For those willing to forego a conventional realtor, Homie Real Estate offers no-frills, budget real estate services for home sellers and buyers in five western states. When you list or buy with Homie, your agent is available virtually, which is a lot different from the dedicated support and attention you’ll get from a full-service realtor.
Homie agents will list your property for a $3,500 flat fee, but the tradeoff is less hands-on service than you’ll get from a realtor. With Homie, you'll do most of the heavy lifting for the sale. Conventional realtors will be more involved, but they charge 2.5–3% of your home’s purchase price to list your home. That can amount to thousands more in commission than you’ll pay with Homie.
Unlike conventional realtors, Homie is determined to become a one-stop-shop for all your real estate needs. But eliminating choice and comparison shopping with things like insurance and mortgages usually means you’ll end up paying more. We’ve done all the research for you on how Homie operates and how it compares to a conventional realtor experience.
Bottom line: There are better realtor alternatives than Homie
Homie isn’t the only player in the game when it comes to saving on real estate. An agent-matching service is a more valuable buying and selling solution than a flat-fee listing service like Homie. With an agent-matching service, you can find vetted, experienced real estate agents available nationwide rather than just the five states Homie works in.
The agent-matching service we recommend is Clever Real Estate. You’ll match with experienced conventional realtors who will sell your home for only a 1% listing fee. Eligible buyers can also earn .5% cash back on home purchases, with no strings attached.
Homie vs. realtor: what’s the difference?
- Experience: Homie offers remote service, which means it’s up to you and technology to sell your home. Traditional realtors come to your home and provide personalized service.
- Seller savings: Homie’s flat $3,500 listing fee delivers built-in savings. You’ll pay more with a conventional realtor (2.5–3%). But neither option offers the most savings out there. You can enjoy lower rates with traditional agents by using a matching service like Clever Real Estate.
- Buyer savings: Homie’s buyer’s agents offer a commission rebate if you also use three of their other services. You’ll have to search for a conventional agent open to negotiating a buyer rebate.
- Services: Homie provides most real estate services that you’d expect from a traditional brokerage. However, you’ll need to handle many of them on your own, like setting up and hosting open houses. Homie’s buyer services are more closely aligned with conventional realtors, but you must write your own offers.
- Agent quality: Agent quality varies significantly within any brokerage. But you can improve your odds with an agent-matching service that vets its partner agents.
Selling a home with Homie vs. realtor
Homie vs. realtor pricing
*Based on $350,000 home sale
You can list with Homie for $3,500 regardless of the sale price of your home. That offers substantial savings over the standard listing rate of 2.5–3%.
You’d pay a conventional listing agent $8,750–$10,500 on a $350,000 home sale. That’s $5,250 to $7,00 more than you’d pay Homie. The higher your sales price, the more you save. Those savings aren’t as substantial on inexpensive homes below $150,000.
Sellers must also pay the buyer’s agent commission. The average rate for buyer agent commission (BAC) is 2.5–3%, and you shouldn’t try to save money by lowballing that figure. If buyer agents can’t make a fair commission on your home, they won’t be motivated to show it to qualified buyers, which means less home offers for you.
If you sell your home with Homie to a buyer who is also using Homie, you can avoid the 2.5–3% rate. Instead, you’ll pay a flat $5,000 buyer’s agent commission.
That may sound like a sweet deal. But you don’t want to miss out on a wider buyer pool by concentrating only on other Homie clients. You could lose out on a better offer, which would make you more money than you’d save by going with a Homie buyer.
Homie vs. realtor: seller services and support
Selling with conventional agents
With a conventional agent, you can expect a thorough walk-through, well-researched comparable valuations, and reasonable suggestions for improvements and renovations that can help you sell for more. They'll make themselves available whenever a qualified buyer shows interest.
That's because traditional agents get paid when your home sells, and the higher the price, the more they earn. This compensation model motivates them to help their sellers get the best possible price for their homes.
Selling with Homie Agents
Homie agents handle about 10 times more clients than a traditional realtor, which means less time for each client. It also makes the relationship more transactional. High volume and quick turnaround are some of the main reasons Homie can afford to offer such low flat fees to sellers.
Homie pays its agents salaries instead of commissions. They earn the same amount, whether your house sells for $375,000 or $675,000.
