flyhomes sees agents as partners, and agents won’t have to pay until they receive a lead through the platform.

Jumping into the home search space during a period of intense competition from deep-pocketed portal leaders might seem like a risky venture. But the leader behind Seattle-based Flyhomes, Tushar Garg, believes the company will make a big splash — and win over agents and consumers — with its AI-powered user experience launching this month.

Garg has been working on Flyhomes since 2015, when he and co-founder Stephen Lane came up with the idea for the "buy before you sell" company while attending business school. But now, the company is launching an ambitious AI-driven home search that Garg said will help augment a lot of support agents have previously provided while lining up qualified, warm leads to agents to get buyers and sellers through the "last mile." 

AI-powered interface surfaces detailed property data

The new site, which will cover 75% of the U.S. population at launch, replaces the typical search bar with a chat interface where homebuyers or sellers can ask questions and go deep into specific markets or home characteristics. Garg said the company has spent the last three years scraping data from various public sources — FEMA, the U.S. Census and the U.S.Geological Survey, to name a few — and feeding it into the backend of Flyhomes. 

As users narrow down home search parameters or ask about anything from property taxes to flood risk, flight paths or utilities, the site will deliver any related data on the property in question.

"We're integrating county-, state- and national-level data in ways that consumers deeply care about," he explained. "They would have to open 50 different Google tabs to try and figure out these answers, but we believe that they can all be given in one place."

Garg said the Flyhomes listing pages will include data from upwards of 14 different unique sources. He said there's also a robust tagging structure on the backend that allows the site to identify detailed image attributes. For instance, if you ask Flyhomes to show you homes with an updated chef's kitchen, its AI-powered engine will find and display listings with that descriptor and those images, Garg explained. 

Aiming to beat the competition with better experiences, better value

"There has been a bunch of buzz, and everybody's putting out some AI," Garg said, "but we would say that our AI is by far ahead of everybody else — it's not even comparable."

And he believes that's what will give Flyhomes an advantage among home search sites. "In the portal wars, we want Flyhomes to be the deepest, AI-led buying and selling experience. And then the human touch from agent partners fulfills the last mile — that's what they're best at."

Flyhomes' approach to agent partnership is also different from other portals, Garg said, noting that leading sites are focused on "how can I get a lead and give it to the agent as fast as possible" — which, he believes, doesn't actually offer the best experience to users and the best value to agents. Instead, Garg said, the Flyhomes model is taking the consumer as far as possible on their own and then teeing up a buyer with an agent once they're ready to take the next step. 

Leaning into tech, agent partnerships

The company also sees opportunity in scaling its "buy before you sell" financial product and wholesaling business through its new home search portal. But the idea is to also lean into becoming more of a tech product company, Garg said, and focus on being a partner with agents — not a competitor — so that Flyhomes can invest its time and resources into additional product functionality. 

"We're not taking money to advertise agents on the platform," he said. "We'll have a split with agents once they get the lead, and this will allow us to go super deep into the AI."

But is Flyhomes just a reskinned variant of ChatGPT? No, according to Garg, who said the company's product is completely proprietary tech that is "specific to real estate" versus more general AI interfaces.

Flyhomes may have distinct tech, but it doesn't have a home-field advantage — the company is challenging other Seattle-based home search giants Zillow and Redfin. And then there's the huge marketing spend from CoStar and Garg concedes that Flyhomes can't compete on ad spend, but he believes his company is in its own league.

"Comparing Flyhomes with the existing portals is like comparing OpenAI to Google."

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