Kirkland real estate startup challenges 'secretive' process

In our area's hot real estate market, a Kirkland startup is testing the value of real estate agents. KING 5's Ryan Takeo shows us how the company is trying to entice customers.

KIRKLAND -- In western Washington’s hot real estate market, a Kirkland startup is trying to test the value of real estate agents.

On Faira, you don’t have to use a real estate agent and pay a broker’s commission. In fact, the company’s CEO said there’s a financial incentive not to use a real estate agent. Instead of the commission, which is normally six percent, Faira charges buyers a fee of 0.5%.

“It’s completely free for the sellers,” said Faira CEO Kamal Jain. “Typically a seller can expect to be ahead like 5-to-8 percent ahead in their bottom line.”

Real estate brokers can be a part of the website’s process, added Jain.

But Coldwell Banker Bain broker Michael Ackerman said he’s seen a lot of new ideas trying to disrupt the status quo through his 23-year career. He said a broker’s experience will help walk their clients through the process.

“The value that we bring is leading somebody through that process and leading them through every step of the way,” said Ackerman.

He said even in this seller’s market - the job isn’t as easy as it seems.

“Everyone believes that you could put a sign in the front yard take a few photos and the home will sell and that’s probably true, but the equation is – for how much?” he asked rhetorically.

Faira added its goal is to make the buying and selling process more transparent. That’s why all offers are publicly posted for all buyers and sellers to see. Jain said Faira selects the highest offer. Some brokers don’t believe that’s always best due to several factors, including weighing how much cash each buyer is offering.

Jain pointed out Faira partners with some brokers. Faira hires a network of independent contractors, including brokers, to help sellers with the process of home inspections, photos, home title, among others. Jain said that simplified the process for buyers and sellers in what can be a confusing industry.

“Our competition is really complexity,” he said. “The complex process we have.” 

Copyright 2016 KING


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