Why Do So Many Utah Realtors Hate Homie?
This post was most recently updated on January 11th, 2020
Update: Homie has since changed their business model since I wrote this. Some info may be outdated.
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First Hand Accounts from Utah Homeowners Who Used Homie
Since I’m not currently buying or selling a home, I wanted to talk to people I know who actually used Homie and see what their experience was. So far I know at least two people who have used Homie. First, my friend Julia used Homie to sell her home in 2016. I saw her I asked how it went. She was one of their original customers and things were still being ironed out and it wasn’t as smooth as she’d like. However, overall she said she was happy with the results and how much she saved.
When I asked what the most negative part of her experience she said it was the way that Utah realtors treated her when she posted her Homie listing on Facebook. After getting attacked in the comments by angry realtors, she decided to share the KSL Classifieds version of her listing. She shared this advice: post the images and listing you get from Homie on social media sites like Facebook. Just be sure you share the KSL Classifieds listing, NOT the Homie listing. If you share the Homie listing you may make your friends who are realtors mad.
Another friend, Harmony also sold her home with Homie. I asked for her feedback and this is what she said:
I do like it. They were quick and efficient. I think we got an awesome price.
Here’s the listing photo of her home:
What You Need to Know If You Work with a Utah Realtor
There are many people who prefer to sell their homes themselves (great tips in this article to help you evaluate your decision. Homie is a great alternative because they eliminate much of the pain points. Click here to read more about what Homie offers home sellers and buyers.
I still think it’s a great idea to try Homie but Homie is not for everyone. In fact, they are mostly going after the For Sale by Owner sellers who understandably still want help from professionals. So if you have a complicated sale, need more service and expertise, or don’t want the hassle of selling your own home, you may instead choose to hire a reputable realtor. I think most Homie customers already know this and most weren’t planning to hire an agent anyway.
Please know, I’m not against realtors. Many of my friends are realtors and they plan a vital role in the process of buying or selling a home. However, as I said, some Utah realtors HATE HOMIE. It’s to be expected when so much money is at stake there is a lot of competition. Again, I wouldn’t bring up that you’re working with Homie when speaking to a realtor. They are likely to get defensive.
Research your Real Estate Agent
If you do work with a realtor, take some time to check out who you’re dealing with before you make a decision. The problem is once you sign a contract you’re stuck with them, so you better trust them. A lot of realtors cut you a deal to both help you sell your existing home as well as buy your new one. Once they help you buy the new home some don’t work as hard to market the home you’re trying to sell (especially if it’s in a small town or more difficult).
There are dishonest realtors (and many upstanding ones). Some Utah realtors are willing to lie or do whatever they can to discredit Homie because they feel threatened by them. At the same time there are many professional realtors. We sold our last home with a realtor and were pleased with the results. It taught me that a second opinion is important – so if you sell your home ask people who are truthful to do a walkthrough of your home. Read up on how to stage and market your home.
If you live in or want to live in the Davis County area I can refer you to professional realtors you can trust. These are realtors who have sold a high volume of homes in Davis County. They have high integrity and professionalism as well as a strong knowledge of the market. Just email me grocerybike at gmail.com
Since it’s such a large financial transaction, be sure to thoroughly vet your agent. If possible, ask previous homeowners. Check out any potential real estate agents with this service by the state that checks for disciplinary actions. Google their name in quotes to see what comes up in reviews. Look at their Facebook page for the same. Ideally you want to know how things went when things went wrong or there were issues similar to your property. If your home is likely a straightforward sale then it makes more sense for you to sell by owner or with Homie.
Right now in Utah, real estate agents aren’t hurting for business. It’s a buyer’s market and homes sell within days and above asking price in the middle and lower price ranges especially. Home prices are rising and Utah is growing so there’s a strong demand for homes. We have a housing shortage, especially in the affordable housing range.
“A study released Monday by the Associated Press pulled housing data from a five-year period from real estate websites Trulia and realtor.com. The data showed a growing shortage of affordable housing available in Utah. Similar to Pass’ experience, finding a home for many homebuyers in the state has become a never-ending battle.” (quote from KSL story)
Other reasons real estate agents hate Homie (besides losing business to them) are:
- Potential buyers may use up a realtor’s time to get their expertise and then take that expertise and sell by owner. Don’t do that. It’s unethical. Instead, negotiate with a realtor that you want to work with to reduce the commission if you do the work. Ask if they list on Classifieds sites like KSL, Zillow, etc.
