Recently launched property platform FlyHomes brings an unusual approach to real estate transactions — it delivers users frequent flyer miles when they purchase a home, at no extra cost.
Founded in 2015, the Seattle-based company provides home buyers with up to one frequent flyer mile for every dollar spent on the final purchase price of a new home.
Since FlyHomes purchases the miles being given to the home buyer at its own cost by using portions of the commission it receives from a seller, potential home buyers will not incur any additional charges for using the service.
Like other sites, the FlyHomes platform allows users to search for homes for sale in their area.
From there, they can choose to have an agent walk them through the process step by step, or they can go through the process alone and FlyHomes will simply unlock the door when a prospective buyer wants to tour a property.
FlyHomes’ staff consists of MBA graduates for negotiating prices, data scientists for analytics and lawyers for reviewing contracts.
Lane and his co-founder Tushar Garg, both former Microsoft employees, teamed with Zak Allen a freelance developer to launch FlyHomes in Chicago, but it now operates mainly from Seattle.
In addition to Seattle, the new real estate company is currently beta testing in the Boston area and intends to launch in San Francisco soon.
Currently, users can only receive miles with Alaska Airlines, with the goal to expand to more rewards programs in the future.
Since there is no exact dollar-to-mile ratio that applies to every home, it’s hard to pinpoint the precise number of miles a user might get for their purchase.
However, in some cases, the ratio is 1:1 — if a house costs $400,000, FlyHomes will give you 400,000 Alaska miles, which is enough for, say, 16 round-trip domestic flights or almost three round-trip first-class flights to Asia.
If you purchase through FlyHomes, you’ll have a new house as well as a sizable number of miles to use to explore the world.
Once a home has been purchased, Flyhomes also offers buyers a so called Chase Ink Plus Business Card which offers 5x points on cellular phone, internet and cable TV purchases.
FlyHomes co-founder and CEO Stephen Lane told Geekwire partnerships like the one with Alaska are attractive to airlines because they help with brand development in major metropolitan hubs.
Lane also told Geekwire the platform allows millenial buyers to own more of the process by vetting homes on the FlyHomes platform and then connecting with one of those part-time agents to open doors to properties they’re interested in.
“We’ve now hired Uber drivers who used to be real estate agents that are opening up doors for clients in Seattle,” Lane said. “It’s super scalable across cities,” he says.
According to Geekwire the FlyHomes team is currently meeting with investors and intends to raise a large seed round this summer.
"In addition to fundraising, the startup plans to make a number of announcements in the coming weeks. Partnerships with new airlines are in the works. FlyHomes will also begin testing a gameified house-hunting experience with a 'House of the Day' worth extra miles if it is purchased that day," the report says.
We're here to make home buying seamless, transparent, and fun," Lane says.
"It’s that simple, that’s really why we are here. Why do real estate agents make some buying seem so complicated?"
"We’re going to deliver better service and more value to our clients than average agents. We’re trying to carve out a niche in the market that generates a feedback loop.
"Instead of paying agents commissions to find clients, we use most of our commission to buy miles for our clients. This offer is helping us attract tech-savvy young professionals that like to travel the world."
Lane adds the platform isn't targeting discount buyers.
"I’ve traveled the world using airline miles and we are targeting home buyers that love to earn miles because of the adventures those miles can unlock too. Can you imagine what you’d do with 1M miles after buying a home?"