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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Kukun’s iHomeManager Helps Homeowners and Investors Preserve and Grow Home Values

Kukun Ihomemanager Helps Preserve And Grow Home Values
Mike Senecal

Written by: Mike Senecal

Mike Senecal
Mike Senecal

Mike Senecal draws on more than 20 years of editorial experience to update readers on industry trends, business news, and best practices in budgeting and credit use. Mike has worked for decades in academic and trade publishing, including roles as managing editor and technical editor at the University of Florida and as contributor to finance industry publications, including Surety Bond Quarterly and Independent Agent, among others. Mike holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina, and he enjoys bringing his years of academic and industry expertise online to help consumers of diverse financial backgrounds.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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In a Nutshell: If you’ve done online research as a current homeowner, you already know about the many web platforms dedicated to helping you purchase or sell. Kukun‘s iHomeManager is different because it’s focused on making the most of what you already have. The iHomeManager is a free suite to help homeowners manage their home value, assess ROI for improvements, and maintain their property. The platform also allows residents to understand how neighborhood developments affect their home value and rate local contractors. Kukun’s iHomeManager is like a Swiss Army knife for homeowners.

The biggest purchase an individual or family makes is usually on a home. It pays to treat a home purchase as an investment and upgrade and maintain the property accordingly.

Plenty of apps and platforms invite homeowners to buy and sell. Kukun‘s iHomeManager platform stands out in a crowded marketplace because it offers constructive home intelligence and ROI insights to owners who may have no plans to move or purchase.

Kukun designed the iHomeManager with a convenient dashboard interface where homeowners can make more financially constructive decisions. Insights from iHomeManager help homeowners address challenges and prioritize spending for optimal financial results.

Data is central to the process. Kukun’s iHomeManager is an AI-powered property technology platform drawing on extensive public datasets and proprietary analytics.

Kukun logo

A data team collects information on all homes in America — building permits, property records, transaction records, and assessor records — and combines it with other databases.

An analytics team extrapolates actual costs from standard syndicated costs so homeowners understand the financial impact of their proposals and strategies on a local and neighborhood level.

Homeowners gain clarity and confidence to make sound decisions on home improvements, repairs, and maintenance to maximize their home value. Kukun draws on its data and expertise to offer services to lenders, real estate agencies, data companies, retailers, and others. But its consumer-facing marketplace is free for homeowners to use.

“We invite users to come in, sign up, and manage their own home at no charge,” Chief Operating Officer Scott Langmack said. “Our iHomeManager is a website where homeowners can make better decisions to grow their wealth over time.”

Home Intelligence Across the Ownership Journey

The iHomeManager dashboard gives users access to an application suite that can solve challenges at all stages of the ownership journey.

Onboarding is simple. Users log on, provide their home address, and answer questions about their home’s renovation and maintenance history. The platform generates a Property Insight and Condition, or PICO™, Score, which works like a FICO® credit score for a home to assess condition and marketability relative to other area residences.

The PICO Score computes the comparative value of repairs, renovations, and improvements. New homes receive a score of 850 (the highest FICO score). Older homes with no updates receive a 500. Well-maintained older homes with extensive remodeling and upgrades can easily score in the 800s.

iHomeManager offers a snapshot assessment of home value.

Users update remodeling information and other home data in the dashboard’s Manage Home Value app to see improvements in the PICO Score, Home Value, and Home Value Forecast. These home value report card insights, the core of the iHomeManager experience, help homeowners understand the impact of the decisions they make elsewhere on the platform.

The value is in the granularity of the data. For example, the platform understands that improvements on a $400,000 home have a different financial character than improvements on a $4 million property.

The more expensive home receives highly customized cabinets, counter materials, top-level finishes, high-end appliances, and other above-average-cost improvements. In contrast, the average home receives improvements with average costs. It’s in the financial best interest of homeowners to make improvement decisions based on their home value.

“We build in variations between $100,000 and $10 million homes so that we know — for your neighborhood, for your home — the types of improvements you should install,” Langmack said.

Cost Estimator Calculates ROI for Improvements

Kukun’s Home Renovation Cost Estimator is also available via the dashboard. The Manage Home Value app is a long-term planning tool for owners undertaking recent remodels. The Cost Estimator is a medium-term planning tool to assess the ROI of remodels, additions, expansions, and other renovation costs.

The Cost Estimator makes estimating the cost of kitchen, bathroom, flooring, roofing, and other renovations easy. Even contractors use it with their customers to scope projects.

Users check the appropriate box for what they want to accomplish and then specify counter lengths, different finish levels, higher-quality appliances or cabinets, or whatever the project requires.

Scott Langmack
Scott Langmack is Kukun’s Chief Operating Officer.

“All the numbers are local — you receive a figure for local material and labor costs,” Langmack said. “A printout specifies every detail down to the square foot of every material and cost component. Users can communicate their needs to contractors to prepare exact bids according to those specs.”

Homeowners can trust these figures because Kukun only applies data relevant to the project. Most building permits refer to routine maintenance that would skew the numbers if they were included in the Cost Estimate. But Kukun only incorporates nearby new construction and renovation projects.

“Our analytics and targeting assess what’s happening in the neighborhood, not the community,” Langmack said.

Not every improvement generates a positive ROI. But even quality-of-life improvements like kitchen and bath renovations can pay off if the homeowner follows popular trends. Langmack said the only thing the platform can’t account for is bad taste.

“Plenty of people will make flawed choices, spend money, and not get their money back,” Langmack said. “But if you study the options about what’s trending and go that direction, it’s a good bet you’ll come out ahead.”

Understand Maintenance and Neighborhood Trends

The iHomeManager platform isn’t only for residents without plans to sell. Fix-and-flippers and other investors use the iHomeDashboard to calculate selling prices based on purchase and renovation costs.

Those users pay a fee to access the dashboard for multiple addresses. Single-family homeowners always access the platform for free.

The Home Maintenance app drills down to the minute details of keeping up a home. The tool bases maintenance recommendations on 14 climate zones influencing home wear and tear.

“You put your hose away and drain your sprinklers earlier in Minnesota than in Maryland — in Florida, you never do those things,” Langmack said. “We tailor everything to climate so people know when to prune the shrubs and check the insulation in their basement pipes.”

Langmack said new homeowners love the Home Maintenance app because owning a new home is like bringing a baby into the world. Knowledge is precious, and the app fills in the blanks so owners understand the responsibility. Two-week email updates keep users up to speed.

The Comps and Sales and Upcoming Construction apps make it easy to stay informed about what’s happening in the neighborhood. They alert users when nearby homes go pending, have sold, or are undergoing renovation.

“We all get plenty of new listing emails from the large portals, but those come in with the perspective that someone wants to sell you something,” Langmack said. “We target what homeowners really want to know about their neighborhood.”

Meanwhile, the iHomeManager dashboard allows users to find and rate contractors, financial providers, and insurance brokers. Homeowners may also save their building permit history and cost estimate records they perform on the platform. It adds up to a complete package for homeowners interested in managing their properties to the fullest.

“Every app has a level of depth that is not available anywhere else,” Langmack said.