Skip to main content

Nester unites nerds and contractors, lifts curtain on housing costs

Original article:

The startup company’s model is yet another great example of how real estate market and consumer services data can coalesce to improve how buyers and sellers respond to the market

A number of companies have emerged of late to offer solutions to the financially mercurial nature of home ownership; some aim to standardize inspections and some want repair costs that are easier to predict.

And then there’s Nester, a startup that is bringing together “nerds and contractors” to reveal what it really costs to own a home, according to a press release announcing its official launch

“Mortgage calculators are great, but they don’t tell the whole story when it comes to buying a home,” said Nester Founder Brendan Kennealey, in the release. “Nester gives buyers a customized, detailed report for each home in their search, so they’ll know total projected maintenance costs over a 15-year period, including when those repair projects are expected to happen, and how much to save each month to cover the costs.“

Nester has developed an algorithm that relies on data from a variety of sources including national trade
associations, major equipment manufacturers and industry experts, not unlike the way PunchListUSA and Plunk access national databases and regional material and labor cost systems to improve home renovation and repair cost transparency.

“A “Home Wizard” walks buyers through a step-by-step series of questions about the home, using pictures to help them identify equipment in the home which they might not be familiar with, and helpful tips in case they get stuck,” the company said. It inquires about major home systems, such as HVAC, roof, foundation and plumbing, as well exterior features like decks and pools.

Homes can be compared also, helping buyers get an apples-to-apples breakdown of what their favorite
options may cost them over time.

The software can pull data and the homeseller disclosure (where applicable) directly from a listing’s public webpages, as well as from direct collaboration with the seller and in some cases a home visit.

Nester’s model is yet another great example of how real estate market and consumer services data can
coalesce to improve how homebuyers and homesellers respond to the market. It can also offer additional
peace of mind for those homebuyers who may be in a competitive offer environment.

The inspection report might be a new homebuyer’s first sign that the cost of home ownership goes well
beyond the earnest money deposit, down payment, closing costs and monthly utilities. In part, this is why people buy home warranties and why agents collect contractors and handymen in their databases.

Even though the number of homes being bought sight-unseen has waned, the cost of Nester to buyers — $57 for a single home report and $87 for up to eight — is significantly less than a professional inspection.

Agents can buy Nester reports as a listing benefit, which could lead to faster and more informed offers. The company is also working on an active homeowner report.

The company is based in Wilmington, Delaware.

Craig Rowe

Author Craig Rowe

More posts by Craig Rowe