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For sale by owner: This startup could eliminate the need for real estate agents

Erika Rawes
startup eliminate need for real estate agents home sale sold sign

Are you ready to sign your life away? Even though many people associate homeownership with success, the actual process of buying a house can be brutal. And selling a house can be even more of an ordeal than buying. You have to deal with all of the stress, paperwork, low-ball offers, more stress, disclosures, and, to top it all off, a 6 percent fee for your agent. A startup company named Houzeo is aiming to automate this process and make it digital wherever possible, therefore making it easier and cheaper for people to sell their own homes.

The 6 percent agent fee can add up to almost $15,000 for a home at the median list price of $245,000, according to data from Zillow. Because of this cost, roughly one in four sellers are choosing to go the “for sale by owner” route. Houzeo is targeting this market — people who want to sell their homes without paying an arm and a leg in commission fees.

While some of its services are available free of charge, the startup charges $399, plus an additional “success fee” of $599. These fees do not include costs for things like photographers, attorneys, escrow companies, and title companies, as they may bill for their charges separately.

Houzeo breaks the home-selling process into six steps:

  1. Listing and marketing your home.
  2. Pricing your home.
  3. Disclosures.
  4. Evaluating offers you receive.
  5. Escrow.
  6. Closing.

Automating as many steps as possible, and having the seller complete other steps digitally, makes the process easier and more cost effective. Also, by having a platform where the seller follows along with each step, and constantly sees where they are in the process, it eliminates the need for an agent or broker to walk the seller through the process. Houzeo is currently is its beta phase.