Industry flamethrower REX Real Estate may be closing shop. The discount brokerage appears to be shutting down its operations, according to reports from former staffers and a cryptic official statement from the company Wednesday.
According to The American Genius, which first reported the impending shutdown, REX experienced two rounds of layoffs last year and staffers reported that “a companywide call on Friday outlined the end of REX Homes.” REX’s offices in Austin and The Woodlands in Texas shuttered on Tuesday, the site said.
Several former REX staffers announced on LinkedIn that they had been laid off as a result of their department or the company itself closing down.
“After 4 years as a remote Account Manager at REX real estate, a great start up experience, unfortunately they made the hard decision to close shop… so I’m looking for another remote opportunity if anyone needs me! I have skills, just a hard, no nonsense dedicated worker,” read one post from three days ago.
In an emailed statement to Inman, REX General Counsel Michael Toth did not directly confirm the company’s demise, but blamed the National Association of Realtors and Zillow for the death of REX’s business model and said REX’s lawsuit against them both would continue.
Founded in 2015, REX began as a self-described disrupter that employed salaried agents, charged homesellers a 2-percent listing fee, had a policy of never paying outside buyer’s brokers and eschewed MLSs, at least initially.
“REX was on path to disrupt the industry for consumers,” Toth said.
“Unfortunately, as alleged in REX’s federal lawsuit, when Zillow and NAR colluded to protect their profits, REX’s innovative business model was sacrificed. The industry could not tolerate consumer choice. As a result, we’ve had to make a lot of painful decisions.”
According to The American Genius, REX, which had operated in 19 states, shut down their New York and Chicago offices in October, at the same time they announced internally that they would be joining MLSs.
“They called it a restructure,” the site said. “The joining of any MLS shocked many as the premise of their structure was always that their magical proprietary tech as well as their bypassing of the MLSs [could] save consumers thousands of dollars.”
REX sued NAR and Zillow in March 2021, alleging antitrust violations for an NAR rule that prompted Zillow to separate non-MLS listings from MLS listings on its website, including listings from REX. NAR countersued, alleging in part that REX had misrepresented its business model, but the court tossed that suit last month.
“Our case against Zillow and NAR gets to the root causes of why consumers are being overcharged when they buy and sell homes. And we will continue to pursue our claims in federal court to prevail on the merits and collect the damages we’re owed,” Toth said.
He did not respond to further requests for comment.
“After 2.5 years of hard work and growth at REX as an Inside Sales Specialist, they have unfortunately dissolved the Customer Service department, myself included,” read another LinkedIn post from Tuesday.
Still another read, “After 3 years at REX and almost 2 years in the Insurance Department, they finally had to say goodbye to the department.”
At this point it is unclear why the company appears to be winding down. As recently as March, insured technology financing company PIUS announced that REX had secured $10 million in funding.
“The private placement bond was underwritten by PIUS and based on its evaluation of REX Homes’ intellectual property (IP),” the press release said. “The deal also includes an accordion feature, providing REX the option to increase the amount to $45 million.”