A real estate brokerage that states it’s “on a mission to empower homebuyers” has begun operations in Seattle, according to a press release sent to Inman.
Prevu, billing itself a digital homebuying platform, promises to offer buyers more control over the deal with vertically integrated services and in-house technology.
The company carries it out through robust online home search functionality, tour schedule, offer submission and management, agent collaboration, and a SmartBuyer commission rebate, equal to 2 percent of the home purchase price, or up to $30,000.
The company also markets a SmartSeller solution, stemming from its flat 1.5 percent commission fee.
A pair of entrepreneurs started the company in 2017, Thomas Kutzman and Chase Marsh, who had challenging experiences buying homes “offline.”
The SmartBuyer rebate has, on average, saved clients $23,000 per transaction, according to the press release.
The company believes its rebate program will be attractive to homebuyers in particularly hot markets, such as Seattle, where home prices have increased 68.4 percent since 2016.
Prevu reminds customers that they can leverage rebate savings to cover closing and relocation costs or even handle initial improvements to their homes.
“Consumers have grown accustomed to having full control over almost every decision they make, so why should they be forced to give that up when it comes to purchasing a home,” said Thomas Kutzman, co-founder and co-CEO of Prevu.
“We offer a seamless experience from start to finish and empower homebuyers by giving them greater control each step of the buying journey.”
Prevu’s Seattle office will be led by Cyndy Stewart, who has experience in proptech and real estate sales and office management.
Buyer rebates are becoming a more common marketing appeal in some corners of real estate, but they are traditionally unpopular with agents.
“From a consumer’s perspective, agents can do better by demonstrating the value they add to a transaction. You work your tail off for your clients. You earn your money,” Inman contributor and former Zillow executive Jay Thompson wrote in a September 2021 op-ed.
“Demonstrating your ‘value proposition’ has long been the topic of many an article, training class and coaching session.”
REX, a highly technology-forward discount brokerage similar to Prevu, offers buyers a 50 percent rebate on the commission offered to the buyer broker from the listing broker.
While still small compared to the industry leaders it regularly challenges, the company filed a lawsuit in Oregon against the state’s ban on paying buyer rebates and its “predatory real estate broker behavior.”
REX is now appealing the case after it was tossed by the state in December of last year.