If you are buying a home on the West Coast of the United States, chances are you do not consider utility costs to be a major expense. In other parts of the country, however, utility costs may be as high as, and sometimes more than, the mortgage payment itself.
Extremes in seasonal climate lead to an excessive use of electricity, gas, and water. Major real estate listing sites, such as Zillow and Trulia, offer limited insight into the full costs of home ownership. UtilityScore is an enterprise level SaaS application built to address that problem.
The goal was to take complex data about the hidden costs of their house processed by the application and then beautifully visualize digestible by an average user.
The team at UtilityScore approached deBreeze for the design of a user experience for that walks an average user through an intuitive engagement process.
The design was then followed by the development of an enterprise SaaS application that processes complex data to estimate the monthly, yearly and seasonal utility costs for electricity, gas, and water, of a given home.
When a user enters the address of a home, the website fetches its physical and location-based data (such as size, gas, utility provider, seasonal changes, etc.) After processing this data, UtilityScore assigns a score from 0-100 to the home based on their utility cost efficiency. The most energy and utility-efficient home gets the score of 100.
The UtilityScore portal has three distinct use cases—the home buyer, the home seller, and the professional. The primary user is the home buyer interested in assessing the utility costs of their future home.
The secondary and equally important use case is the home seller, where homeowners use UtilityScore to get an insight into the improvements they need to make before putting their home on the market.
The third use case is for professionals such as real estate agents, brokers, lenders, and home improvement professionals use it to better assess their clients’ needs.
Despite the complex data processing, UtiltiyScore is designed to be simple to the end user. Following an intuitive interaction flow, the user is encouraged to convert in just one step. UtilityScore’s big data visualization algorithm beautifully displays the results of monthly and yearly electricity, gas, and water bills.
Each home is assigned a UtiltyScore based on its utility costs in comparison to homes with similar characteristics in the neighborhood. The score reflects the home’s competitive advantage considering its overall cost, enabling buyer insight in a matter of seconds.
Intuitive customization features enable users to personalize default home details. Utility cost and score results are updated in real time when a user makes the changes.
Sellers are homeowners. They will be able to go through the same use case as buyers and see the same results. However, with a click of a button, they can also claim the home. Then, a beautifully visualized dashboard provides unique insight, enabling them to take specific actions to improve their home before bringing it to the market.
The seller results page provides additional functionality. In addition to providing home data visualization for the buyers, sellers will also be able to see specific home improvement recommendations. The seller dashboard displays the overall cost of home improvements, utility cost savings, estimated home value, rebates, and location-based recommendations to home improvement professionals, lenders, and real estate agents.
The results page displays recommended home improvement projects. Upon selecting a project, the user will be able to view the project cost, estimated annual savings, projected UtilityScore, the projected increase in home value, available rebates, and refinement options.
Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents and brokers use UtilityScore on behalf of their clients. They have access to an extensive set of reports that will help them support their clients. They are also able to save each report for future reference.
Lenders and Contractors
UtilityScore uses location-based data to display recommended lenders and contractors to assist homeowners and buyers in their home improvement projects.