Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne is a cryptocurrency pioneer. After tackling the world of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, he started FinanceHub which offers lending, credit cards and insurance. Working in conjunction with a company called tZERO Advisors, Overstock also rolled out a digital investment adviser on FinanceHub called a “robo-advisor”. The company is now hoping to cash in on another volatile market: real estate. While the company has made previous attempts to enter the market, this current push is different. Overstock is going to launch an entire platform for real estate that it is calling O Real Estate. It will act as a rental and home sales online search portal, as well as a tool for property management. Two websites have already been purchased to support this new venture.
The first iteration will be the launch of a property management service called Houserie. Houserie is a real estate property management site that offers fast tenant-screening for prospective landlords. Houserie’s screening process includes identity checks, screenings for previous court eviction cases, credit checks, criminal and sexual history checks and a tenant financial scorecard. Houserie will also eventually provide services such as payment management and landlord-tenant communication. There are no setup costs or hidden fees to use their system, and more than 70,000 landlords have already signed up.
Overstock has also acquired Rental Roost, a company that uses predictive analytics to match renters and homes. Considered to be the eHarmony of home searching, Rental Roost helps apartment seekers find the perfect home for their lifestyle using recommendations based on their unique tastes and preferences.
In both cases, Overstock won’t be owning any of these properties. This is all part of a wider effort to create a place for customers to find, rent and furnish their homes all in one location. The idea is to help people search for a house, while also selling them furniture to match their new home. In essence, to become a one-stop real estate shop. “Overstock connects customers with premium home goods that help them build their dream homes, and now we are looking forward to expanding our service into the real estate industry” says Seth Moore, Overstock’s senior vice president of strategy. “We’re always finding ways to use our technology to help customers find just what they want for their homes. Adding real estate to the mix was just a natural fit for our brand.”