Gaming app backed by The Agency asks if housing prices are right

Mauricio Umansky and other top agents are investors for "Domicile: Game of Homes"

The Agency's Edward Fitz and Mauricio Umansky
The Agency's Edward Fitz and Mauricio Umansky

Apart from  the big game of real estate, where fortunes are made and lost, then there’s an eternal search for the next big real estate game ranging from “Monopoly” to “SimCity” to “Decentraland”.

Edward Fitz, a Los Angeles-based partner for The Agency, recently got involved in marrying pixels and buildings by unveiling  “Domicile: Game of Homes,” a free app-based game that tests pricing knowledge of homes, quizzes on real estate trivia and crowdsources likes and dislikes of homes on the market.

Fitz’s app has been available on iTunes and Android since earlier this fall. He brought it to market with 27 investors — including top agents such as Mauricio Umansky, Linda May, Branden and Rayni Williams, Adam Rosenfeld, Brent Watson and Sandro Dazzan. Other investors include David Bohnett, founder of Geocities. Investors spent more than more than $2 million developing the app.

“We’re digitizing something that people are already doing which is guessing prices on houses in neighborhoods and other places,” Fitz said.

The first section of the app quizzes gamers on home values using real listings and asks players to guess a listing’s price. Then it asks the gamer about the specific value of the home.

Fitz said the app is meant to be fun; but it’s also intended as market intelligence. 

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“It is a great, interesting way to promote listings, to make real estate fun and provide data to real estate agents on what people think about their listings,”  he said. 

The app will also provide a way for gamers to contact agents about homes. Fitz said Domicile will not charge a referral fee. Domicile sources its information on home pricing and values from multiple listing services in 12 states. 

Another part of the app, called Home Games, offers trivia about famous homes in pop culture. Another feature, Domicile University, quizzes agents about the real estate business, 

In the past, other apps received flack for displaying MLS data without permission, according to media reports. Domicile sought to work through channels an MLS group would recognize. The app works as a brokerage, called Domicile Global Inc. Fitz emphasized his company won’t be dealing in properties and competing with other firms.

Fitz and his colleagues at The Agency are not the only real estate agents investing in games. Josh Altman of The Altman Brothers at Douglas Elliman is one of the backers of “House Rush.” Altman said a soft launch of the game is scheduled to run early 2024.

The success of a gaming app rides on a strong marketing campaign and game design that will intrigue games, said J’Net Nguyen, an entertainment marketing consultant who has a focus on new media. 

“For the majority of people who download an app, the odds are low that they will return,” Nguyen said. “Game designers and developers need to understand the psychology of what hooks an audience. Is it a fun game where people will want to spend time? It comes down to the quality of the game to rise above the noise.”

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