Eastern Union and Reonomy Join Forces for App
- Oct 07, 2016
By Mallory Bulman
The real estate industry has a reputation for being less than tech-savvy, and slow to adoption when new technology does emerge. However, New York-based mortgage brokerage firm Eastern Union is looking to flip the script on the stereotype with an app that the company’s president and CEO, Ira Zlotowitz, calls a “digital toolbox.”
“The goal is to deliver tools to a real estate professional who’s not tech-savvy and have it be something very easy to use. That was the foundation, and every day we keep refining it and keep adding different tools to provide that value,” he said of the app.
“I always felt there was value in data and information, and I’ve always liked technology. I utilized it from when we first opened the company, I’ve always tried to stay ahead of the curve, based on what the technology was at that time,” Zlotowitz told MHN. In the past couple of years, he noticed that the available technologies in the industry were increasing, but they were always fragmented in focus. Instead of a singular digital tool with one focus, Zlotowitz and Eastern Union set out to create a comprehensive app that includes a variety of tools for clients, brokers and the general real estate community.
Incorporating a mortgage underwriting calculator, a contact directory, a rate sheet and news feed, the resulting app is an entirely unique and valuable asset to the industry. “What tools do real estate owners need? I already have a lot of that internally. What can I give out to provide value to the real estate community and to my clients and my brokers, and at the same time, it won’t be undermining my core business,” Zlotowitz said.
As the company expands the app, Zlotowitz brought in long-time client Reonomy, a real estate analytics firm, to help supply data for its sales comps and listings feature, which is currently in beta testing. “We’ve really leveraged our proprietary data engine that we’ve built in order to be able to take that data from the sources, cleanse it, validate it, and bring it back to Eastern Union so they can use it in their app in a way that’s useful,” explained Reonomy CEO and President Richard Sarkis. The sales comp feature enables users to enter any address in the United States and see comparable properties or sales listings nearby.
Combining Reonomy’s data and tech expertise with Eastern Union’s enterprising spirit seemed like a natural fit for both parties. “The fact that they really want to solve these problems via technology and analytics is right within our wheelhouse at Reonomy,” Sarkis said. While both companies are currently New York-based, Reonomy expects to expand nationally within the end of the year, and will help grow Eastern Union’s database as it does. According to Sarkis, “As Ira continues to build that division, we’ll be right here helping him with the analytics. It’s a partnership that I’m sure and I hope will continue in the quarters and years to come.”
The app has already broken convention by exceeding expectations for adoption. So far, it has received of 6,000 downloads, or an average of 100 per day, according to Zlotowitz. He also said that 80 to 85 percent of his current clients have opted for login access, which provides more detailed information than that given to free users. While clients access this information for free, other users will have to pay a nominal fee to access the same. However, Zlotowitz says he intends to keep the current features accessible for free, saying, “I’m not doing it to make money off it. I’m doing it to provide a service.” As far as he can tell, Eastern Union is the only company providing such a service.
“All this information that we have there is not accessible in any one place anywhere else,” he told MHN, “especially not for free.”