Just a few weeks ago I was in Utah for the holidays, spending time with the many family members my husband and I both have there. At one family gathering, a cousin began talking about how he bought a brand new home and sold his own home all without a real estate agent on a site called Homie.
It seemed legally risky but he told me that Homie had blown up in the area over the past year, promising to handle all the paperwork while cutting out the middleman, the closing costs and the whopping six percent commission often associated with a realtor.
Johnny Hanna, who had previously developed the successful real estate lead-gen software Entrata, started the agent-less real estate site with a few friends in hopes of taking some of the frustration out of the process of buying and selling a home. He tells TechCrunch Homie has taken over the millennial market along the Wasatch Front, the area linking a mountainous region from Provo to Ogden, Utah, since launching 18 months ago, and it now plans to do the same in Phoenix, Arizona.
Hanna also mentioned he could possibly expand Homie to Vegas, Dallas, Denver and about five to 10 metro areas in the next year.
But so far, the startup has only sold about 1,700 homes on the platform — all in the aforementioned Wasatch Front region. That’s a fraction, though a sizable one, of the 13,600 single-family homes sold in Salt Lake alone in 2016.
Of course, Utah also makes for a perfect market for something like Homie to thrive in with its newer and sprawling suburbs filled with tract homes. You don’t have to physically visit every house in the neighborhood when they’re all pretty much laid out in the same way.