How Curbio partners with Realtors® as more than just a contractor

It’s been an incredible four years for Curbio. We’ve experimented with new offerings, spoken and worked with thousands of agents, and pivoted with the rest of the world in 2020—only to come out stronger.

We didn’t do it alone. Over the past few years, we’ve partnered with some of the biggest names in real estate and worked with thousands of agents who have made our growth possible. All the while, we’ve been dedicated to expanding and improving our service offerings to earn the right to call ourselves the leading home improvement company for Realtors® and their clients.

For those who have worked with us, it’s clear that we’re much more than just a general contractor. For those who haven’t we’re excited to share how we’ve grown to become a complete home improvement solution—and not just another contractor or concierge.

It couldn’t have started without the tech

At a core, our CEO, Rick Rudman believes in technology’s ability to streamline processes. When Matt Siegal first approached him with the idea for Curbio, there was no question about whether or not they’d use technology to improve on home improvement for real estate.

They took a look at some of the big pain points in the construction industry and figured out how Curbio could eliminate them. The first was the time it takes to get accurate quotes and kick off a project. Depending on contractors’ schedules it can take 2-4 weeks for them to make their way out to the property and write up a proposal. Once you sign, there doesn’t seem to be any urgency to get started, especially if your contractors have several other jobs in the works. We’ve heard stories of the estimate, proposal, and kickoff taking 6 weeks with preferred vendors who agents have fantastic relationships with. That’s unacceptable. And for most projects, more than one specialist is needed (e.g. a counter guy, a flooring guy, and a painter), so just imagine going through this process with a few different contractors—or perhaps you can just remember a time…

Real estate transactions demand a sense of urgency! That’s why we use tech to deliver general estimates in 24 hours and kick off projects within 5 days of receiving a signed contract.

One of the other pain points that we saw an obvious tech solution for was project coordination and communication. It’s rare in life to experience over-communication from a service provider, and contractors are notorious for their severe lack of communication. That’s why we developed the Curbio app. Our app gives agents and their clients peace-of-mind as they track the progress of their home improvement projects anytime and from anywhere. They receive frequently visual and text updates from their Curbio Project Manager, who is dedicated to managing and executing their projects and staying in touch every step along the way. It’s also a hub for project documents and stats as well as marketing resources for agents.

And just like that, Curbio had incredible solutions for two of the biggest pain points in home improvement, which has one of the lowest customer satisfaction ratings out of all industries—right alongside airlines.

We turned heads with pay-at-closing

We mean this quite literally. At the 2019 NAR Convention in San Francisco, we let our pay-at-closing model lead the conversation. Our booth had zero pictures and simply said, “Renovate Now. Sell for More. Pay-at-Closing.” About 75% of the agents who walked by turned their heads…then promptly turned their feet around to walk back and have a conversation.

For us, pay-at-closing is more than just a head-turner. It’s one of the factors that enables us to work with any Realtor® on any transaction. It’s common knowledge that most homes need a little TLC before they go on the market. In TV shows dating as far back as most of us can remember, there’s often a scene during which a Realtor® first visits the home. In these scenes, they tell the homeowners they’ll need to paint at a minimum, but also consider replacing flooring, etc. Usually, this scene is coupled with another one during which something sentimental is removed to depersonalize the home for the next homeowners. A classic is the scene of a child’s growth chart on the wall being painted over—cue the montage of happy memories in the main character’s childhood home.

Back to the point…it’s common knowledge that most homes need a little TLC before they go on the market. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t have the means to update their homes before they list. Others don’t want to rearrange their finances to fork over thousands of dollars to update a home they’re moving out of. Yet Realtors® know that an updated home that feels like new will sell faster, and for a lot more—not to mention it will reduce risks to the transaction after the inspection report and appraisal are completed.

That’s why we defer payment until closing for pre-listing home improvements—with zero interest, fees, or premiums. We still get paid for the work we complete, but we’re willing to delay it, knowing the homes we update sell incredibly fast!

We were always built for real estate, but we’ve made some improvements

2020 was, no doubt, a challenge, but it’s become clear that 2021 is Curbio’s pivotal year. It started last year when we realized that we missed something along the way. We didn’t have the feedback loop we needed to cater our solutions to real estate. Sure, we were having conversations with agents regularly, and we were asking for feedback. We simply weren’t having enough of these conversations, and because of the lack of volume, it was unclear which feedback warranted change and which only applied to a few agents. We kicked off the year with hundreds of discussions with Realtors® and brokers, and we’ll continue to have these conversations to develop the right changes to make real estate move. Here’s what those conversations led to:

  • WE ELIMINATED PROJECT MINIMUMS

    We used to have a minimum project size of $15,000, but because so many listings only need a refresh (rather than whole-home renovations and rehabs) we were only helping a corner of the market.

  • WE DROPPED THE DEED OF TRUST FOR REFRESHES

    We received feedback from agents that deeds of trust were slowing down our process and creating hassle. Therefore, for projects under $25k, with shorter timelines and less intensive projects, we decided to eliminate the deed of trust. Don’t worry, we still get paid for the work we complete! That’s why we have a contract.

  • WE REMOVED MANDATORY PRICE REDUCTIONS

    By suggesting and helping sellers carry out pre-listing home improvements, agents are able to increase their control over the listing. With one of the amazing benefits of working with Curbio being control, it made sense to give you the control you need over pricing. To be honest, we rarely had to worry about price reductions anyways because Curbio’d homes sell so quickly! This made it easy for us to remove our price reduction requirement.

  • WE ADDED A PRICE-MATCH GUARANTEE

    If we had a dollar for every time we heard someone ask, “what’s the catch?” “what are the fees?” or “how expensive is this?” …well, we’d probably be doing home improvements for free by now. After promising over and over again that we’re not too good to be true and sharing specific prices (and results) of Curbio projects on our website… we’ve officially put our money where our mouth is. We now offer a price match guarantee to provide you and your clients with peace-of-mind knowing that you’re receiving a fair, and incredibly competitive price for the work we complete.

  • WE OPERATE AT ANY POINT BEFORE AND AFTER THE TRANSACTION

    A need for a pre-listing home improvement solution built for real estate agents was obvious—but agents also need support for their clients after inspections and immediately before move-in on the buy-side. We now do it all. If you’re an agent who needs home improvement support for your transaction, we’re here for you.

We’re only doing our job if all you have to do is turn the key to see the results

Tech is a core part of Curbio. It helps us streamline our entire operation, reduce project timelines, and communicate effectively. All that said, everyone who knows our CEO, Rick, knows that he believes tech can only get us so far—and that people are what gets us across the finish line every single time. That’s why we back the Realtor®. It’s also why we’re dedicated to hiring the right people to expertly guide agents and their clients through the process and manage and execute on your projects (from the initial proposal through material and subcontractor sourcing and the final punchlist) without missing a beat.

We have designers on staff who keep up with the latest trends in home design. We work with vendors who produce quality materials and help us develop a healthy supply chain to prevent project delays. We have Home Improvement Consultants with years of real estate experience and the ability to guide you and your clients through the decision-making process. We have the best Project Managers with networks of highly skilled subcontractors, who we treat like family. Finally, we partner with Realtors® who know their markets and are able to provide the personal touch necessary to provide a catered home sale or purchase experience for their sellers.

As a full team, with Realtors® at the helm, we don’t just design, we don’t just finance, we don’t just consult, we don’t just manage vendors, and we are certainly more than just a contractor. We’re a complete home improvement solution fit for every single one of your transactions.