The Anatomy of an Open Real Estate Marketplace™

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A welcome message from co-founders to all our users.

Our valuable users: consumers and real estate professionals,
Welcome to your Open Real Estate Marketplace™ experience!

If you have a few minutes, the following explains the disruptive proposition behind our product. This information will help you understand the value and the ability of an Open Marketplace™ to address one of the most important, the least affordable, highly risk-averse, and the highest valued transaction in person’s entire life – the home-ownership experience.

Transparency is all about trust. HomeOpenly is an Open Marketplace™ that offers consumers access to the best unbiased local savings and services information, for free. HomeOpenly does not sell broker fees. HomeOpenly does not receive referral payments from real estate professionals. HomeOpenly does not sell advertising to real estate professionals. This is an online marketplace built on Open Systems and Privacy by Design methodology.

HomeOpenly is an Internet technology company that sells clearly-labeled advertising and optional services for mortgages, refinance, home insurance, and similar life-cycle home-ownership services in a marketplace setting. Pricing and terms for all paid ads are available in the Advertising Partners page with full transparency. If we receive a payment from anyone, we explicitly tell you about it.

HomeOpenly only advertises services and products that provide positive-sum value-added benefits to consumers. For example, you will never see and ads for iBuyers on our platform because iBuyers systematically work to reduce home seller’s equity and do not have a legal obligation to offer sellers a fair market value for their homes. The same way Google limits advertising for highly questionable Financial Services, such as ICO’s and Cryptocurrencies, HomeOpenly limits advertising for certain real estate products that do not deliver positive-sum value-added benefits to consumers in real estate.

How is an Open Real Estate Marketplace™ different?

With the use of blanket referral fee agreements between broker referral fee networks and real estate brokers, consumers overspend about $15 Billion in real estate commissions each year. Blanket referral fee agreements violate both RESPA and the Sherman Act, but that doesn’t stop “paper” real estate brokers, such as HomeLight, to transmit these agreements with heavy use of paid ads on the Internet.

HomeLight alone claims to have “driven well over $17 billion of real estate business nationwide” since inception. A standard 25% referral fees paid on this volume of originated commissions yields a mind-blowing estimate of $4.25 Billion in commission kickbacks paid to HomeLight from participating brokers across the United States in just a few years of operations. A simple ad, worth a few dollars to HomeLight, is easily converted into tens of thousands in referral fees. HomeLight claims to make such conversion every two minutes.

At HomeOpenly we see the potential to offer our users much better value in a situation where blanket referral fees are converted into savings between consumers and real estate professionals.

An Open Marketplace™ has the potential to save consumers and real estate professionals $15 Billion in kickbacks each year by converting kickbacks into real cash savings. These savings don’t just help consumers, they also help competitive agents to offer services on a fair playing field. Competitive agents who offer savings are doing so in an effort to gain consumers’ attention in scale. If other brokers are able to gain attention by simply agreeing to pay a standard 25% referral fees on inflated commission, competitive agents' efforts are placed at a disadvantage.

HomeOpenly levels the playing field with the use of Internet technology by targeting 130,000,000 homes in the United States with competitive savings offered by local competitive agents. This is a massive database of home-related information that is built to support free-market principles. HomeOpenly is built to compete with platforms like Zillow Group with the sheer scale in the number of homes we can deliver valuable information for. Where Zillow Group typically delivers MLS (Multiple Listing Services) aggregated information about millions of homes, HomeOpenly delivers local savings information for those same exact properties on a similar scale.

Competition in the marketplace is good for consumers and good for business. When real estate agents compete with each other without the use of blanket referral fee agreements, consumers get the best possible prices for high-quality services. Competition among real estate companies can further encourage the innovation of better and more efficient products, such as flat fee service offerings, concierge real estate services, transaction bridge loans, and cash leverage programs.

Benefits to consumers with an improved home-ownership experience:

For consumers, the best way to engage with this product is to carefully evaluate each match with a local real estate agent. Consider each result carefully - very few agents are willing to genuinely compete for your business and each option you see has value behind it.

An agent who competes for you with transparency is likely will do the same for your transaction. Honesty is generally understood as the act of telling the truth, but the meaning of this concept is more complex. Research shows that honesty is a contagious habit. It is very important for consumers to work with highly trusted real estate professionals who place clients’ best interest instead of their own. Honesty starts with transparency on how each service is offered. A simple fact that a real estate agent has opted-into HomeOpenly platform is an indicator for added value simply because they have chosen a fair path to advertise services without the use of blanket referral fee agreements.

HomeOpenly offers a unique experience where consumers are able to quickly and easily determine value of each agent based on their offering and savings. For example, you may receive two separate advertisements from two real estate professionals - one with high commission savings from a newly licensed real estate agent, and another with moderate commission savings from a seasoned agent with decades of experience; it is entirely up to you to decide who is best in your situation.

The choice you make may not be the same choice another consumer makes, but both choices will be made with accurate information in a competitive setting. You are making a value-based decision for value-added services with value-based pricing.

