A new online real estate market in New York City, Casaide.com allows residential home sellers to find and work with local agents on an hourly fee-for-service basis.
The portal, which claims to be the first of its kind in the industry, aims to provide 'for sale by owner' (FSBO) sellers with a convenient venue to receive professional support without commissions. Casaide connects these sellers with partner agents and then facilitates payments and logistics.
For their part, Casaide allows partner agents to better monetize a significant market segment that "otherwise bypasses real estate services".
"As a technology company, not a brokerage, Casaide is a trusted partner to real estate professionals and powers this new revenue stream for their business," says CEO and founder Anton Buyanovskiy.
Buyanovskiy, an economics graduate from Cornell University was a product manager at both Groupon and Doostang business Talent Inc. He also founded LunchPath.com, a social mobile platform that helps companies build a more integrated workforce.
At its heart, he says, Casaide addresses a market inefficiency with a solution that benefits all.
"Casaide provides new, steady cashflow to our partner brokers, adding to their revenue.
"The clients that Casaide delivers do not cannibalize our partners’ existing business because a Casaide FSBO seller, one willing to pay hourly before closing, is quite different from a regular seller.
"As such, Casaide drives additional revenue to our partners and allows our FSBO clients to have a professional by their side.”
According to Buyanovskiy the rigidity of commissions has alienated a large segment of home sellers from the industry.
In the US about 1 in 10 homes are sold as for sale by owner - about 500,000 homes a year.
"This is a significant segment that real estate agents and their brokers cannot ignore because doing so represents leaving money on the table," Buyanovskiy says.
"Any real estate team that has a successful strategy in tackling these agent-averse customers stands to reap significant rewards.
"As in most business situations, listening is key, and in this case, that means listening and understanding FSBOs and their concerns.
"Why do they choose to not work with an agent? It should come as no surprise to agents that the issue stems from commissions. Some sellers will cite a prior unprofessional agent or unpleasant experience, but having talked to a number of FSBOs, even these complaints often have a sense that 'the commission was not earned' behind them.
"This is a nontrivial complaint as it’s the backbone of how agents are paid."
Buyanovskiy adds it pays little dividends to respond to leads by intimidating, ignoring, or pressuring them to change their point of view.
"This approach does not work, it is not sustainable, and it leaves (agents) wide open to competition from others who find a better way of helping these customers.
"It’s also a significant time commitment with questionable returns. Furthermore, these tactics hurt all agents, even those not working on FSBOs, because it spreads a perception of little tact and professionalism in the industry.
"Casaide believes consulting increases the relevancy of agents and maximizes their earnings."
Upcoming developments to Casaide’s platform will continue to increase the value proposition to both groups.