The Home Preparation Service Minimizes Stress and Maximizes Value
Anyone who has ever sold a home knows how exhausting, frustrating and stressful it can be.
Regardless of whether the home sale is driven by positive change or not, it consistently ranks as one of the most stressful life events, right up there with divorce, marriage or changing jobs. According to a Zillow survey, 36% of home sellers say the process literally brought them to tears.
“Typically, the reason for selling a home is coupled with another life change like death, divorce and downsizing, compounding the stress even further,” says Derek Shewmon, co-founder of HOMEstretch. Shewmon and HOMEstretch co-founder Nick Lobert recognized an opportunity to offer an innovative service that takes away many of the stressors of selling homes. In doing so, they created a whole new market they call the “home preparation service industry.”
Getting a house ready to sell can be a daunting task. When people sell homes, they either face a lot of work or must hire a number of different companies, including painters, junk removal businesses, handyman services, flooring pros, landscapers and cleaning services.
The premise behind HOMEstretch is that it’s a one-stop shop for all these services. “Buyers want move-in ready,” says Shewmon. “This means an updated look with a fresh coat of paint, clean flooring, tidy gardens and uncluttered spaces. Instead of hiring six different vendors to do all that, home sellers can call us to handle everything from start to finish. And unlike most service providers, we answer the phone, show up, and get the job done on time.”
Clients can take advantage of all of HOMEstretch’s services or just a few. The average ticket is about $5,000 for a standard 2,200-square-foot home, but the price can go as high as $40,000 for a larger job based on the services needed. But it’s a worthwhile investment, says Lobert. “We focus on cosmetic improvements that increase the value of the home. We’ve had clients who have put an extra $150,000 in their pockets by doing basic things like painting, flooring, and landscaping.”
As childhood friends, Shewmon and Lobert have always worked well together. “We’re like yin and yang,” they joke. Leveraging Lobert’s expertise in real estate and construction with Shewmon’s finance and technology background, they founded HOMEstretch in 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their business idea quickly became popular with local Realtors and took off in their area. “Realtors are always looking for reliable service providers,” Lobert says. And this service helps them earn bigger commissions and sell faster. It’s a win-win-win.” After the success of the first location, they tested a second location in Columbus in 2021 and a third in Indianapolis in 2023.
HOMEstretch Franchise Opportunity
The business model proved scalable and replicable, so franchising became the logical next step. “We are excited to bring HOMEstretch across the country with the right franchise partners,” Lobert says. Ideal candidates are relationship builders who can lead teams. “The most important piece to the business is developing relationships with Realtors, who bring in about 80% of our referrals. Once Realtors use our services, they are hooked.”
New franchise owners can start their businesses from home but will eventually want to move the operation to a warehouse-type space with a room for storage and a set-up for meeting with employees. Shewmon and Lobert have already locked in a national partnership with Sherwin-Williams and continue to look for ways to improve the franchise opportunity. They partnered with franchise development company REP’M Group to further streamline their model and market the franchise opportunity.
For now, Shewmon and Lobert are excited to welcome their first franchise partners and lead the brand into national expansion. They are especially tuned in to the downsizing market, which is rising as baby boomers age. “Even as the housing market fluctuates, people will always need to sell homes for a variety of reasons. We’re here to make that process less stressful and more profitable,” Shewmon says.
For more information, visit https://homestretch-franchise.com/