The Real Deal New York

Overstock dot home? E-commerce giant gets into real estate

Overstock dot home? E-commerce giant gets into real estate
By E.B. Solomont | July 23, 2018 09:00AM

(Credit: iStock)

Online retailer Overstock.com is knocking on the door of the real estate business.

The e-commerce site — known for selling household goods at a discount — is now launching an entire platform for real estate that it’s calling O Real Estate.

The first iteration involves a property management service called Houserie, the company said today.

Houserie, a startup that Overstock bought in February and is re-launching today, will be geared toward the residential market, and it will let landlords screen tenants and conduct credit checks. A future version will allow property managers to communicate with renters and manage rental payments. Also in February, Overstock acquired Rental Roost, a company that uses predictive analytics to match renters and homes.

In a statement, Overstock said O Real Estate will seek to capitalize on 20 years of selling furniture, linens and clothing online. “Adding real estate to the mix was a natural fit for a brand,” said Seth Moore, a senior vice president of strategy.

O Real Estate, which officially launches in September, will eventually give landlords and tenants a portal for renting, buying and managing real estate.

To get into real estate, Overstock — which did $1.75 billion in revenue last year — acquired a pair of residential startups in February for a combined $600,000.

The Salt Lake City-based company paid $100,000 for Houserie, a California startup; and $500,000 for Rental Roost. Both companies were started by the same founders.

Overstock is the latest company that has looked to create a broad real estate platform that provides a range of services.

Last week, co-working giant WeWork said it was going to get into the commercial brokerage business. Meanwhile Last year, Amazon flirted with launching a new service that would connect customers to real estate agents. Shortly after posting its “Hire a Realtor” landing page, the e-commerce giant took down the page. And Compass, which is very much in the real estate game, is spending “billions” of dollars to build a platform that will let agents do more than sell real estate.

In Overstock’s case, the foray into real estate coincides with its expansion into other new business lines.

It’s been one of the first retailers to take bitcoin, and its FinanceHub offers lending, credit cards and insurance. In January, Overstock rolled out a digital investment adviser on FinanceHub. Overstock is offering the “robo-advising” service with tZERO Advisors at a cost of $9.95 per month.