An evening stroll is a solid way to clear one’s mind – or if you’re John Stuifbergen, fill it with the kind of “what ifs” that he’s converted into a 21st-century home-buying enhancement.
“Quite a few years ago, my wife, Jaci, and I were walking our dogs (Oscar and Felix) through our neighborhood and a home caught our eyes. We agreed, if it ever went up for sale, we’d love to make an offer. In the back of my mind, I thought about all the ways those situations play out:
I could approach the owner directly and tell them our intent, leave a message in their screen door or mail them a letter – all great and viable options but all have one flaw: time.”
If the owner isn’t ready to sell immediately, that information could easily be lost or forgotten. With John’s background as a front-end developer, software consultant and IT manager, he saw the answer to this dilemma in software: “An offhand comment to a colleague received glowing praise. That fanned the flame enough for me to start building out an initial prototype.”
John officially started working on his startup, iHeartYourHouse, in 2015 and did a soft launch the following year.
“In a nutshell, iHeartYourHouse helps potential home buyers express their interest in buying someone’s home,” John says.
“Our pre-market home buying platform allows you to put your name on a waiting list of potential buyers before houses list to the public. You’ll have a jump on the market and a chance to live in a house you’ve had your heart set on.”
John says the iHeartYourHouse platform is unique in that it “allows buyers to proactively drive demand for homes and initiate those conversations.” He initiated his own game-changing conversation when he reached out to The Startup Collaborative and earned a spot as one of TSC’s 2018 Fellows. He says TSC’s framework has helped him ensure “I had a viable concept that consumers were willing to use and pay for.” His confidence grew even more when iHeartYourHouse was chosen as a finalist for Cox’s Get Started Omaha pitch competition during which the business received a flood of praise from attendees and judges.
Even as he balances full-time work at Buildertrend, John continues to run with this real estate concept that emanated from an evening stroll: “Today and the foreseeable future has a big marketing push to grow our home lover and homeowner user-bases, using our backyard of Omaha as the initial prototype marketing before pushing into additional cities. The future goal is to build affiliate relationships with all key players who have a role in the complete transaction.”