Don’t have time to search through tons of sites for property listings that match what you’re looking for? Well, you most likely have time to text. Riley— a text message based service that acts as a “personal real estate assistant“, allows consumers to text their home-hunt criteria, and within 24 hours sends a list of matches, as well as the ability to schedule showing appointments. Riley is part-robot, part-human, and saves consumers an average of 3 hours. The service is currently free of charge, and doesn’t require any app download–just text (740) 478 4021 to start!
The Rental Girl loves all things real estate and technology related, so we sat down with Riley’s creator Daniel Ahmahdizadeh to find out more about this brand new real-estate tech:
The Rental Girl: How would you best sum up Riley, and the overall company mission?
Daniel: Riley is a personal assistant for all things real estate, through text message. Riley is part-human, part-robot, and essentially people can text us to help them find their next home. We generate leads for property managers, realtors, moving companies, brokers—anyone who finds value in someone moving, for both rentals and sales throughout the country. What’s great about text message in particular is that you don’t have to download an app, which makes it accessible to say, my parents, as well as tech-savvy Millennials. The broader vision for Riley is to get brokers more business and help them make money, as well as save time and create a better experience for the consumer—so it’s a win-win for everyone.
The Rental Girl: We love it! How and when did Riley get started?
Daniel: Well on June 19th 2015, I hired a freelancer overseas and told him I had this idea and just needed a really simple website built. It took him 3 hours, I paid him $50, and it was just a static webpage with our Google Voice number on it. At the time that’s all it was, and we were responding completely manually. The next day, Riley got featured on a popular start-up website ProductHunt, which was insanely helpful for getting the number out there. We saw a ton of demand on the consumer side, so I started meeting with brokers, property management firms and move-in companies, and they were super interested in getting involved. That’s when we knew we couldn’t keep manually responding and we had to actually build something. Now the conversation is automated…think Siri but for text message. We have a big team of friends and friends of friends who are volunteering their time to get this to the next stage. Things are moving very quickly…it’s been a crazy 2 months!
The Rental Girl: A crazy but exciting month indeed! Tell us a little more about your background? Do you have any previous experience in real estate?
Daniel: Well I was born in Paris, but moved to New York at the age of one so I was basically a Parisian souvenir. I just graduated from Stony Brook University in Long Island last year, class of 2014, and I actually studied Business and Chemistry. While I was in school I worked at a few health tech startups and at a Venture Capital firm in San Francisco—so my background is not in real estate per-say. I’m thankful that we have two really great real estate brokers and real estate advisors on our team who are a major help to Riley. But I really think when we talk about real estate tech—there are a lot of archaic systems in place and it seems brokers and landlords, etc aren’t so receptive to change because the ROI isn’t that clear. With Riley, we really believe that the ROI could not get clearer. We increase conversion rates for realtors and save them time through a medium that they already actively use, text-messaging.
The Rental Girl: That’s a really interesting way of looking at it. Any recent news or updates for Riley during this preliminary launch?
Daniel: Yes, actually just this morning we released the ability for realtors to claim zip codes! So for example, let’s say you’re a realtor in the Westwood area, you can claim that zip code and all the leads that we get in that zip code will go directly to you. The ultimate goal is to increase conversion rates for brokers, and I think one of the added benefits with using Riley is that we take care of those preliminary questions realtors constantly have to ask. Are you a first-time homeowner? Do you have an agent already? Do you have a co-signer? All of these questions take up time, so we ask them for the broker, and then only send the broker leads who have answered these questions and are serious about the property. So realtors are really excited about that new feature!
The Rental Girl: Wow, that’s exciting stuff! One final question: what does the future look like for Riley? What are your biggest hopes for the company?
Daniel: My biggest hope for Riley is to be the #1 Phone Number for all things real estate. Whether you need a hostel, a rental, a sublet, a mover, a handyman—if it’s any service you need related to your home, we want to be that number. Riley is a new way to begin your home search, and we’re starting with real estate—particular with rentals and sales. Text is ubiquitous, it has international application, and we’re getting really interesting data. I think a personal assistant for real estate via text-message is going to happen in the future, and I think it’s going to be Riley!
The future looks bright for Riley! It was great getting the opportunity to talk to Daniel and learn about the beginnings of this exciting new start-up. If they’ve achieved this much in a mere 2 months, what will they achieve in the next 2 years? We think Riley has the potential to revolutionize the way we do real estate!
Now we couldn’t do all this talking without giving the service a try for ourselves. We texted Riley and were super impressed by the speed in response, friendly personality, and the multiple listing options provided. Here’s the text conversation below…
As simple as that! If you want to give Riley a try and experience one of the newest technologies in real estate, click here!
The Rental Girl