Redfin CEO and DoorDash Co-Founder Invest in New Mexico Real Estate Startup Building Portal – GeekWire

From left to right: Co-founder Max Blumen; CEO and Co-Founder Chet Kittleson, and Co-Founder Molly Braeunig. (Photo of distant houses)

A trio of Redfin alumni team up to launch a startup that focuses on buying and selling real estate in overseas markets.

Far Homes came out of stealth mode on Tuesday and announced it had raised $2.25 million. The round was led by PSL Ventures, with participation from hard-hitting angels including Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman and DoorDash co-founder Evan Moore, who was also the former VP of Product at Opendoor. .

The startup has an online listing portal for buying and selling homes in Mexico, with plans to eventually expand to new geographies. It has partnered with property management companies and estate agents nationwide to catalog over 230 properties available for purchase. The properties are mostly in vacation areas, ranging from beachfront mansions to one-bedroom condos. Prices range from around $100,000 to $3.6 million.

These prices are cheap compared to the US real estate market, Chet Kittleson, CEO and co-founder of Far Homes, told GeekWire in an interview. This makes Mexico an attractive alternative market for investors, he said.

“It’s a totally different ball game,” he added.

Kittleson noted that his team has seen a noticeable increase in search volume for available homes in Mexico in recent months, alongside announcements of work-from-home policies. Employees who can work remotely are increasingly interested in moving to seaside locations, he said.

“The Far Homes team has identified a clear opportunity in the market,” Ben Gilbert, co-founder and managing director of PSL Ventures, said in a statement. “While many now have the ability to work from anywhere, most Americans are still paying for the purchase of a vacation home in the United States. It is a no-brainer for many of these people to buy from international instead, but it’s too complex today.”

(FarHomes.com screenshot)

Asked why companies such as Redfin or Zillow aren’t taking advantage of these tailwinds, Kittleson said the infrastructure to operate them isn’t available in Mexico. He added that these large real estate companies rely on multiple listing services to aggregate listings on their platforms, which currently do not exist in the region. It also makes it difficult for real estate agents to list their properties and reach a wider clientele.

“You just found these outdated WordPress websites run by small agent shops,” he said. “And it’s really hard to get a sense of the terrain to know what’s for sale and what’s the process.”

Far Homes, which launched its technology portal in July, is currently working with about 25 agents in Mexico to help them reach home buyers in America. The startup makes its money by charging these real estate agents when they close a deal through the platform.

Real estate investment platforms, including Far Homes, have been criticized in the past for making it easier for investors to gobble up real estate, outbid first-time buyers and drive up costs. Kittleson champions the start-up model because it primarily targets “expat-oriented” markets.

Kittleson said there are currently no other startups building a portal for US buyers to transact real estate in Mexico. Flat.mx, a startup offering iBuying services to Mexican homeowners, raised $20 million.

Pacaso, co-founded by former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, also aims to make vacation home ownership easier. The company, which divides ownership into fractional shares, owns a handful of properties in Mexico.

Far homes, which has six employees, was founded in 2022 by Kittleson, Molly Braeunig and Max Blumen. Kittleson previously worked as Senior Director of New Markets at Redfin, while Braeunig was Director of Product Marketing and Customer Insights at Redfin. Blumen worked at both Redfin and Convoy, where he held leadership positions in the market and business growth divisions.

The company said it will use some of its fresh money to make several hires in positions such as technology and customer support. It will also seek to strengthen its marketing to integrate more customers.

Other notable participants in the round include Laurence Jankelow and Ryan Coon, co-founders of Avail, which was acquired by Realtor.com in 2020; Victor Noguera, co-founder of Flat.mx; and Franco Forte, co-founder of Mudafy. The startup has not disclosed its current valuation.