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It’s been said that the 7 most expensive words in business are “this is how we’ve always done it.” Yet, remarkably, there are still a handful of billion-dollar industries plagued by an unwillingness to change.
Full of wasteful spending and overly complex processes, these outdated and inefficient industries have cleared the path for new models to emerge. Finally, technology and innovation are giving consumers the knowledge, options, and experience they deserve.
We saw this with the terribly inconvenient and overpriced taxi industry before Uber leveraged technology and independent contractors to transform the experience for riders.
Airbnb followed shortly thereafter empowering hosts and travelers to cut out the expensive hotel industry with a peer-to-peer platform based on community and reviews.
Meanwhile, the vast real estate industry has remained virtually untouched. For decades, the value that residential real estate brokerages have provided consumers has fallen far short of the fees they charge. Home buyers and sellers have paid a high price for a poor customer experience, simply because the industry lacked better options.
Houwzer, a modern real estate and mortgage company, is offering consumers a better alternative that saves home sellers an average of $15,000 and provides home buyers a pressure-free experience through their full service, salaried agents.
They replaced the listing commission with a flat fee, making the home sale more profitable for homeowners.
In a typical real estate transaction, the seller pays a steep 6% of their home’s selling price in commissions – 3% to their listing agent and 3% to the buyer’s agent. When you sell with Houwzer, you only pay their full service listing agents a flat $5,000 fee plus 2.5% to the buyer’s agent at closing. That’s a savings of $16,000 on a $600,000 home.
With savings that large, many sellers wonder if there’s some kind of catch, but any skepticism is short-lived. Houwzer has thousands of past clients who testify that the company doesn’t skimp on the quality of their service to cut costs.
“Houwzer was an absolute delight to work with during the sale of our home,” said Frank, who sold with them in Bryn Mawr. “Our realtor was extremely knowledgeable about the process, negotiations, and local market. Houwzer is by far the best value and best quality of real estate I’ve ever been involved with!”
Another seller in Malvern said, “You have no concern of ‘getting less’ from their listing model. The money we saved with Houwzer is still hard to fathom.”
So how can a real estate agency provide full service while cutting the standard rate in half?
For one thing, the way people buy and sell homes today is drastically different than it was even a decade ago. Over 90% of people now start their home search online and that number is only increasing. The digital shift has enabled agents to streamline the process and get more eyes on their properties in less time, significantly reducing the cost of servicing a listing.
Sellers still get a lockbox, sign, virtual tour, HD pictures and video, open houses, access to Houwzer’s listing dashboard, and have their home listed on all major platforms including the MLS, Zillow, and Realtor.com. These are all fixed costs. Rather than holding on to the steep traditional rate, Houwzer passes those savings on to the client.
They turned agents into buying and listing experts and pay them a salary to improve the customer experience.
“There’s a huge disconnect between what buyers and sellers care about and what a commission-based agent cares about,” Mike Maher, Houwzer’s CEO explains. “Trust is the most critical component of a client-agent relationship, and that starts with the paycheck.”
Unlike traditional brokerages who hire agents on commission, Houwzer hires its agents as full-time, salaried employees with benefits. They also give them support teams and technology to make their jobs easier. These changes help them to prioritize customer service and their client’s goals over commissions.
Houwzer also has the highest education requirements of any brokerage. Through their extensive training, they’ve built an elite team of highly specialized agents who master one side of the transaction – instead of being a jack-of-all-trades.
This investment in the agents pays off: sellers benefit from their agent’s expertise and negotiation training, get their home in front of more buyers, receive bigger offers, and walk away with more money from the sale. Buyers get an agent who they can trust to be transparent, fight for them, and protect them throughout the process.
“There is no good reason to go with an old school Realtor when Houwzer’s business model is so unbelievably financially advantageous and the service is top notch,” said Alice, who sold her house with Houwzer in Ardmore.
Agents are actually driving better results for clients.
Home sellers today aren’t worried about if their home will sell – their question is how much they can get for it and what they can do to make the sale more profitable.
Houwzer advocates for data-driven, competitive listing prices, which drives up interest and ensures that the maximum number of qualified buyers view homes. Their approach often results in numerous offers—giving their sellers the upper hand in negotiating price, timing, and contingencies.
“Our goal is to price it right and aggressively from the beginning, so that way you’re getting a lot of activity. It puts you in a better position because you tend to get a lot more offers—and people are willing to go over asking,” explains Director of Listing Sales, Trish Gesswein.
This approach pays off: Houwzer homes typically sell for 1-2% more than the local market average, which translates to thousands of dollars in additional profit on the sale of your home.
According to 2020 sales data from Bright MLS, Houwzer homes consistently have a higher sale-to-list ratio when compared to the average brokerage—meaning that their listings are more likely to sell at or above asking price.
Based on the data, a home listed with a traditional brokerage for $600,000 will sell, on average, for 98.6% of its asking price, or $591,600. Whereas homes listed at $600,000 with Houwzer sell for the full $600,000 on average—an additional $8,400 profit from the home sale.
Likewise, in a tough market where buyers are worried about the competition they’re facing, Houwzer’s buyer specialists are proving themselves to be invaluable to buyers.
Tim, who recently bought a house with Houwzer, said, “With the guidance and skill of our agent and the Houwzer team, we came out on top out of 18 offers – 16 of which were over asking. They’re responsive, professional, knowledgeable, and an overall pleasure to work with.”
Houwzer’s approach to buying and selling homes has given homeowners a way to retain the equity they’ve built in their home and use it to fuel their next chapter. To date, the company has saved home sellers over $25 million in commissions and has over 1,200 client reviews, averaging 4.9 out of 5 stars.
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