There are already a few startups that promise to be the Uber for real estate. Now there’s another one: Nexme, an iOS app that connects buyers and sellers to agents on demand.
Launched in April in the Seattle market, Nexme lets buyers request an agent the moment they want to see a property. Whichever agent accepts the request first — and is within a five-mile radius to get there quickly — shows the house.
If the potential buyers like the agent, they can stick with them. Otherwise, they can just request another agent who’s available the next time they want to see a property, like they would request a new Uber driver the next time they need a ride. Buyers commit to an agent at the moment they make an offer.
“We give homebuyers and sellers instant access to a property and licensed real estate agents with the click of a button,” co-founder Arian Abdulkader told Inman.
Unlike some similar platforms, like the app Real, Nexme isn’t a brokerage. Its agents are still affiliated with other companies including Keller Williams, John L. Scott Real Estate and Windermere Real Estate. Nexme is only the middleman, taking advantage of location data, the on-demand economy and millennial frustration with the traditional agent model to offer a new platform.
Other companies have also tried the agent-on-demand model. A multiple listing service in Colorado introduced an agent-on-demand feature, as have Offerpad, Redfin and the app Curb Call.
Agents who sign up for Nexme agree to take a 1 percent commission with a 70 percent commission refund to consumers. Because agents stay with their main brokerage, any commissions coming in through Nexme are just an extra line of business.
Clients coming to agents through Nexme are theoretically ready to buy because they’ve already pinpointed a property they want to see right away.
Agents still do the normal work of closing a transaction, but when signed up for Nexme would spend less time securing a client and looking at properties.
“Why would I commit to one person for next 90 days to six months when I can request an agent, and they can do the same thing for me?” co-founder Vanessa Alvarez said of Nexme’s appeal to consumers.
Stepan Abramov, the agent who worked on Nexme’s one closed transaction so far, said that his experience has been productive.
“So far my experience has been great,” he said. “Nobody wastes my time. People just wanted to see a few houses.”
Nexme is interested in partnering with other real estate tech companies trying to streamline transactions, especially companies like Jet Closing working on the closing process. Nexme is also interested in partnering with lenders to get more Nexme users pre-approved.
Over the past two months, Nexme has signed about 100 agents up for the platform and facilitated one transaction that closed with five transactions pending, the founders said. The app is available for use through Washington state and has at least one agent registered in every county, its founders said.
The startup has gone for a soft launch, adding new agents and users through word of mouth and bootstrapping its funding so far, although the founders say they are in talks with potential investors.
Abdulkader comes from the mortgage business and Alvarez is a Silicon Valley alumna who came to Seattle to work for Amazon Web Services.
In the first quarter of 2019, the company plans to expand to California and Arizona, followed by Texas in the second half of that year. Nexme is looking for “hot markets” where there’s competition among agents and lots of homebuying and selling activity. The startup is also interested in markets that have a lot of new construction.
Uber for real estate isn’t a new concept, but Nexme is trying its own approach.