2014 Penn graduate Josh Evans has co-founded Jove — the first-ever pair of real estate applications for on-demand property showings in Philadelphia. Jove, launched this year, functions in a similar way to Uber and instantly connects buyers with agents, creating a convenient and frictionless process.
In a society where “googling” has become second nature, today’s home buyers typically start their searches online, Evans said. Once buyers choose properties to visit, they must coordinate a time with their real estate agent to view the properties, which Evans said can be a tedious and frustrating process.
Evans recalled co-founder Steve D'Agostino saying to him, “I don’t understand why I can get a cab in 30 seconds through an app, but I have to wait three days for a response from a realtor,” when they missed out on a real estate deal because their agent did not show up.
Evans' interest in real estate investment stemmed from a few Penn classes he took in urban development. Evans said that learning about the importance of working on a tight budget at Penn's Fels Institute of Government shaped his real estate investing perspective.
“Time truly is money, especially in the market we’re in right now in [Philadelphia,] where a lot of times properties will go for above asking price the day they are listed, so minutes really matter," Evans said. "That [government degree] perspective really helped me realize that this is a problem that needs to be solved."
With the goal of revolutionizing the real estate industry, real estate broker D’Agostino, Jonathan Katz, and Evans co-founded Jove. The group has diverse expertise, which includes real estate and technology consulting for Evans and Katz, that they combined with Jove partner and President of Doodle Applications Alex Garashchenko.
There are two applications for Jove – Jove Buyer and Jove Agent. The buyer will search for property, select a property, and request an immediate or scheduled showing. The request gets sent out to all agents with the app. An agent accepts, and a buyer-agent pairing is made.
As Jove is the first of its kind, the team experienced difficulties introducing the new concept.
“We had a little bit of a challenge in the beginning teaching people about the process and explaining it,” Katz said.
Now that this Uber-like request-and-dispatch pairing has become more familiar to the public, Evans said the team is focusing on improving the agent profile features for the second version of the app.
“Allowing buyers to choose from a pool of agents rather than just getting paired with the first agent to accept” is in the near future for Jove, Evans said.
The team is also working on encouraging more agents to use the app in order to balance the buyer-to-agent ratio, since many real estate agents are self-employed and too busy, Evans said.
All agents currently using Jove are Philadelphia agents, and while the team is working on getting more agents to use Jove, Jove business developer Doanh Nghiem said Jove’s uniqueness stems from how it is tailored to Philadelphia.
“Philadelphia is like a hidden gem, and people are just starting to know about it and move here. The market is booming,” Nghiem said.
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