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Tinder of Real Estate Helps Users Find the Home They'll Love

By Nicholas Rizzi | July 1, 2015 7:16am | Updated on July 3, 2015 9:42pm

NEW YORK CITY — Forget your dream date — swipe right to find the apartment you'll fall in love with.

A Tinder-style app is making searching for your home as easy as the hunt for a date.

Staten Island Tech grad Michael Lisovestky, 22, came up with the idea for HomeSwipe with partners Jason Marman, 18, and Dean Soukeras, 43.

"Our goal is how can we take the whole process and how do we wrap it into a really simple, easy-to-use interface," he said.

HomeSwipe, available for iOS and Android, lets apartment hunters swipe left to skip a listing and swipe right to favorite them.

The homes are posted by city realtors. But developers use an algorithm and vet agents to cut down on bogus listings.

Soukeras, a former broker, meets with agencies before allowing them to use the feature to find clients.

"Not every agent in the brokerage is allowed to work with us. They have to pass a certain level of screening," Soukeras said.

"Twenty percent of the agents are good and they're going to get 80 percent of the deals, so those are the 20 percent of agents that we want to work with."

Currently about 50 brokerages and 400 agents use the app to show off their listings. They are highlighting about 20,000 listings,  Soukeras said.

The app currently has listings for every borough in the city and recently expanded to Chicago.

When a user swipes right, that listing is saved in a favorites list. At the moment, it's up to the users to reach out to the realtor to view it, but the developers are working on a way to communicate directly inside the app.

HomeSwipe started in August when Lisovestky partnered with Soukeras to use the idea to make real estate simpler. They met Marman, a high school dropout who recently got a Thiel Fellowship, through Facebook and started work on a demo, which got good feedback.

"I had gone through [renting an apartment]. It was a disaster and I thought 'This makes sense,'" Lisovestky said. "It was a no-brainer."

In October, they raised $500,000 from venture capitalist Tim Draper and billionaire Marc Benioff and hired six additional people, including another Staten Island native Joseph Campagna. Since it launched, the app has gotten more than 62,000 total downloads.

The developers are also working on a way for the app to learn user preferences based on the apartments you skip or favorite so that they can tailor listings better.