Real estate startup AgentPair has joined a vanguard of companies that allow buyer’s agents across the U.S. to compete for clients based on rebates they offer on their commissions.
Given that sites like Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com have made the home search process better, faster and more efficient for consumers, AgentPair is out to give agents the opportunity to bid to offer commission rebates to reward homebuyers’ tech-aided legwork, AgentPair CEO Clark Giguiere told Inman News.
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DoorFly.com and RealtyBaron have flown similar models for years. AgentPair, seller-focused LessThan6Percent and its buyer-focused sister site, UpNest, are newbies in the space and represent updated versions of the model.
AgentPair is much more than just a bidding platform, however. It includes an amalgam of features that other recent real estate startups have highlighted including a Lasso-like agent-homebuyer collaboration platform and a mobile app to help consumers find agents nearby similar to Curb Call and others.
AgentPair also features a social media-style feed that allows agents and buyers to see what the other is doing on the platform and what is happening in specific cities they choose to follow.
Still, it’s the auction-like ingredient that makes AgentPair stand out, Giguiere said.
The AgentPair platform gives agents at traditional brokerages a tool to compete with tech-savvy firms such as Redfin, which offer commission discounts to clients thanks to their technology-assisted, streamlined real estate process, Giguiere said.
The platform also gives consumers a way to secure a rebate on a buyer’s agent commission, which traditionally measures between 2 and 3 percent of a home’s sale price.
Seller’s agents traditionally receive between 5 and 6 percent of a home’s sale price as compensation for the work they do to usher a deal to completion. Typically, a seller’s agent splits that commission with an agent who brings a buyer to sale.
In 2013, for example, firms in Realogy’s franchise network, which includes the Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Century 21 Real Estate, and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brands, averaged a 2.54 percent commission rate per side, according to Realogy’s full-year 2013 financial statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
To join the AgentPair network, agents apply, select up to five target ZIP codes and pay a $50 fee each time they secure a home tour through the platform.
In California and Florida, AgentPair is a brokerage licensed under the name AP Realty Services Inc. But the company has no agents and doesn’t plan to have any, Giguiere said. The license allows the firm to possibly capture commission-tied referral fees if it chooses to do so in the future, he said.
UpNest, the buyer-focused, agent-bidding site launched by LessThan6Percent in May, is a brokerage and charges a 15 percent referral fee on deals agents close with clients won through the platform.
Bidding for buyers
Homebuyers can pull in listings from Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com — the three most popular real estate sites on the Web – to the AgentPair platform by entering the listing’s Web address using the “Add Home” button on the site. They can also add the tool to their browser, which allows them to pull in listings from the three sites with the press of a “bookmarklet” button.
The listings populate a “Homes and Bids” section of a buyer’s AgentPair profile. From there, buyers can request bids from agents, either by location — ZIP code, city or county — or from any agent on the site.
Consumers can request bids for specific homes they have pinned to their AgentPair profile from Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com.
Homebuyers can receive bids from an unlimited number of agents on AgentPair. As soon as an agent responds with a rebate bid, a notice with their bid amount, a link to their AgentPair profile and a message button show up under the listing in the consumers’ “Homes and Bids” page.
Agents’ AgentPair profile pages also have a matchmaker function. If consumers have tied their AgentPair account to Facebook, they see how they’re connected to the agent, based on shared Facebook friends and interests.
In the future, Giguiere envisions fleshing out the AgentPair agent profile pages to include even more information, including Yelp reviews.
Agents can’t see how many bids a consumer gets on a certain home, Giguiere said, but they have access to an AgentPair calculator that helps them quickly determine what might be a reasonable rebate on any given home.
Until a bid is accepted, an agent can retract it. After a consumer accepts a bid, agents must certify that they commit to it and then the two set up a time to tour the property.
The bid request stays open until a consumer selects an agent for a home tour. Once a tour has been completed, the agent pays AgentPair $50.