Looking for a New Place? This NYC Startup Gives You the Prices – and the Costs



Anyone who has ever gone on the search for a new apartment knows that there’s no shortage of information out there. In fact, it can be overwhelming. And then there are the trade-offs that you always have to make. And then go back and compare one place to another. With all of the technology available at our fingertips, surely there’s a better way.

Enter Perchwell, a real estate search and discovery engine that allows you to search thousands of listings plus go that extra step with tools to manage, personalize, and create side-by-side comparisons of your favorite potential homes, based on your needs and lifestyle.

One of the best parts about it: PerchPrice, a proprietary metric that encapsulates, standardizes, and contextualizes the key financial characteristics and considerations of a home. As buyers know or will quickly learn, two major factors define the financial picture of a residential property: The Asking Price and the Monthlies (ongoing costs of ownership including maintenance/common charges and property taxes). One needs to be able to understand and evaluate how these two factors interact with one another to define the landscape of what homes truly cost.


Founder and CEO Brendan Fairbanks tells us more about this real estate site to behold.

Tell us about the service.

Perchwell is a powerful consumer-facing residential real estate search and decision engine. We are not a real estate broker. We aim to streamline each person’s process of discovering their perfect home by putting real estate data in context. Recognizing that every individual has a unique set of preferences and budget, Perchwell is highly interactive and customizable, letting users define not only what they search for but also how they conduct their search.

How is it different?

Real estate information is ubiquitous – if you know where and how to look, you can find just about anything about any individual property, though you will likely have to check many different sources. Cutting through the noise, making sense of that information, and making it personally relevant, however, is quite difficult. It is all relative and it means different things to different people. That is where Perchwell comes in. Perchwell is focused on not only providing information, but also making that information meaningful to the individual seeking it.

We think the best way to accomplish that goal is to make any and all information accessible, understandable, and interactive, which helps our users ultimately draw their own informed conclusions. Contrary to many other products in the space, we are not focused on generating one-size-fits-all “values” or “scores” for properties or buildings, which can seem opaque and difficult to use effectively, especially in a market as complex as NYC. Instead, Perchwell aims to help users make the decision that is best for them by clearly presenting what is available and the associated costs, all in the context of every other option on the market. Real estate is all about tradeoffs – we rarely get everything on our respective wish lists. Finding your perfect home means making the right set of tradeoffs for you, which Perchwell can help you define, evaluate, and ultimately achieve.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

Perchwell’s target market is real estate ad spending, which is over $25 billion nationally. Approximately half of that is spent by real estate agents themselves; one third is associated with mortgage providers; and the remainder is expended by entities such as property management companies and home builders.

What is the business model?

Perchwell is free to use for consumers. We partner with real estate professionals to help them better serve and expand their client bases.

Where is the most popular neighborhood to live in NYC according to your data?

There are many different and interesting ways to look at that. However, based purely on the number of searches for properties in a particular Manhattan neighborhood, Greenwich Village is currently the most popular with our users.

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

We recently launched in beta with Manhattan sale properties, and are excited to expand to the rest of NYC and to rental properties over the next six months. Also, we will be rolling out an additional product suite designed specifically for real estate professionals. We are also working on a mobile offering that’ll be coming a bit later on. Lastly, we are aggressively looking to build our engineering team to help us accomplish all of this.

If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?

Howard Morgan at First Round Capital. We realize that the right partners will bring a lot of value beyond just capital, and the team at First Round is clearly very focused on that. We know that Howard has worked with a lot of companies at very early stages like we are, and his involvement with Mint in particular is something we would love to discuss. We like to think that we are putting Mint-like simplicity and personalization onto otherwise complex real estate search and that the generation who came of age using products like Mint will be excited to use Perchwell.

Why did you launch in New York?

Perchwell was created out of an overly-enthusiastic personal interest in the NYC real estate market. The idea for Perchwell came about after years of manually tracking and analyzing the many facets of the NYC market (all just for fun). One day, I had the idea to create a product that could do that painstaking work automatically and in real time, and soon began working on Perchwell. As far as building a viable business goes, we are fortunate that New York happens to be the largest, most dynamic, and most nuanced real estate market in the country – it is the perfect place to quickly add lots of value for the highest number of people.

What’s your favorite fall destination in NYC?

As a new dog owner, I’d have to say the Washington Square Park Dog Run.


About the author: AlleyWatch

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