Southern Chester County: Unique real estate model offers Chesco homeowners $1,000 to list their homes

Posted on Nov 01, 2017


For twelve Chester County zip codes, selling a home with Houwzer just got (even more) profitable. 

Find out why in Southern Chester County


Unique real estate model offers Chesco homeowners $1,000 to list their homes

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By: Fran Maye

October 31, 2017

WEST CHESTER >> Because of recent growth in the Chester County housing market, a Philadelphia brokerage firm has expanded into Chester County, and is paying qualified homeowners $1,000 cash just to list their home.

The housing market in Chester County now is really good, and we see great opportunity,” said Jason Matthews of Houwzer Inc., a full-serving residential real estate agency pioneering a unique commission-free listing model. “The truth is, it no longer costs 6 percent of a home’s value to sell it. That’s why Houwzer normally only charges a [$995] listing fee and 3 percent for the buyer’s agent to sell a home, saving clients an average of $11,000.”

Houwzer stands alone in the marketplace by eliminating the 3 percent seller commission fee and replacing it with a [$995] flat fee to cover the costs of marketing the listing, which the seller pays only upon a sale. Rather than working on commission, Houwzer’s agents are salaried, full-time employees. Agents sometimes get bonuses based on performance, not the size of the sale.

The typical way of selling houses takes 6 percent of a home’s sale price to pay agent commissions – 3 percent for each the buying and selling agent, but this is often negotiable. At Houwzer, 3 percent still goes to the buying agent but there is no commission on the sell side. Instead, you are charged a flat rate of [$995] when your house closes.

Matthews said Chester County has the highest median home price in the greater Philadelphia area at $335,000, up 4.7 percent in the past year. It’s also tied with Philadelphia County for shortest average number of days on the market (43) despite the median price being 70 percent higher in Chester County.

Houwzer just moved into Walnut Street Labs in West Chester. The unique $1,000 promotion ends at the end of the year. Its Chester County service area includes primary residences in the following zip codes: 19301, 19312, 19333, 19335, 19341, 19343, 19355, 19372, 19380, 19382, 19425 and 19460. The lowest value home to qualify for the $1,000 listing is $200,000.

Matthews said the company is determined to prove that it doesn’t cost 6 percent of a home’s value to sell it. In fact, he said, the return on investment Houwzer gets when sellers become buyers makes listings incredibly valuable to them.

“As far as we know, this is the first time agents have ever paid customers to list a home instead of the other way around and they’re doing it in Chester County,” he said.

Houwzer is a real estate brokerage, not a technology company, but all operations are digitally driven. Because more than 90 percent of home buyers use online search as part of the process, Houwzer uses technology for efficiency.

Houwzer hires professional photographers to take photos and videos, and stages homes. It features listings in Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and others. The firm assists in negotiations and provides guidance through the settlement process.

Still, 90 percent of the real estate market still uses a commission-based model, and the average agent does 12 deals per year. Matthews said Houwzer agents average 18 deals per year.

Houwzer (houwzer.com/chester) launched in 2015, posted $670,000 in revenue in 2016, is on its way to north of $1.5 million this year, and recently raised over $2 million in venture capital funding to seed further growth. The company has 50 full-time employees, with offices in Philly, Haddonfield, Conshohocken, and as of this month, West Chester.


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