Transaction Management
Inman Rating

Beycome aims for the agent-less transaction -- does it have legs?

Transaction platform lets buyers and sellers communicate directly on home sales
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  • Software removes the listing agent from the transaction to allow sellers to save on commissions.
  • Company is currently active only in Florida, with New York to launch soon.
  • Sellers are advised to price their home based on Zillow's Zestimate.

I think it’s healthy for real estate agents to know how to defend their value against the rise of internet-powered, agent-less transactions.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Beycome is a web platform for buying and selling homes without real estate agents.

Platforms: Browser-based; mobile-optimized
Ideal for: Consumers not wanting to pay seller commissions in Florida

Top selling points

  • Nice home search interface
  • Streamlined offer forms
  • Attractive listing pages

Top concerns

  • Among other concerns, what stands out is that it recommends a seller list their home using Zillow’s Zestimate.
  • Also, the product is only currently available in Florida. New York is set to launch in May.

What you should know

I think it’s healthy for real estate agents to know how to defend their value against the rise of internet-powered, agent-less transactions.

After walking through a demonstration of Beycome, I feel strongly that this product won’t be catalyzing the revolution.

From a standalone technology perspective, Beycome’s transaction tools are very well done.

The offer form is especially intuitive. It translates a colorful, dynamic web form into a clean, PDF offer template written by a Florida real estate attorney.

Offers can be bandied back and forth between parties using the same interface, and it’s easy to track its status.

Problems with the fine print

However, after reading “Lead Bases Paint Addendum,” and the misspelling of “comission” on the homepage, I encourage consumers using Beycome to carefully read their paperwork.

Does a document title typo suggest the software is faulty from top-to-bottom? Of course not.

But it does provide reason for increased scrutiny of contract language, a task in which a good number of for sale by owners (FSBOs) aren’t typically versed.

Beycome sellers are given an attractive listing page, room for video and up to 24 images. Listings can also be shared socially, printed as brochures and linked via QR code on business cards and yard signs.

Sellers create all of their listing parameters upon sign-up, including times available for showing, open house dates and their willingness to work with a buyer’s agent and the subsequent commission amount.

Listings are buoyed by walk scores, maps of nearby amenities, school ratings, and for the most part, every other community characteristic that helps sell a home.

A seller can pay for a number of a la carte marketing add-ons, or pay $149 for all of them.

One such boost is the “Beyloved” banner on a property’s image, which will keep it at the top of all searches in its market. Craigslist ads are also automated.

Beycome offers its customers access to a state-wide directory of vendors, such as lawyers, inspectors and other pros involved in transactions to help them along the way.

The gorilla in the room

The 800-pound gorilla in this room is the Beycome pricing model.

Beycome uses Zillow’s price estimate tool, you know, the Zestimate. At risk of understating the quality of its reputation, I feel it’s safe to say the pricing tool isn’t universally beloved for its accuracy.

Plus, the recommended price can be adjusted, and there’s nary an automated prompt or bit of text to advise the seller on how to price a home. (Beycome does have a blog with all kinds of tips and advice.)

How do we think consumers are going to respond to the opportunity to adjust the price of their home?

And, how will they react when an incoming offer doesn’t share their opinion of its value?

Overall, the underlying technology in Beycome is pretty good; it’s the user experience I worry about.

The company doesn’t do enough to guide its customers through the deal. In fact, I was told it’s “hands-off” after the two parties agree on a price.

Isn’t that the most crucial period of a home sale?

More than software

The problem I see with Beycome has nothing to do with Beycome. The FSBO process that supports it is inherently and irreparably flawed. It always has been.

It’s going to take much more than software to truly disrupt one of America’s most storied lines of business.

Only some form of major, longstanding macroeconomic turmoil will drive consumers toward a true agent-less transaction. Nine years ago, we had one.

And if the Great Recession didn’t alter America’s opinion on the value of real estate agents, surely a middle-of-the-road consumer-focused sales platform isn’t prepared to shoulder that change.

Real estate agents are too valuable to be cast aside from the transaction. You can’t replace experience and negotiation talent with ones and zeros, regardless of how creatively they’re programmed.

I asked if the company knew the average percentage of list price its sellers received. The answer I heard was vague at best, evasive at worst.

I was told the numbers were part of a larger database embedded with private seller information. Odd. Wouldn’t sellers be interested in such a stat? How is that not immediately available?

I see in Beycome a transaction facilitation tool, not a game changer.

It focuses too heavily on helping people avoid commissions instead of adding any value to the real estate deal.

Overall, Beycome is a nice platform for those who want to avoid paying listing commissions, but it can’t replace the wisdom or business savvy provided by today’s evolving real estate professional, regardless of how vehemently the company’s over-the-top satirical YouTube campaign begs to differ.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

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