Why Do So Many Utah Realtors Hate Homie?

Update: Homie has since changed their business model since I wrote this. Some info may be outdated.

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My friend makes $150 a month renting out a room in her basement. You can do short or long term commitments – you set the rules.

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:

image taken by Homie.com
Photo on Homie.com

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. 

If you don’t live in Utah, and are looking to buy or sell a condo in Ocean City Maryland, (or even just want to find a vacation home there), check out my friend’s website with a lot of local resources there.

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. I believe you can pay extra to get on the MLS.

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.

16 thoughts on “Why Do So Many Utah Realtors Hate 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.”

    Correction: We are in a seller’s market. Homes sell within days because there are so many buyers in proportion to the amount of homes for sale. A housing shortage (low inventory) indicates a seller’s market, not a buyer’s market. High inventory (home surplus) indicates a buyer’s market. Simple supply and demand.

    Also, great Realtors aren’t hurting for business in either a seller’s market or a buyer’s market. Only bad agents hurt for business after a market shift. People need to buy and sell homes regardless of market conditions. The truth is, most agents (and people for that matter) have poor discipline and sales skills, and it is much easier to pick up a buyer client since they don’t have to pay any commissions to their agents. So when it’s a buyer’s market, agents have an easier time finding clients and do a fair amount of transactions. When we transition into a seller’s market, however, all the bad agents phase out (the ones who never sharpened their sales and negotiation skills, never prospected, rarely got listings, etc) because they don’t bring enough value, expertise, drive, or sales skills to the people who pay their commission (sellers).

    Not a bad article, though. I personally know of at least half a dozen people who went the FSBO route and ended up hiring a Realtor because they couldn’t get their home sold (due to awful marketing, bad pricing strategy, bad photos, being unfamiliar with processes, poor negotiation, etc) and at least a half a dozen more who had similar experiences with Homie and ended up hiring a Realtor as well. Homie/FSBO route is fine for some people, I know of a few who have gone that route and have done just fine. But just like everything else in life, you almost always get what you pay for.

  • This article is interesting. I sense a tone of bias, or at least an ad hominem argument, but as of late Utahs read estate market has been all the buzz so it makes sense that people have stark opinions on the matter. With that said, I do see both sides of the coin in regards to obtaining representation through the home buying or selling process. My understanding is that Agents who represent buyers actually love that side because “sellers pay commissions” so why would you not use an agent? Either way, its interesting to see this opinion regarding these flat rate “brokerages”. I thought this was had some valuable perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  • You’re welcome. It is a hot market but it’s more about using technology to do most of the work. Real estate agents who are smart will do the same. The days of 6% commission may be over or less common but you attract a younger buyer who comes to you ready to buy, possibly with the house picked out. The value is in negotiation, contracts, pricing and objective 3rd party review. There will always be for sale by owners and I feel Homie is a step up from that. However, they changed their business model from when this was written and I’m not as familiar with it since then.

    I think it’s the same reasoning why people buy mattresses online or shop for a car online and then only go to a dealership or store when they’ve narrowed it down to a few choices. They want to direct the transaction. My experience with agents is they show me a lot of stuff I’m not interested in. Instead I do the research and let them show me the homes I want to see. Only they have a vested interest in only showing me homes they’ll make a commission on…

  • I asked a few realtors I know about homie. One said it was annoying because it was like working with an agent who didn’t know what they were doing. Another didn’t like them because they tried to steal her clients that she brought to see the house. It is cheaper using something like that but I suspect many agents would steer buyers away from a homie sold house.

  • I could see that being a problem! I think there are issues on both sides but Homie does stir the pot.

  • As a realtor who has done FSBO before getting licensed, I have nothing against FSBO or Homie. However, it has been my observation that Homie’s listings are sitting on the market longer than homes being sold through a traditional brokerage. Also, I do know that homie puts some barriers in place for agents trying to show their properties. For example, convoluted phone systems and an extensive online application just to view the home. A basic principle to marketing a property is exposing it to as many buyers as possible so I feel these things are a disadvantage to the seller! Just my 2 cents.

  • How interesting – I didn’t know they had those issues. Hopefully they’ll read this and improve because I still think it fits a niche in the market. Thanks for your comment!

  • I’m an agent/broker and just today have been dealing with Homie. Out of total frustration I googled Homie in an attempt to find an alternate phone number because the Homie agent will not call me back about presenting/discussing an offer on an active listing. There is simply no way to get Homie on the phone, none. They only deal via email. You cannot negotiate real estate via email, forget it. BTW, this is not the first time I have attempted to sale a listing with Homie. The Utah Division of Real Estate in Oct ’17 fined Homie $25,000 for operating as a real estate brokerage without a broker license. Homie has since changed their business model to comply but still nothing has changed. Why someone would use this company to represent them in a large financial transaction is bewildering.

