Marketplace Homes in Livonia Launches Virtual Tour App for Buyers


Next week, Marketplace Homes in Livonia will formally announce a new subsidiary called “ZipTours,” a novel real estate platform that allows prospective buyers with a smartphone to schedule showings, view a home through live streaming video with an agent, and even make an offer on a given property.

“We’ve been working on the ZipTours app for about seven months, and we think it will revolutionize how people buy homes,” says Mike Kalis, CEO of Marketplace Homes. “It will alleviate the giant meet up where buyers, sellers, agents, and others all have to come together at the same place at the same time to view a home.”

Metro Detroit is serving as a test market for the new app, and Kalis has plans to expand the platform to 20 states in the next two years. He adds ZipTours plans to create 100 new jobs this year.

With the app, a prospective buyer can show up at a listed home, click the “View Home” selection, and be instantly connected to a real estate agent via live streaming. Following the link up and verification, the doors are remotely unlocked and the buyer tours the home at his or her leisure. The agent stays on the call the entire time, while cameras set in the home provide added security.

“More and more, you’re seeing companies and individuals rely on the so-called ‘trust economy,’” Kalis says. “We’ve been working with remote video technology for quite some time, and it has proven incredibly reliable. There’s no more meeting a stranger (agent) at night to view a home.”

ZipTours offers several security features before an individual tours a home, including validating identification through a picture ID that is recorded and stored as well as via phone verification and social media. The tours also are recorded. The company adds it will cover any damages that occur to a homeowner or a shopper during a ZipTours for up to $1 million.

There’s also a “Make an Offer” selection, where users answer eight questions online. After a few minutes, the company will provide a payment estimate, funds needed to close, and rate the strength of the offer. Users can click on “Discuss with an Expert” and be directly connected to a real estate agent, as well.