Buy a Home, Get a Big Refund
SimpleShowing is a new way to tour and buy a home.
It enables users to search for and tour prospective homes without using a realtor. And if a user purchases a home through its platform, SimpleShowing issues them a refund worth an average of $5,000.
This is disrupting the $66 billion U.S. market for real estate brokers.
Longer-term, SimpleShowing plans to add other elements of the home-buying process to its platform — from applying for a mortgage, to booking moving services, to purchasing homeowners insurance. This is a $484 billion opportunity.
This company is led by co-founders with more than a decade of experience in the real estate industry. In two years, it’s achieved a $1 million annual revenue run rate by offering its services in just three markets. Now it’s raising capital in order to expand throughout the southeastern U.S.
Traditionally, realtors handled most of the heavy lifting of the home-buying process. They helped clients find potential homes, arranged tours, and walked them through the application process.
Today, however, consumers are handling more of this process on their own. According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2018, 74% of buyers found their home without the help of an agent. That’s up from 29% 10 years earlier.
But here's the problem: these buyers are still paying their agents thousands of dollars in fees.
SimpleShowing’s platform disrupts this approach. Here’s how it works:
First, buyers use SimpleShowing’s website or mobile app to search for available homes. Homes are populated through Multiple Listing Services, or "MLS" — databases that list available homes for sale in a given area — as well as through websites like Zillow and Realtor.com.
Next, users select a day and time to arrange a showing. They can book showings of multiple properties the same day and create their own “tour.” If the property is listed through SimpleShowing, their showing is confirmed instantly.
Finally, if the buyer wants to make an offer, SimpleShowing handles everything from negotiating the price, to drafting the paperwork, to closing the deal. And in exchange for the buyers’ work (i.e., searching for and touring prospective homes), SimpleShowing refunds them up to half the buying agent’s commission. The company retains the other half.
For example, if a buyer purchases a home for $400,000, the traditional buying agent’s fee of 3% would be $12,000. Of that total, SimpleShowing keeps half ($6,000) and refunds the other half ($6,000) to the buyer.
SimpleShowing also enables homeowners to sell their property through its platform. Instead of charging the traditional 6% commission fee, SimpleShowing charges a flat rate of $5,000 for selling a home. In some cases, it earns 1% of the home’s sale price.
SimpleShowing launched its web platform in 2017, and released its mobile app in 2018.
In 2018, the company was accepted into 500 Startups’ Founder Bootcamp. This is a program for founders of startups that, while revenue-generating, are still considered “early-stage.”
In addition, SimpleShowing participated in the Velocity Accelerator and WaveAccelerator. The company raised $500,000 from investors including Bill Smith, Founder of Shipt, an Internet-based retail delivery service that was acquired by Target for $550 million.
SimpleShowing is active in three markets: Atlanta, Tampa, and Orlando. More than 1,000 showings have been booked through its platform in these cities, and the company is completing roughly 20 transactions per month.
To date, 67% of users who book a tour end up buying a home through SimpleShowing. For reference, in most e-commerce businesses, a conversion rate of just 1% is a good measure of success.
SimpleShowing’s numbers are heading in a positive direction. For example, in January 2018, the company’s cost to acquire a customer was an estimated $2,600. By December 2018, that figure fell to about $1,300 — a 50% drop.
In addition, its average transaction value between March 2018 and April 2019 increased from $3,000 to more than $5,000.
Moving forward, SimpleShowing aims to expand to markets including Nashville, Washington D.C., Miami, and Charlotte/Raleigh. It will then look to expand nationwide.
In Q3 2019, the company plans on adding mortgage services and homeowners insurance options to its platform. More specifically, it aims to partner with companies in these markets and send them referrals in exchange for a cut of each transaction.
SimpleShowing has already partnered with Lemonade, a company offering homeowners insurance policies. It’s also partnered with Divvy Homes, which enables customers to put part of their monthly rent toward a down payment.
Fred is a veteran of the real estate industry. He’s held his real estate license for eight years.
In addition his role with SimpleShowing, he's a contributor to Forbes’ Real Estate Council, a community for industry-leading executives in real estate.
Prior to starting SimpleShowing, Fred was Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Redox, a “health tech” startup.
Before that, he was a senior account executive for Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM), a software company, and a regional sales director for Omnicell (NASDAQ: OMCL), a medical device company. He began his career as a senior sales consultant with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ).
Fred earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Samford University and an MBA from Georgia Tech.
Like his co-worker Fred, Jeremy holds his real estate license. He also has a background in property management.
Before SimpleShowing, he spent 16 years as Vice President of the Orlando Health Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising funds for patient care services in Florida.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Samford University and an MBA from the University of Florida.
Taylor has been with SimpleShowing since April 2018.
Before that, he was a software engineer at Gather Technologies, a restaurant software startup that was acquired in 2018 by Vista Equity.
He spent four months as an instructor for Hack Reactor in San Francisco. This program has been recognized as the most competitive “code academy” for software developers.
Prior to that, Taylor was a budget analyst for Pilgrim’s, a food production company. He began his career as a foreign English teacher at the Dalian University of Foreign Languages.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Georgia.