Keith Rabois, the former Square and PayPal executive who is now handling much of Khosla Ventures’ consumer investments, has a new side gig.
He’s co-founding a company under the codename Homerun that will make it easy to sell entire homes in a few clicks. He’s aiming to launch it sometime mid-year.
“For most people, homes are their biggest asset and it’s completely illiquid,” Rabois said. “This is a really expensive transaction for many people. What we’re going to provide is instant certainty, liquidity and convenience for normal people to sell their homes.”
He added that he’s completely committed to staying at Khosla and there are precedents for having a full-time VC co-founder. Workday, for instance, was co-founded by Greylock’s Aneel Bhusri.
Rabois couldn’t give too many specifics on who his co-founders were or how the platform would work exactly.
“I’m not going to describe the exact flow, but the general point is you’ll tell us what your address is and confirm your identity, then we’ll allow you to sell your home,” he said. “Obviously there’s a variety of ways you could verify your identity that we didn’t have in 2003, when I originally thought of this idea. Like Facebook Connect.”
You’d use Facebook Connect to verify your identity and sell your home?
“Maybe,” he laughed. “This is the dream application of the Facebook platform.”
Normally, when you’re selling a home, you need to hire an agent, who will then list it on a classifieds-like system called MLS. Buyers and their agents will also be searching the MLS for homes that match meaningful criteria for them like the number of rooms, the location or the price. Then there’s the whole dog-and-pony show for open houses and then handling mortgages, escrows and home inspections.
He said Homerun should work for all kinds of deals, whether they’re entirely in cash or relying on mortgages. He added that the platform is for owner-occupied homes, not speculative buyers and sellers. Unlike the red-hot Bay Area market, homes in the rest of the United States sell for a median $260,000.
What would a world in which people could seamlessly buy and sell homes look like?
“My instinct is that it would shift people from renting to owning homes,” he said. “One of the reasons people rent is the convenience of walking away from an apartment. At the end of the lease, you don’t have any obligations.”