Homie assigns you a realtor, but you’ll also interact with their office team. You’ll receive a home value report to help set your list price. The Homie market analysis uses the recent sales prices of comparable homes in your area. But that doesn’t work for everyone. It’s only helpful for houses with standard floor plans, features, and square footage. If your home has any unique circumstances, it will be difficult to account for those with a Homie analysis.
Homie then lists your home on the MLS, their proprietary listing app, Instagram, Facebook, and other listing sites. You’ll get a yard sign and a lockbox for advertising and showings. Services also include professional photography, virtual 3D tours, 2D floor plans, and drone footage.
Buying with a home with Homie vs. realtor
Savings with Homie vs. realtor
As a buyer, you don't pay your agent out of pocket. Instead, their commission is deducted from the sales proceeds. But some agents are willing to share part of their commission with their customers through buyer rebates.
Homie has a buyer rebate program, but you must sign up for other services to earn it. It offers a 50/50 commission split to buyers who meet these conditions:
- Finance the new home with Homie Loans
- Use Homie Title for your closing settlement
- Get a home insurance quote from Homie Insurance
Some conventional buyer’s agents are now sharing their commissions with home buyers to remain competitive. But you still have to shop around and then negotiate a decent rate.
Note: Rebates and cash back are only allowed in 42 out of 50 U.S. states right now. Find out if you're eligible for a home buyer rebate.
If you’re buying a home, review all your options. Compare rates and savings from different sources to snag the best deal. Getting back $4,000 or $5,000 isn’t a good trade if you’re paying tens of thousands more over the life of your mortgage because you didn’t get the lowest interest rate.
Services and support from Homie vs. realtor
When you buy with Homie, you receive most of the same services you'd get from a conventional agent. However, your Homie agent's support level may not be as great as an agent with a standard workload because Homie realtors handle so many clients simultaneously.
Buying with conventional agents
Traditional agents identify and show you homes for sale that meet your conditions. Then, they draw up an offer when you find a house you want and negotiate with the selling agent as necessary. Finally, they assist you through closing after you secure a successful bid.
Buying with Homie agents
When you find the right home, you're responsible for starting the offer process with Homie's online tool. Of course, you can reach out to your agent if you have problems, and they'll review it when you're done. But that causes delays, and drafting a winning offer with no experience is challenging.
Unfortunately, it can also lead to missing out on the perfect home, especially in a seller's market. When there's fierce competition, you need an agent who stays on top of listings, notifies you, and submits professional offers immediately. That urgency is best delivered by a dedicated agent incentivized to make the sale. Conventional agents who work for commissions match that profile better than Homie's salaried realtors.
If you’re buying a home in Homie’s service area, you can apply for Homie Cash to enhance your offer. This finance program loans qualified buyers temporary funds to back an all-cash offer when they find the home they want. Most sellers prefer cash offers over mortgage contingencies. So, offering cash can sweeten the deal and help you beat the competition.
However, it may be an expensive strategy because you'll still need to secure a mortgage to pay for the home. So, you'll be closing out two loans and paying fees on both.
Homie vs. realtor availability
Homie is available in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. It’s planning to expand to other regions. Conventional realtors are available nationwide.
The problem with conventional realtors is narrowing your options and finding the right needle in that colossal haystack. We always recommend starting your agent search with Clever. Clever Real Estate can help by matching you with vetted agents for free with no obligation. Simply check out their bios and reviews to narrow your choices, then interview your top selections.
Summary: Homie vs. Realtor
What makes Homie different than a traditional realtor
- How agents get paid: Conventional agents work for commissions (2.5–3%). Homie agents earn salaries and charge sellers a flat $3,500 listing fee.
- Availability: Conventional agents are available in all markets nationwide. Homie only serves Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and Arizona.
- Workload: Homie agent workload is ten times the standard agent’s load. High volume, transactional relationships means less support from Homie.
- Support: Homie’s selling agents offer remote support. Traditional agents typically offer tailored support, personal attention, and hands-on assistance.
- Rebates: Homie buyer’s agents split commissions 50/50 with buyers who use Homie’s financing, title company, and insurance comparison tool. Buyers who turn to conventional realtors must search for agents who will pay a rebate and then negotiate the cash back amount.
- Homie Cash: Homie makes temporary loans to qualified buyers for all-cash offers.
- Value: Sellers confident with a DIY approach like Homie’s can save more money with a flat-fee MLS service.