How technology is freeing homebuyers from the fear of buying fixer-upper houses

It’s a tale as old as time – well, as old as the process of home buying. Prospective home buyers generate a laundry list of must-haves, weigh them against their budget, and then usually find something that’s a happy medium. Or they find a home that is in need of some TLC, hear the word “renovation” and decide it isn’t right for them. They hate renovations, they hate working with contractors, they are afraid of unpleasant surprises. They plan to save so they can have a bigger down payment, they watch for interest rates to change or they want to work on their credit so they can be approved for more money. Whatever the reason, they walk away. Sometimes they return to the same real estate agent. Other times, years go by and they get a new recommendation for someone to work with, or just plain forget who they were talking to once upon a time. It’s time for this story to change.

80% of homes in the US are over 20 years old and because more and more people want to live in established communities close to Starbucks, not only does the story have to change – the change has already begun. Having the right technology can help a homebuyer convert the claim that “It’s just not right for me” into “It’s the closest thing to perfect for me.” There are properties on the market in need of some renovation work, but how do you choose which one? And how do you secure the right loan and the right contractor? Who is going to guide you?

How technology is helping homeowners and potential buyers

There are many articles about how technology is assisting homeowners to envision what their spaces could look like after renovations. Some lean toward the design side and others help with furniture arrangement and shopping. However, to truly quash the fears of reno-weary potential homebuyers, you need technology that helps with the entire renovation process – from creating custom estimates to finding the right loan, to finding the right contractor.

Shows like HGTV’s Property Brothers, Income Property and Love It or List It are fascinating (and popular) because they allow people to imagine what a home can become. Without a little help, it can be difficult to picture what a space could look like. AOL Real Estate’s Paula Rant lists letting cosmetic things get in the way of a potential purchase as one of the biggest mistakes home buyers make, yet it happens all the time. As she explains, “Tiles and cabinets can be changed. What you want to look at are the bones of the house itself. Will it meet your needs? Does it flow well? Does it have enough space?” Real estate agents can say these same phrases to their clients, and stress points such as a home’s great location or recommend a great renovation professional, but it’s still tough for some potential homebuyers to see past the surface.

Technology and new homebuyers

One way to get this unsure section of the buying market is to help its members see a house’s potential, as well as the potential return on investment (ROI) of renovation projects. Perhaps a house within the potential first-time buyers’ budget isn’t quite what they were looking for, but by showing what it could be and giving them an idea of what it would cost to turn it into their dream home, they could start to see the property and its potential as their future home differently.

Taking the fear out of renovation lists the “big five” renovation fears that nearly every homeowner has about renovation: crooks, cost, disappointment, disruption and control. No one wants to get involved with a shady renovation professional, have unexpected costs push a project over budget, be dissatisfied with the results, be inconvenienced, or feel like they’re not in the driver’s seat while walls are coming down during a renovation project.

Something different

Fortunately, there’s a way to alleviate these fears: KUKUN, a home renovation marketplace that takes the whole process, and makes it simple and transparent. With a suite of services that focus solely on making the process of home remodeling more predictable and manageable – and removing many of the inefficiencies.

Instead of assisting homeowners with only one aspect of the home personalization process – estimating the cost of a renovation, connecting homeowners with industry professionals or making it simple to select furnishings – there are tools to help with every step, including:

·     Estimating the ROI on any specific project in any specific block in a city

·     Estimations for and learning about different projects

·     Finding professionals who have a history of working in the neighborhood and with the neighbors, along with their history and reputation, so you know you are working with someone vetted by other people (You can see addresses for their past projects and the type of work that was done)

·     Creating quote requests

·     Receiving and comparing bids

Managing the project as a collaborative effort between the contractor and the homebuyer/owner

Kukun is here to help homeowners conceive a project and then find the right resources to make it happen. This also makes Kukun a helping hand to real estate agents – you can direct your clients to a platform that is trustworthy, knows what their concerns are and puts them first – instead of catering to industry professionals.

Our company was born out of home renovation projects, and we know that the process can be terrifying and usually comes with a lot of unknowns. Users can find information and inspiration with our magazine articles and save the things they like, minimizing the risk of costly surprises, disruption or hiring the wrong professional. With the ability to clearly communicate specific tastes and visions, users can get the results they desire.

We work closely with professionals in the home construction and home improvement industries to develop our proprietary algorithms used to estimate home renovation costs. Our strategy, software and data sciences team spent three years learning about the pain points, the break points and building a dedicated solution. We take a home’s location, the scope of a project and local labor costs into account in order to provide accurate estimates, making it easier to budget for a renovation. We look at comparable homes in the neighborhood and find out from permit data which homes have been remodelled and what was done to them, then look at how they were sold and for how much. From there, we can deduce the ROI.

Our Plan&Manage functions make it easy to keep a project on track, and see all the moving parts. Users can set tasks and reminders, so that they can finish their projects on time and on budget.

KUKUN for real estate professionals

buying a fixer-upper

Image Source: ablemortgagellc

There are many great ways our users can put KUKUN’s services to use. For real estate professionals, we’ve created two main ways to be useful to you:

1.   Using our suite of tools will help your clients imagine what a home could look like with a little TLC. Imagine touring a house, and then being able to sit with your clients and help them get an idea of what kinds of projects could improve that house, and how much they might cost.

2.   Make an impact with a printout. We offer the option to create a printable PDF that makes renovation information easy to present. Maybe you already know that your clients will want to remodel a certain part of a house, or create an addition. Now you can prepare, and give them the information they need to see how a house could perfectly fit their needs.

Picture your clients being able to easily see past an outdated kitchen or too-small bathroom. By removing the mystery surrounding home renovation, you can help skittish potential homebuyers unlock a property’s potential, and create their dream space.

It’s no wonder Intero real estate (one of the most progressive real estate agencies in the US) and Harry Norman were quick to adopt Kukun’s technology for every one of their listings. According to Tom Tognoli, the CEO of Intero, “When someone asks me, I tell them that Kukun is the Zillow for home remodeling. What will it cost and what will the ROI be when I remodel my home or a home I am interested in buying? How do I find a good and reliable contractor? All of these are questions that every homeowner and every buyer has. Kukun answers these questions and more. Agents love it, Homebuyers love it and sellers love it. If you are a leader in the real estate or mortgage industry and you are looking for a way to differentiate your organization, leveraging Kukun is a no-brainer.”

Explore the suite of services that we offer at, or contact us for more information.

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