- Homie does poke real estate agents in their marketing by posting billboards that say, “Your Thumb Doesn’t Earn Commissions” showing someone using their phone to buy or sell a home. This reduces the valuable experience and specialized knowledge a realtor can bring to a complex real estate transactions.
- The market is being disrupted and that means some or all of what real estate agents do can be replaced by technology, thereby dropping commissions.
Myths About for Sale by Owner Homes
While Homie isn’t quite the same as a for sale by owner, it has some of the same issues that FSBO sellers face. There are many reasons for someone to sell their own home.
Here are some myths:
- For Sale By Owners (FSBO) aren’t serious about selling their home. People think since anyone can put up a yard sign and test the waters, some FSBO listed homes are not serious. Actually, most are serious. But I’ve seen a realtor who liked to list his own home at an exorbitantly high price to see if anyone bites and to try and say they have a higher priced listing. Regardless, the majority of For Sales by Owners do want to sell their homes.
- For Sale By Owners are inflexible on price. Remember, an owner is not trained in real estate and may not be good at sales and marketing. There may be some who ask unrealistically high prices or set their price really low. However, since most want to sell, they will take reasonable offers. Sometimes people try to lowball an owner or automatically cut 3% or even 6% off their asking price. I’m curious if the same thing happens with Homie because you do get a more professional for sale sign, lock box and professional phone answering/screening service. People aren’t just calling your cell phone. Still, you need to be good at negotiating to get top dollar.
- For Sale by Owners homes are hiding something. FSBOs have to follow the same laws that govern those who are represented by a real estate agent. They have to give buyers the disclosures required by law.
Owners vs. Real Estate Agents: How They Market a Home
I did some research about For Sale by Owner homes and challenges they might face. This comes from the Association of Realtors. Look at the first method. A yard sign isn’t really marketing and according to the stats, only 8% of buyers found a home from a sign. However, to me the alarming part is the last stat: 41% do not actively market their home at all!
Top FSBO methods used to market home:
- Yard sign: 33%
- Friends, relatives, or neighbors: 21%
- Online classified advertisements: 10%
- Open house: 21%
- For-sale-by-owner websites: 7%
- Social networking websites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.): 9%
- Multiple Listing Service (MLS) website: 13%
- Print newspaper advertisement: 3%
- Direct mail (flyers, postcards, etc.): 2%
- Video: 1%
- None: Did not actively market home: 41%
DIY Home Sellers: Price Your Home Right
When I read complaints from realtors and others the #1 issue I see is with pricing your home. Homie sellers have sometimes lost out because they sold their home far lower than market value. Be aware that if you get this wrong you could end up selling for far less and may as well hire an agent because you aren’t saving any money. Or, if you price too high, your home sits longer on the market than it should and you end up discounting the price. Setting the price is one of the most difficult tasks when selling your home. Homie does help but it’s not an in-depth appraisal – it may be worth hiring an appraiser or real estate agent to get a more accurate valuation.
Most difficult tasks for FSBO sellers:
These are the top 3 things that FSBOs struggled with:
- Getting the right price: 18%
- Preparing/fixing up home for sale: 13%
- Understanding and performing paperwork: 12% (Homie’s real estate attorneys help with this – you get 6 hours to use as needed and they have the paperwork you need)
Where buyers found the home they purchased:
- Internet: 51%
- Real estate agent: 34%
- Yard sign/open house sign: 8%
- Friend, relative or neighbor: 4%
- Home builder or their agent: 2%
- Directly from sellers/Knew the sellers: 1%
- Print newspaper advertisement: 1%
Yes, the #1 place buyers find homes is online. Homie has that covered for you. You should also post your listing in local garage sale groups on Facebook and on Instagram or wherever you have an active account. Just don’t list your Homie listing there or people will attack you (mostly Utah real estate agents). Instead, share the KSL listing.
In addition to listing your home on Zillow and hundreds of sites online, Homie lists your home on KSL Classifieds. Homie works directly with KSL Classifieds.
There are pros and cons to selling with an agent as well as by yourself. Bottom line: educate yourself and make the best decision for your situation.