On a quiet summer afternoon in 2017, then-realtor Shannon Quagliata sat in an empty open house and couldn’t understand why there were no interested homebuyers insight. The open house signs and directions she had organized led directly to the house and still it was deserted. What she didn’t know was that, while her client’s property was very popular and had all the components to sell quickly, the prospective buyers sat outside the gated neighborhood unable to enter. By the time Quagliata realized her note with her contact information and on how to get the gate code had been removed from the entrance, the buyers were angry and frustrated and had lost interest in seeing the home altogether.
“I remember sitting in that open house, alone, waiting for homebuyers, thinking, ‘There has to be another way. There has to be a better way,’” Shannon recalls.
This wasn’t the first obstacle with open houses Shannon faced during her real estate career. Communicating gate codes, time changes and even directions was impossible because often the agent holding the open house was not the listing agent, and, therefore, could not be found anywhere by the homebuyer wanting more information. As Arizona became a booming market for real estate, first-time homebuyers were also having issues purchasing and even seeing a home because the house sold prior to it even hitting the market. Having built her real estate career by hosting open houses, she understood how important they were in the homebuying journey and knew the open house process needed to change.
That’s where the idea for PRE Open House was born. The idea seemed so simple: a user-friendly app and website that not only showed details for all open houses within a city, neighborhood or zip code, but also provided a way for the potential buyer to connect instantly and directly with the agent holding the open house. To Quagliata’s surprise, there was no platform available to consumers that provided all these features in a convenient one-stop, one-click website and app. She developed PRE Open House to provide a live feed straight from the Multiple Listing Service of all open houses on any day to enable buyers to plot their trips to open houses in one convenient location, rather than driving around neighborhoods searching for signs and going into homes that don’t fit their search criteria.
After a long career in real estate, Quagliata was now running a startup tech company — something she never would have imagined herself doing in a million years. “This venture was so far out of my comfort zone, but I was so passionate about my idea and the need for this in the marketplace that I knew I had to at least try,” Quagliata says. “I aimed to create something that would really change and improve the open house process for both homebuyers and real estate agents.” Like many startups, Quagliata faced countless challenges starting her company. She quickly learned the value of fostering a strong team of dedicated individuals who are equally passionate about the idea and the mission of the company. Together, they handle technical issues, updates and making sure every feature of the app and website is completely user-friendly.
“There are so many learning curves with starting any new company, but tech is an entirely different journey,” she says. “Technology is constantly changing, meaning as a business owner you have to be innovative and ahead of the curve, and constantly changing as well.”
Quagliata uses this approach in fostering relationships as well. As in any new company, her team has dedicated their time to sharing their idea with the public and learning what they can do to improve their product. Their priorities are both the homebuyer as well as the realtor, protecting both of their interests equally.
“It’s a learning process,” Quagliata says. “From the start, you have to be ready to dedicate your life to your idea, and never lose your vision or your why. There won’t always be as many supporters as there are people trying to bring you down, but there will also be your team pushing you forward and having faith in you, and that’s what matters the most.”
The ‘PRE’ in PRE Open House
To help first-time buyers attain homes, PRE Open House users have access to new listings and offmarket, coming-soon properties not yet on the market. This feature gives homebuyers an opportunity to view a home and attend an open house prior to it going on the market. The housing market in Arizona is at an all-time high, and finding affordable homes for sale is harder than it has been in years.
PRE Open House users can find all open houses on the website or mobile app that is available for download on Android and iOS devices.
[Did You Know: Open houses are seen as one of the most effective tools to sell a home. According to Realtor Magazine, 77 percent of home buyers go to open houses prior to deciding which house they want to buy.]