A real estate site that could impact the way agents do business announced recently that it has raised $.6.5 million to expand its operations.
Open Listings is a real estate site that offers homebuyers a 50 percent refund on the fees their real estate agent would have received.
According to Housingwire.com, the site recently debuted its service in Seattle. The company initially operated only in California, but said last month that it plans to add two more states beyond California and Washington this year.
Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Open Listings bills itself as an all-in-one homebuying platform that brings every aspect of the process online, from searching listings to closing, while eliminating the need to work with a traditional real estate agent throughout the entire process.
According to a press release, the company maintains that it currently has more than 400,000 active buyers using the platform in California and recently completed its first sale in Seattle.
According to the press release, Open Listings’ focus is to fundamentally improve and simplify home buying by making the process more efficient.
“Traditional agents normally spend 80 percent of their time looking for new clients, but since buyers come to Open Listings directly and browse homes on their own time, their agents can focus completely on getting offers accepted. This allows them to provide a better, more responsive experience to buyers and sellers while passing along the savings.”
Potential buyers using the site find, tour and buy homes through the platform. Real estate agents are used in the process only when it is time to make an offer on the home.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian helped guide the company through the Y Combinator accelerator. He also became a user, purchasing an Edwardian-style place with a small backyard, a rarity among San Francisco’s scant housing stock. He said agents came in as needed to close the deal.
“The software does the work of looking for new clients and getting new leads for (the agents). They have effectively these cyborgs that work and help clients like me buy homes a lot faster and easier, using a beautiful site and then passing the savings onto the customer.”
Ohanian has provided financial backing to the company.
According to Open Listings CEO Judd Schoenholtz, the idea is to give buyers who want to be able to handle the bulk of the process a way to do that and save money.
“The hole in the market we see is that there is a set of buyers who really want to control the process, and they want to drive how it works. So giving that audience knowledge, tools and support so they can buy a home.”