Nerds and contractors have come together to create NESTER, the first-ever, easy-to-use tool to help homebuyers determine the long-range cost of homeownership. Hitting markets across the country today, NESTER is designed to make sure buyers avoid the number one regret of new homeowners: the unexpected costs of repairs and maintenance.
“Mortgage calculators are great, but they don’t tell the whole story when it comes to buying a home. NESTER gives buyers a customized, detailed report for each home in their search, so they’ll know total projected maintenance costs over a 15-year period, including when those repair projects are expected to happen, and how much to save each month to cover the costs,” said Nester Founder Brendan Kennealey. “We think buyers should be able to see that amount added to the mortgage and other monthly costs to help them determine whether they can afford the home before making an offer.”
NESTER uses a proprietary algorithm that relies on data from a variety of sources including national trade associations, major equipment manufacturers, and industry experts. The math is complicated, but the user experience is simple. A “Home Wizard” walks buyers through a step-by-step series of questions about the home, using pictures to help them identify equipment in the home which they might not be familiar with, and helpful tips in case they get stuck. NESTER even does some of the work by pulling information from the listing and, in some cases, the seller of the home will provide answers. There are sections for all the major systems in the home including roof, HVAC, and plumbing, and users can also choose to answer questions about other aspects of the home like decks, driveways, and pools. With NESTER, buyers can compare two homes side-by-side, because homes that are the same price might be very different when it comes to maintenance and repair costs. NESTER also provides negotiation tips and important questions to ask so buyers will feel confident throughout the process.
The inspiration for NESTER came during a dinner between Kennealey and a high school classmate. The friend had recently bought a home and was lamenting some major repair costs. He was a smart, sophisticated guy, but was completely taken by surprise when a major system in the home failed. That conversation stuck with Kennealey, a Harvard Business School graduate, who spent two decades running schools and had overseen numerous construction, renovation, and repair projects of all sizes.
“Commercial buildings require a high level of transparency when it comes to capital expenses, but there is very little transparency in the residential real estate market,” said Kennealey. “In schools, money was tight and we had to plan and budget for major maintenance and repairs. It struck me as crazy that we don’t do this for our own houses, especially when we are buying. Most maintenance stuff is relatively predictable and I knew we could help give home buyers peace of mind.”
NESTER offers a plan for home buyers which costs $87 for up to eight NESTER Reports. The company is completely independent and serves as an advocate for home buyers, helping them make the best financial decisions for themselves and their families. These days, when many buyers have been forced to waive inspections in order to compete, having this type of transparency can be key in making what will be, for most Americans, their single largest investment.
NESTER loves home sellers too! The product is free for sellers and includes a timeline of repairs and customized selling tips. Leading agent for Long & Foster, Cathleen Wilder said, “NESTER is a valuable resource for anyone buying or selling a house. My buyers want transparency and my sellers want to set their homes apart the moment they go on the market. NESTER is an innovative way to bring a wealth of knowledge into the process.”
NESTER is now available nationwide for home buyers and sellers, and they’re currently developing a product for homeowners. Buying a home can be stressful. NESTER takes the worry out of it so its customers can buy smart and live confident.