Technology

Houwzer, ‘0% listing commission’ real estate brokerage, raises $2M

In exchange for $495 listing fee, Houwzer asks for 'social currency' and opportunity to work with sellers as buyer's broker

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Come-ons from hybrid brokerages often seem too good to be true, but Houwzer's may take the cake. "Pay 0% commission for listing and selling your home with Houwzer," the Philadelphia-based brokerage proclaims boldly on its website. "Just pay the buyer's agent and you're good. Sound Revolutionary? Well, it is." Read the site a little further, and you'll learn that homeowners who sell with the startup must pay a $495 fee on closing. But that is still shockingly low, considering that the company appears to provide the full range of traditional brokerage services -- and is not just a glorified for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) platform. By providing a commission discount, Houwzer thinks it can convert a high number of its seller clients into buyer clients and tap them for boatloads of referrals. This business model, along with a promising track record in Philadelphia, helps explain why the startup recently raised $2 million in convertible debt. The company will presumably use the ...