Courtesy of Plunk

Remodeling one’s home is no easy feat — especially if the ultimate goal is to list the home for sale. Sure, there are tools to help give a rough assessment on what the home is currently worth, but there aren’t any that can answer questions about whether the kitchen counters need updating, whether solid wood is superior to engineered wood floors, or whether converting a spare bedroom into a home theater is worth it.

Plunk, a Bellevue-based real estate startup, allows homeowners to ask these “what-if” questions and figure out what projects could affect the home’s value. Through artificial intelligence (AI), image analysis, and computer vision, Plunk’s app is able to assess the home’s current value in real-time and recommend specified remodel projects that can equal a higher listing price.

This isn’t the first time Plunk founders Brian Lent and David Bluhm, who launched the app in May, have collaborated on a startup. The duo founded Medio — a mobile analytics provider — in 2004, which they later sold in 2014. The two decided to continue working together but said they wanted to explore a different industry to “attack.” Real estate, they agreed, was most in need of innovation.

“There aren’t enough analytics,” Bluhm said. “There is just too much information consumers can’t get. I mean, there’s no CARFAX for a home. All the online sites have a vested interest; they have a bias for telling you what your home is worth because they’re trying to get you to sell it. So, we didn’t think that the consumer was served as well as it should be by technology.”

Upon downloading the free iOS app, users can enter their address and upload photos of their home and receive a detailed home evaluation in a few minutes. The app then ranks recommended remodels based on various data sources to increase the home’s value.

Homeowners who then wish to proceed with a remodel are connected to a “well-matched” contractor through Plunk’s network of contractors. If users need assistance in financing a home project, Plunk also has a home renovation loan program through Portage Bank.

“For whatever reason, you’ve never been able to borrow money on a remodel that you already haven’t completed. Think about a new construction loan: You go to a bank, you have a (home) lot, and they will loan you money on a house you haven’t built yet. But they wouldn’t do that (remodel) project, which made no sense to us,” Bluhm said.

Through Plunk’s partnership with Portage Bank, homeowners can borrow up to 75 percent of the future value of the home post-remodel. Users can apply from their phones in five minutes and receive funds in as little as five days.

According to Bluhm, thousands of people have downloaded the iPhone app since its launch, and more than 1.1 million homes have been served in the Seattle area.

In the future, the pair plans to make the app accessible to Android users, which will make Plunk the go-to source for residential real estate, they say.

“If you’re buying a home, we’ll give you all the best financial maneuvers to help you buy a home. If you’re living in a home, we’ll give you all the best advice on how to make it cheaper to live there, generate income from it, and get your best amount out of it after you’re ready to sell it. And if you are working to sell your home, we’ll give you all the best options,” Bluhm said.