Former US-based investment banker and serial entrepreneur Eric Eckhardt has launched a full service online real estate brokerage allowing homeowners to avoid unnecessary real estate commission expenses.
A licensed real estate brokerage firm, DwellOwner has local real estate agents providing a service from listing to closing, without the need to pay a sell side, all for a flat fee.
The company offers three packages at $475, $775 and $1,575, each with higher levels of service. The business model is in response to the influence of the internet.
Sellers can make use of a hybrid approach whereby they can choose how much they do for themselves online.
Their homes can still appear on the local Multi Listing Service (MLS) and be syndicated to hundreds of real estate marketplaces like Zillow and Realtor.com, to provide maximum visibility.
Meanwhile, they can benefit from a tiered level of services from the local agent available throughout the process, from preparing a home valuation, facilitating contract negotiations and more.
Eric Eckhardt says his point of difference from other such sites is the end to end agent service the platform provides.
Since only licensed real estate agents have access to the MLS, DwellOwner has licenses pending in several states including Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts and Eckhardt plans to expand from the company’s New York base very soon.
Over the next month Eckhardt says the company will target a number of Metra markets across the US.
He tells Times Union DwellOwner will make money through volume and income from commissions by offering buyers a premium the company will share.
The site promises all buyers "a straight" 20 per cent of the commission earned with no minimum requirements.
According to the report, eligible homebuyers whose loans allow for it, will also get a 20 per cent rebate at the closing table on the buyer's side commission.
Eckardt says every year, more than $60 billion in real estate commission is paid out in the US, reducing equity as sellers are forced to pay between 5 per cent and 7 per cent commission rates.
Traditionally, the seller subtracts a 6 per cent commission from the proceeds of a real estate transaction which is then split between the agents with 3 per cent going to the buyers representative and 3 per cent to the sellers.
"These days nearly 100 per cent of homebuyers search online to find a property, but in spite of this the fee structure for real estate commissions hasn’t changed in decades," he claims.
“DwellOwner is a progressive online consumer driven real estate platform designed to empower home sellers while saving them thousands in inflated commission fees.
"We are providing an alternative to traditional real estate offerings that includes unmatched full-service advisory throughout the process.”
He adds the the real estate industry is one of the few places where technology hasn’t necessarily led to consumer savings.
"There are approximately 2 million licensed real estate agents in the US that typically will not compete on price with commission rates exceeding 5 per cent. With DwellOwner, consumers can sell their home for as little as $475."
According to Homeunion.com, Eckardt's future plans for DwellOwner include a mobile app and a virtual real estate adviser to provide 24/7 guidance to home sellers.
The launch of DwellOwner happened in parallel with the founder's book, The Digital Home Seller & Online Real Estate Trends currently available on Amazon.