Startups like Streeteasy and Zillow have upended the dynamics of buying and selling homes by making it easy-as-pie to search available inventory. Now a new contender is entering the digital fray and banking on its modern, curatorial eye: Dwell, the company best known for its print magazine.
Starting Saturday, an initial set of 50 properties designated “Dwell Homes” will be listed on a new website that the publisher is launching with partner Live International, a Los Angeles real estate firm. For home buyers with a taste for modern design and a budget between less than $1 million to $55 million*, the site promises a way to more efficiently search available properties. Dutch colonial owners, however, need not apply: Dwell Homes are expected to display “architectural significance” as determined by a board of four judges, including Dwell‘s editor in chief.
“We’re doing what we do best, curating the modern world for the person looking for a modern home,” Michela O’Connor Abrams, president and CEO, tells Co.Design by phone, calling from the National Association of Realtors conference in New Orleans. O’Connor Abrams says that the judging panel is agnostic as to style and price, but will carefully evaluate details such as materials, finishes and layout. “It’s not a checklist. For us ‘modern’ has never been just a style; it’s a philosophy, it’s a way that we live.”
For each Dwell Homes property, Live International will negotiate a commission share with the home’s lead broker, and then pass along a cut to Dwell. “Over the years we have gotten more inquiries than I can count from people looking to sell or buy a modern home,” O’Connor Abrams says. She also expects to feature Dwell Homes in ads.
The new venture joins a growing roster of Dwell business units, all designed to complement the print magazine, which continues to generate more than half of the company’s revenue. Dwell now runs events, operates an online home goods store, and even sells pre-fabricated homes (64 sold and counting, since 2005). Whether that diversification pays off for the company–or stretches it too thin–remains to be seen.
*An earlier version of this article said the price range was $1 million to $5 million. We regret the error.