Top Offer, a new brokerage with a zero-commission-paid-by-seller model, will launch this month in California and Texas. REAL Trends interviewed founder and CEO Jason Buzi to find out more about their business model. As a real estate investor for 15 years, Buzi saw an opportunity to serve the investor market with his new model.
“I saw a need for a hybrid model, giving sellers and buyers the best of both worlds,” he says. “Initially, we’ll get buyers who are investors as buyers aren’t used to paying a commission, but we hope that changes over time.”
Buzi notes that the model will be popular for sellers who spend a lot of money on remodeling and staging to get their home ready to sell. Top Offer enables sellers to save tens of thousands of dollars by selling their homes commission-free. Also, Top Offer primarily sells houses “as is,” eliminating many of the more substantial expenses incurred by sellers, such as remodeling, painting, and staging. Top Offer charges the home buyer a small fee—3% to the buyer. Of that, a percentage is retained by the broker, and the listing agent gets a split.
Buzi says that the “value proposition to agents and sellers is an easy sell. You’re telling a seller that you can the full services of an agency, but you’re not paying commission. We’ll still market your house aggressively.” For agents, he notes that Top Offer will provide equity to the agents. “We’re a start-up, and we have stock in the company that agents will be offered.”
While they are currently self-funded, Buzi hopes to get traction in the market and may look outside for funding. “We’re opening our Bay Area office later this month. That will serve as our headquarters.” From there, he says, they plan to open offices in most of the major cities in California and Texas.
As for gaining traction, Buzi says, “We’re very creative marketing types. We know how to generate buzz, but you have to have a solid business. A lot of what’s happening today is a race to the bottom.” He notes that to compete, many brokerages are discounting commissions or making promises that harm their businesses.
“We’re shifting the model. We’re taking it from the seller and putting it on the buyer. It’s a different way of pricing things.”
Top Offer transforms the way real estate is bought and sold by eliminating seller-paid commissions while providing the full services of a real estate brokerage. The company leverages an experienced team of real estate professionals, to simplify real estate transactions, market properties aggressively and save homeowners thousands of dollars in commission.
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