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Nester pulls the curtain back on your buyer’s housing costs: Tech Review

Using existing MLS, public data and when needed, user input, Nester generates a series of colorful, cogent cost reports that detail what it takes to manage a house from years 1-5, 6-10 and beyond

BY CRAIG C. ROWE Staff Writer
October 28, 2022 1:53 A.M.


Nester is a home affordability transparency solution for consumers and agents.

Platforms: Browser; mobile-responsive Ideal for: Buyers, sellers and agents, teams

Top selling points:

  • Sharp, clear user-interface
  • House-to-house cost comparison
  • Year -over-year cost forecasting
  • Great pre-offer tool
  • Negotiation points, FAQ features

Top concern:

The company makes it very clear that its home reports are not intended to replace a full inspection, but that point will take some effort to instill within the industry, especially as the market slows and less competition allows for more thorough due diligence.

What you should know

Nester is a sharp, easy-to-understand application for helping homebuyers make sense of what a home will cost them above and beyond their mortgage payment. Using existing MLS, public data and when needed, user input, Nester generates a series of colorful, cogent cost reports that detail what it takes to manage a house from years 1-5, 6-10 and beyond. It can be used during active home searches and by existing owners, and it can help agents earn the attention of investor clients.

I worked with real estate investors for years. The experienced know after a single walk-through what a home is going to cost, what it’ll rent for and what repairs can be addressed over time. First-time and even experienced homeowners don’t really look at a house from that perspective, nor do early investors. Nester is for those groups.

Agents who avoid the recurring-cost talk with their buyers are only doing everyone involved a major disservice. (I once had a real estate client in the southeast tell me not to write about hurricane preparation because she didn’t want to scare out-of-town referrals.)

Any minor cost they’re not thinking about will scare them come the inspection period, and that’s exactly when entire deals derail, only to inevitably end in a fiery crash in some quaint small town, destroying a no-kill animal shelter and razing an elderly memory-care facility.

In short, you can never lose by being transparent about a home’s quality. This is what I like best about Nester. It’s so simple to use, cool to look at and dammit, it has the hard conversation for you.

Users can plug in data to see reports on multiple homes they’re considering, based on account level. Agents would be wise to convince their broker to negotiate an unlimited corporate deal, and use these reports on every listing they sign, in the same way car dealers already have the Carfax ready when you step on the lot.

Nester generates deep looks into roof quality and type, HVAC life expectancy, utilities, windows and other major systems. Using more than merely MLS data, Nester wants to know how many people will be living in the house, and uses an FAQ for each property to collect additional lifestyle information.

It only lightly factors in what location brings in terms of environmental risks, which means it could make a good companion to tools such as TopHap, ClimateCheck and AreaHub.

That said, regional weather challenges are kind of embedded into a home’s care report, at least for local buyers who know what humidity or big snow years can do to a house. Those relocating would benefit most from more regional climate data.

Reports can be reviewed side-by-side and filtered as needed. Everything is presented in graphs, bold type, color-coded displays and simple terminology—you don’t need to be a structural engineer to translate a Nester report. Nester also provides insight into the monthly savings required to handle what each house will cost.

 This is the type of app that I think can make agents look better to their clients. It’s easy to use, offers actual value and will generate beneficial, offer-affirming conversations. It doesn’t cost a lot, either.

Nester merely wants to tell more of the story of your client’s house. Your listing marketing is the big-budget theater version, Nester is the behind-the-scenes documentary.

And if the first is a hit, then you owe it to them to share what lies beneath the box office returns.

Craig Rowe

Author Craig Rowe

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