• SoloPro has changed its name to "GoldenKey" and has more than doubled the pries of the brokerage services it advertises on its website.
  • The company lets consumers hire agents on a pay-as-you-go basis or buy service packages from them.

SoloPro, a marketplace that lets consumers hire agents to perform one-off or bundled services for flat fees, has rebranded to GoldenKey, with the aim of projecting an image that’s more inclusive of real estate agents.

Also in a hat tip to agents, GoldenKey (formerly “SoloPro”) has at least doubled the prices of the brokerage services it advertises on its website.

How is GoldenKey different?

GoldenKey lets buyers pay flat fees for individual services from agents at brokerages around the country, including pricing a home ($100), showing a home ($100) and making an offer ($200).

Around 1,600 agents in 47 states have signed up to receive job requests through the site, according to CEO Tommy Sowers.

GoldenKey is currently free for agents, “but not forever,” he said.

“We’ve built a model where agents continue to pursue traditional commissions, but GoldenKey unlocks additional opportunities to get paid regardless of whether the buyer buys or the seller sells,” Sowers said.

Most of the one-off services advertised on GoldenKey have doubled in price since May 2016, when the startup launched an advertising campaign broadcasting its ambition to “blow up” real estate commissions.

GoldenKey's a la carte real estate services

Pricing for GoldenKey’s (formerly “SoloPro”) a la carte real estate services on September 6

solopro a la carte

Pricing for GoldenKey’s (formerly “SoloPro”) real estate services in early May

Increasing price tags

The startup rolled out service packages around the same time; its price tags have increased by more than twofold.

GoldenKey’s “gold package,” for example, now costs $3,500, up from $1,500 in May.

Consumers who opt for GoldenKey’s gold package contract an agent to set up listing alerts, price one home, show three homes, attend one “event” — which could be a closing, walk-through or inspection — make one offer and coordinate one transaction.

“One of the reasons was we’ve had [price changes] is that consumers say it sounds too good to be true,” Sowers said. “We want to drive as much value to both agents and consumers, and what we’re looking for is really a fair system.”

GoldenKey has traded in “SoloPro” for its new name because the startup didn’t want to send the message that the marketplace is designed to help consumers buy or sell homes without agents — to transact “solo.”

The agent piece of the puzzle

Sowers says the company has always sought to empower both agents and consumers: By helping consumers only pay for the services they need and by helping agents charge for every service they provide.

GoldenKey conveys the startup’s ability to “unlock” the door to this type of service model, said Sowers.

Whenever consumer requests a one-off service or service package, GoldenKey fires out the request to a gaggle of local agents who have signed up for GoldenKey. The first to claim the request gets the job.

Buyers and sellers who connect with agents on GoldenKey pay GoldenKey for an agent’s services, not the agent or the agent’s broker directly.

In order to comply with real estate laws, GoldenKey then passes those fees on to the agent’s broker, rather than the agent.

It’s then up to broker and agent to decide how to split the fee, if at all.

Agents have closed more than 50 home sales with clients they’ve acquired through GoldenKey and performed more than 800 “services” arranged through its platform, according to Sowers.

GoldenKey’s service model and marketing strategy has raised the hackles of some agents, but Sowers said he’s only heard of a few unconfirmed reports where brokers have blocked agents who have signed up for GoldenKey from using the platform.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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