With an eye on capturing the millennial-heavy for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) market, San Francisco-based Haus has tapped a new CEO and expanded its website to offer a no-cost, “end-to-end” for-sale listing platform in California, the company announced Thursday.
Originally rolled out in 2016 by Uber co-founder Garrett Camp, Haus sought to make bidding on homes more transparent — collecting offers and showing them to a seller. Now, it wants a larger stake in the residential property transaction process, offering a system to help owners sell their homes for free, led by new CEO Jonathan McNulty, a former vice president at Trulia.
“We are creating a technology solution that allows people to take control of the homes selling process into their own hands and save a ton of money,” McNulty told Inman over the phone.
Haus’ web app helps users advertise their homes through different online listing options, offers expert advice on how to complete paperwork and facilitates the negotiations of offers and transactions. It will also suggest cleaning, staging and photography services to home sellers.
Haus explains that it partners with local professionals to offer great deals for sellers — and that’s how it keeps the service free. Haus monetizes by coordinating these services and other administrative solutions like competitive escrow, warranties and title rates.
It has also kept its original commitment to accountability, and McNulty sees this as a way to enable competition in this space and drive costs for consumers even lower.
“If you’re creating more transparency into the purchase process, and allowing people to understand the fees that are associated with these different areas, you essentially start to shine a spotlight on them,” he said.
“If you’re seeing the different title companies or the different escrow companies more clearly in terms of what they’re charging through this process and then they’re competing for that business, you’re going to see a national dropping of all those fees.
At the end of the day, the California firm maintains that selling customers can avoid the seller’s half of the traditional 5-6 percent agent fees as a major value proposition.
“You’re saving a tremendous amount of money on the fees, [and] you’re guided through the entire process so that you make sure that all of your bases are covered,” said McNulty.
McNulty has experience in online real estate, having worked as vice president of product, growth and design at Trulia before and during its $3.5 billion acquisition by Zillow Group. He comes to Haus from Art.com, where he worked as chief operating officer.
Haus’ focus on the customer journey doesn’t only extend to homebuyers. “We partner with agents all throughout California that can act as local experts and brokers as well,” said McNulty. Compensated hourly, he says the this offers an opportunity for agents to diversify their revenue stream.
The platform also encourages sellers to offer buyers commissions, McNulty added. “We’re doing our best to expose this property to all the people out there, and make sure that the agents who are representing buyers are incentivized to bring them to the open homes.”
They’re not looking to take over for real estate agents and McNulty told Inman “this isn’t a winner take all space,” and they’re targeting the section of the market which was already looking to sell on their own.
Even though the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that eight percent of home sales in 2017 were FSBO, “when you dig deeper you actually see that there’s another 16 percent of the overall market that using a limited service brokerage,” said McNulty.
He foresees a younger generation much more willing to embrace convenient digital channels. “They want to they want to maintain control the experience, they think that they should be involved with that they’re used to doing these things on their phone or on their computer,” said McNulty.
McNulty pointed to new trends that have only emerged in the last half a decade where larger and larger transactions have taken place online.
“People are getting used to the fact that they can do a lot here online and they don’t have to rely on the old ways of doing things,” he said.