HouseFix launched a year ago at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco with the goal of becoming the Carfax for your home. The Pennsylvania-based startup aimed to bring social recommendations to the home repair industry in an effort to give homeowners a directory of contractors and repair professionals, including reviews and profiles. In turn, the site aimed to give these contractors a web presence, bringing them online and offering them tools to help track their projects.
The startup had a tough uphill battle thanks to well-established competition coming from the likes of ServiceMagic and Angie’s List, to name two. After a year of plugging away, today we’ve learned that the startup has decided to close down shop and has pulled down its website as a result. The site now links to RedBeacon.
According to the message currently posted on its homepage, HouseFix was unable to “attract a large enough user base to complete [its] vision” and has decided to pursue other directions. We’ve reached out to the founders, whom we last profiled a year ago, to learn more about their decision and find out what lies ahead.
Although HouseFix was competing against ServiceMagic, Angie’s List et al, the startup attempted to differentiate by adding trust to homeowners’ transactions with house repair businesses by creating a social context by which people could find peer reviews, i.e. recommendations they could trust, knowing they came from their neighbors. It’s a model being pursued by many web businesses, especially in the travel and vacation spaces.
While HouseFix wasn’t completely alone in offering recommendations for the house repair industry, it was operating on new ground with its tracking mechanism for repairs — the feature that earned it the “CARFAX of home repair” moniker. This functionality seemed to have great potential were it to be acquired by Zillow or RedBeacon or some other homes listing site that includes home values.
This would have allowed users to view home repair histories when searching for new houses — something they could view during the search, before buying to get a sense of whether or not homes were valued fairly. This could have brought some much-needed transparency to the home buying process, but it seems that it may have been too complex and thorny for HouseFix to maneuver through the inherent legal issues and real estate industry friction on its own.
We’ll update when we learn more. For now, HouseFix’s good-bye message included below in full.