About a week ago while on LinkedIn, a job posting popped up in my feed for a real estate broker by a company that was new to me called Homebay. It was a complete coincidence that Drew had them in his radar at the same time. My curiosity was piqued a bit further when I noticed that the person that posted the listing was a contact I had made a couple of years ago at the NAR convention in New Orleans. Eddie Earnest, formerly of Zurple.com, a real estate CRM platform, is Homebay’s VP of marketing.

A Moving Business Model Target

HomebayHomebay, currently operating in California, is one of the latest entrants into the world of flat fee or what some would refer to as “discount” real estate services platforms. The home page greets you with a couple of tag lines that I’ve seen used a number of times over the years: “The Smarter Way To Sell” and “Sell Your Home, Keep The Commission”

I contacted Eddie to see what they were all about and what set them apart from the myriad similar companies that have come and gone or morphed 360 degrees into traditional brokers. As Drew points out, searching for that sweet spot of disruption in real estate commissions seems to be a moving business model target. If history is any indicator, it will take a very nimble organization to succeed.

Most of the team at Homebay consists of Zurple alumni. Zurple was acquired by a Canadian company and the crew set out on their new venture. Homebay’s CEO, Tom Owen has some impressive chops both in the real estate industry as a broker with over a billion dollars in transaction experience and the success He and his team had building an impressive real estate CRM platform that stands out in a very crowded field.

As with most technology start-ups, the product that is being offered by Homebay now is decidedly different from their initial offering, albeit with some of the same proprietary technology still in place. Homebay’s original offering was a platform that allowed consumers a complete “DIY” platform to create and distribute a “for sale by owner” listing. In less than a year they realized that most clients still needed professional marketing and transaction assistance.

Homebay’s clients pay a flat fee starting at $2,000 that includes guidance throughout the selling process. Earnest was quoted as saying:

“Our software empowers sellers by giving them control over their listing throughout its lifespan – and by delivering real-time analysis of incoming quotes, flagging unusual buyer requests and providing data-driven suggestions for counter-offering.”

The listing package they provide includes:

  • 0% listing commission
  • No upfront fees (pay only when you sell)
  • Expert phone and email support from top Realtors & attorneys
  • Listing submitted to the local MLS, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com & more
  • Pre-title clearance
  • Professional photography – up to 35 photos per listing
  • Professional For Sale sign & post
  • Comparative market analysis
  • Open houses and showing requests are easily managed online
  • Offers are analyzed and interpreted instantly for you
  • We handle all paperwork and have attorneys review it
  • We guide you all the way to closing

Eddie tells me that Homebay handled over 200 transactions last year. They describe their service as:

“..a superior selling experience at a significantly reduced cost. We provide sellers with the industry’s leading listing software as well as access to a team of experts with over $1B in transaction experience. We pride ourselves on not only providing expert guidance throughout the selling process but on both responding quickly to our customers’ needs as well as anticipating those needs and addressing them proactively.”

Coming up soon, I will speak with Robert Young, EVP of SREMatrix.com about their business model and their approach to the moving target of commission disruption.