  • Thanks for your feedback. I haven’t kept up on Homie for a while and was mostly curious from a tech/marketing perspective and as an alternative to FSBO. They’ve since expanded their services but I agree – they should be able to be reached by phone! It really is a step above DIY, but it looks like outside of time with a real estate attorney, paperwork help, sign, lock box and phone number they screen – you’re on your own. And they don’t sound particularly realtor friendly which I think could hurt them.
    Also, small penalty from the UDRE!

  • It will be interesting to observe how Homie adapts to the stagnating housing market that’s developed since summer 2018. When the market’s hot, a trained monkey can sell a house and lots of amateurs try to get into the industry thinking it’s always easy. But a good realtor proves their mettle when things get cold. Time will tell if Homie’s model holds up during a slump.

    To an extent, realtors seem hate homie because they’re competition. But on the other hand, Homie has deliberately poked realtors in the eye (metaphorically) with some of their ad campaigns. I’ve seen someone who used Homie and offered the 2-3% BAC, but got zero interest from realtors …. presumably because the house was dramatically overpriced and also because realtors aren’t gonna trade with the enemy.

    And the “save $10,000 with homie” example assumes the same selling price for Homie vs. realtor. but there’s TONS of research showing realtors tend to get better prices … 5-15% more, depending on various studies and data. Do the math, Even after paying a realtor’s commission, you can come out ahead IF the realtor gets more $$$ for the house.

  • For sure, Homie has poked realtors and then acted like they can’t understand why realtors don’t like them. However, smart realtors are coming out with better tech and ways to serve the FSBO market better. I think Homie has helped that way and smart realtors are looking to improve and learn rather their business in wake of new competition. That’s good for everyone.

    There will always be a place for realtors but customers want choice and I think Homie gave them that. It’s not 100% on your own but it’s not the commitment or expense of using a realtor. I think whether they do better or worse than using a realtor depends on who they hire and how savvy they are. My husband staged and marketed his home well and it sold for a great price. Most people aren’t good at that and as I’ve said, we’ve used a realtor too.

    Thanks for your comment,

  • This article sounds like it was written by someone who works for Homie. My understanding is the reason many people (not just real estate agents) aren’t happy with Homie is because they are being duped into believing they are getting something they aren’t. If you list your home with Homie and a potential buyer happens to find the home on Homie’s website vs. the MLS, then the seller isn’t required to pay a buyer’s agent. So what benefit is that to a buyer? You’d have to be a special kind of stupid to walk into a transaction without representation just so your seller can make more money on the sale of their home. So you really aren’t saving as much as they’d like you to believe, unless you find the fool that is willing to go it alone to make their seller more money. Additionally, I know reputable real estate agents that will list your home for 1-1.5%, which isn’t much more than Homie charges to list, and you’re actually getting an agent who answers the phone, markets, and works for you.

    The conversations I’ve had with agents regarding Homie lead me to believe the disdain is more about Homie taking advantage of the fear brand new agents have they won’t make it, and using it to their benefit. Using brand new, unskilled, naive real estate agents in an opportunistic venture to destroy the industry will surely lead to bad sentiment for everyone involved. I’ve noticed there have been many Homies throughout the years, and they all seem to wind up going out of business when the downturn comes and homes stop selling themselves. It seems like anything else. You get what you pay for, and for very little extra, it sounds like many skilled agents out there would go to work for you.

  • Hi Aedan, thanks for your comment. Are you a real estate agent? I’ve clearly said I haven’t used Homie, I wanted to explain how it works and I interviewed a friend who did use Homie. That was several years ago now. At that point you could save a lot (not a very little extra, A LOT extra). I think the Homies are the future. Maybe not Homie specifically, but using tech to streamline some of the processes while saving money. Again, this is between FSBO and an agent. I like the idea of getting a real estate attorney, getting the paperwork, the lock key, sign and phone answering service. I think they are on the MLS now too, but again, this was written a year ago when they were new and I understand their business model has changed.

  • Why do some agents hate Homie? Maybe because they don’t answer phone calls, we can’t work directly with a professional on the other side, their phone system is a barricade to communication and they don’t have time to educate sellers and get the price right from the start. The Realtor carries more more of the burden for getting things done right when working with a Homie listing.
    The company uses the Realtor pioneered MLS system and then thumbs their nose at Realtors in advertising and marketing.
    Btw, the article states it is a “buyer’s market” and then goes on to describe what is called a “seller’s market’s. When sellers have the upper hand it is a seller’s market.

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