Rapidly growing flat-fee brokerage Reali is completing its years-in-the-making march across California this week as it expands into the massive Los Angeles market.
By pushing into Los Angeles, Reali now operates across the entire Golden State. In addition to LA proper, the company is now operating for the first time in LA-adjacent Orange and Santa Barbara counties as well.
Reali launched in 2016 with five agents in Palo Alto, then set out on a path of rapid expansion to San Francisco, Sacramento, and finally, San Diego in August. Today, it employs 20 licensed property experts, five of whom focus on Southern California, and a total of 60 people.
Reali also has plans to expand into other states in the coming months, founder and CEO Amit Haller told Inman.
The company represents both buyers and sellers and uses its app to facilitate communication between the two parties. It collects a $950-fee from buyers and sellers for houses up to $250,000. Fees rise to $4,950 for homes up to $750,000 and to $9,950 for homes priced at $750,000 and up.
The company also refunds the rest of the traditional 2 percent to 3 percent buyer’s agent commission to the buyers themselves — meaning new homeowners walk away with a cash bonus.
Haller said that the company moved into California’s largest market last because it wanted to make sure it had a “very solid infrastructure of experts on the ground in LA.”
“We wanted to make sure all the local knowledge is in place before launching,” Haller added.
Reali sees itself as a tech company, and in September, it released an artificial intelligence tool that predicts the selling price of a home. The tool is designed to help homebuyers know the likelihood of placing a winning bid on a property and Haller said about 50 percent of Reali’s clients are using its AI tools.
In addition to announcing its entry into the LA region, Reali on Tuesday also touted its recent growth. In a statement, the company said that during the past eight months it has tripled its number of listings and doubled sales volume. It also said that it has doubled the number of app downloads over that same period, with Haller adding that the company is now seeing about 5,000 app downloads per month.
Reali currently has between 10 and 15 active listings, Haller also said.
But the company’s growth has not come without controversy. Most notably, an agent at rival company Compass left a threatening voicemail for a Reali broker in August. The Compass agent warned that if Reali tried to poach clients “they will be harmed” and said “we’re coming after you next, little f*****.”
Haller stressed that there are many good agents out there, but what people sometimes miss about his company is that it prioritizes the consumer experience.
“It’s not about us making money, it’s about our consumers getting the best value for their money,” he said. “That should be our entire focus. Then we should figure out how we build a wealthy business.”
Update: This story was updated after publication to include new information from Reali about its employee numbers.