New D.C.-area real estate firm offers a twist to sellers: They’ll get a commission rather than pay one.

Posted on Apr 12, 2018

Originally seen on:


By: Michele Lerner

A new real estate brokerage with plans to disrupt the Washington housing market started out with a big surprise: From now through May 31st, 2018, sellers who list their house with the brokerage will be paid $1,000 rather than pay a commission to sell their property.

After the initial launch, sellers will pay a flat fee of $5,000. In all cases, the sellers pay a reduced buyer’s agent commission of 2.5 percent.

Houwzer, a real estate brokerage launched in the Philadelphia market in 2015, chose the Washington region for its second market because of the strength of the local market as well as connections here by founder and CEO Mike Maher.

“We analyzed the top real estate markets around the country based on about 20 factors before choosing D.C.,” says Maher. “It’s great to be a train ride away from here so our executive team can manage both locations. Plus, I graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and my wife went to George Washington University, so we know the area well.”

Houwzer has 38 agents in the Philadelphia area and has recruited eight agents so far in D.C. The company is licensed to operate in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The company’s agents offer full services to both buyers and sellers.

“We pay our agents a salary rather than a commission to make it easier for them financially,” says Maher. “We’ve recruited some agents with a decade of experience as listing agents and buyer’s agents, plus we’re recruiting newer agents that we can train. Our approach is that our agents should be counselors for their customers, not an extension of the search engine.”

Maher says the professional service and low fee structure for sellers helps them get referrals for buyer clients. He says many of the sellers they work with also hire them as buyer’s agents for their purchase transaction.

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