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Meet the RE Tech Founder: Tim Morton-Smith from Home Savi

In our latest real estate tech entrepreneur interview, we’re speaking with the co-founder of Home Savi, Tim Morton-Smith.

Without further ado…

What do you do?

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Home Savi, a real estate tech startup that gives homebuyers the online tools to represent themselves in the purchase of a home and save the commission that would have otherwise gone to their buyer’s agent.

What problem does your product/service solve?

Over 50% of homebuyers now find the home they end up purchasing online before contacting an agent. Buyers can search for homes, talk to lenders and go to open houses all by themselves, but when it comes time to make an offer on a home, they’re stuck with one choice: use an agent.

Through talking to homebuyers, we found that they were frustrated that they couldn’t complete the entire buying process on their own. Specifically, they didn’t have access to the documents necessary to make offers. In our survey of over 500 homebuyers, 26% of them said that they would buy a home without an agent if they had the tools to do so.

We decided to help and even take it one step further. Our platform makes offering on a home as straightforward as possible. Customers have described the experience as being similar to that of other online services such as LegalZoom and TurboTax. The Offer Platform makes real estate easy as pie by explaining terms, organizing steps and offering hands-on support at every stage.

What are you most excited about right now?

We publically launched just under three months ago, so now we’re trying to spread the word. And despite the visceral reaction that we’re trying to take agents’ jobs, we’re out to accomplish quite the opposite. Our mission is to “Empower the American Dream.” We want to be a valuable resource to homebuyers everywhere and also an easy way for people like you and me to make owning a home that much more affordable and attainable. So, I’m excited to yell that from the mountain tops.

What’s next for you?

I hope big things. We’re working on some strategic partnerships that would help us reach a much larger audience than we currently can. We’ve solidified and are still seeking partnerships with service providers like mortgage, inspection, escrow, title and insurance companies. We take it one deal at a time though, and take tremendous pride in being able to help our customers through their home buying journeys. Each and every one of them is very important to us.

What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?

I’ve been on the board of Jodi House, a local Santa Barbara non-profit, for seven years. It helps brain injury survivors reclaim their lives, and helps families and caregivers find solutions, resources and support. I first got introduced to Jodi House when my Dad had a fall on a tennis court that caused bleeding from his brain in two different locations. It also caused early onset dementia, a battle that ended up getting the better of him. It is a great way to help support a local cause and also a cause that strikes close to home.

Thanks to Tim for sharing his story. If you’d like to connect, find him on LinkedIn here.

Meet The RE Tech EntrepreneurWe’re constantly looking for great real estate tech entrepreneurs to feature. If that’s you, please read this post — then drop me a line (drew @ geekestatelabs dot com).

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • I think this makes a lot of sense.

    We have a lot of sellers on our Assisted Selling $2,500 program who prefer to work with an unrepresented buyer to save on the commission. Many times they will offer the buyer an additional credit on the home too so everyone wins.

    I think at least with a seller’s agent involved the paperwork gets completed and liability issues are handled.

    • How many of your deals fall into this camp?

      • I estimate about 6%.

        We do not advertise this service so they have to be using our website and find it there.

  • Andrew Weinberger

    I don’t see how this can work with their model. Why would a buyer pay $650 when they can use an agent for free? If they want to make it work they need to get sellers to buy-in and cover the costs. That’s going to be insanely difficult though.
    Going after buyers to pay is just plain wrong. There are already a lot of other startups and brokerages out there that offer buyers a kickback/rebate (as much as 1% of the sale price) so even though buyers could find value in something like this it’s really poor value compared to other options.

    • Andrew,

      Your buyer’s agent is not free.

      In California, the buyer’s agent is paid through a co-brokerage fee with the listing agent, who’s paid by the seller. But, the seller pays their listing agent with the proceeds from the sale, which they get from you—the buyer. As a buyer, you’re the one bringing money to the table; you’re the one paying for your agent! The source of the cost is blurred because it’s built into the price you pay for the home.

      • Andrew Weinberger

        Your logic is extremely flawed and that infographic is pretty misleading. There’s no magical 3% discount you get if you don’t use a buyers agent. If I were a seller or listing agent and somebody put in a direct offer through Home Savi I would instantly realize that they’re incompetant and can guarantee you that I’d play hardball and they’d end up paying more than if they had an agent.
        Before your post I honestly assumed you were just using the “save 2.5%” as the bait to get people to use/invest in your platform, but if you actually believe it you’ll be going under a lot sooner than I initially expected.

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