HomeOpenly offers consumers two major feedback channels – public and private feedback. Consumers are able to rate each agent on a sliding scale publicly after service was performed by the real estate professional. Public feedback is visible to all HomeOpenly users.

We also accept private feedback that is only visible to HomeOpenly and the rated agent anonymously. A consumer can rate any agent they see in their results privately, regardless if a service was delivered or not. Private feedback is designed to help HomeOpenly identify the best agents in our internal database and keep the bad apples out. We use all user feedback to improve the quality of our database.

Benefits for real estate professionals in a fair playing field:

For HomeOpenly to succeed, we must be able to attract the best agents to our platform. One of the most common objections we hear from agents is: “doesn't this cut our rates?” All agents are in full control of their rate schedule on HomeOpenly. HomeOpenly never mandates rates for anyone because the United States is a free-market economy. It would be an improper price-fixing, if HomeOpenly began to mandate rates for agents. Instead, we encourage agents to offer competitive rates in a competitive setting. The fact that all leads on our platform are originated by consumers for free, makes every lead incredibly valuable and self-vetted: consumers contact you, only if they like you.

HomeOpenly requires all participating real estate agents to agree and abide by our Terms and Conditions, to maintain National Association of Realtors membership and to abide by the NAR's ethics conduct, be fully licensed and able to provide services in the jurisdiction services are offered.

It is vital that you always keep your account information current and respond to all leads sent to you by consumers in a timely manner. HomeOpenly will permanently remove accounts that lack responsiveness. You are receiving leads from consumers for free with a full expectation to provide a timely reply to every request. HomeOpenly is not craigslist, we want to build agents excellent responsive profiles based on genuine user feedback.

Eventually, the value of aggregate network effects benefits only the best and the most reliable agents.

Our goal is to cut the “standard” 25%-40% blanket referral fee agreements out of existence. Real estate professionals are not allowed to enter into blanket referral agreements with referral fee networks because such agreements always restrict free trade. HomeOpenly solves the problem of consumer-brokering because referrals and referral fees with other agents are strictly prohibited by our Terms of Service. For any leads an agent receives, the service must be performed by said agent.

HomeOpenly allows real estate agents to convert costs of “standard” referral fees into competitive savings incentives. Instead of selling you into a “no upfront costs” proposition, HomeOpenly offers our users a true zero-fee environment: no upfront costs, no monthly subscription fees, simply, no fees of any kind related to the transaction.

The future of an Open Real Estate Marketplace™

We consider it a privilege to be able to help make your home-ownership a better experience with the use of Internet technology. Our model is optimistic and daring because it must technologically compete with Billions USD in revenue produced by referral fee networks who tax real estate transactions. HomeOpenly is ground-breaking because it is highly efficient.

The idea of an Open Marketplace™ doesn’t stop with the real estate transaction, it extends into the entire life-cycle of the home-ownership experience for all 130,000,000 homes in the United States.

HomeOpenly appeals to consumers to help manage $31 Trillion in real estate assets with a much better financial outcome for our users. What takes thousands of people to accomplish at Zillow Group, we are able to accomplish with much lesser resources. True, our information database is still young and our marketplace has a limited reach. However, HomeOpenly has three things going for it:

First, scalability. HomeOpenly an Internet company and we do not intend to become a real estate agent. This means that we appeal to local talent to join our marketplace without a fear that we will ever begin to compete with agents to represent consumers in real estate transactions. With the use of the Internet and AVM (Automated Valuation Modeling) technologies, we are able to transmit savings information to consumers in scale very efficiently.

Second, legal compliance. HomeOpenly is not a real estate agent, therefore, we can easily ask real estate agents to communicate their rates and services to us. As a marketplace, our goal is to decrease friction in the market and to promote free competition. On the other hand, all referral fee products systematically engage in consumer brokering, market allocation and price-fixing outlawed in the United States. HomeOpenly platform is 100% legal experience that not just questions, but systematically promotes benefits provided by the antitrust regulations.

Third, fair play. Pay-to-play referral networks are inherently biased and, by default, run a 100% certainty output with biased information. We believe that the homeownership experience heavily suffers from mixed incentives and needs a transparent and trusted environment for consumers and service providers to interact. By limiting our advertising channels to clearly-identified value-added products, HomeOpenly benefits from the ad revenue with products that aim for optional exposure, while still being able to maintain the core principles that drive Open Marketplace with transparency and wide array of choices for consumers.

Our Mission is to improve the home-ownership experience.

Related to: open marketplace, open real estate marketplace, homeownership experience

Your feedback is incredibly valuable. Please tell us what is important to you about your homeownership experience, what you look for in a trust-focused platform and how we can better serve you as our user.

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Feel free to contact us if you need further assistance. At HomeOpenly we aim to make the opportunity of homeownership transparent, affordable and an open experience.

First published: December 24, 2019
Last updated: December 24, 2019