Buy a Home, Get a Big Refund
SimpleShowing is a new way to tour and buy a home.
It’s a real estate technology platform that automates the tour process. Using patent-pending “Self-Tour” technology, consumers can search for homes and book their own tours without the need for a realtor.
This technology saves them time. But it also saves them something else: money!
You see, SimpleShowing offers buyers who purchase a home a commission refund. This refund is up to 1.5% of the final sales price (half of the typical 3% fee collected by buying agents). On average, SimpleShowing users receive a refund of nearly $6,000.
In short, SimpleShowing rewards consumers for doing what they’re already doing: shopping for a home on their own.
Technology has changed how people buy and sell almost everything. But home buying seems to be stuck in the past.
Technology helps homebuyers access a variety of resources, including listings, property data, and home values — tools historically only available to real estate agents. Yet when it comes to touring homes for sale, people still have to rely on these agents, and pay commissions for doing so. According to the National Association of Realtors, consumers cite property access as the most critical reason they hire an agent.
Simply put, consumers today are taking on much more of the work with respect to the home buying process, yet real estate agents are still collecting their fees — $80 billion in agent commissions a year in the U.S. alone.
Many consumers believe that buying a home with an agent is OK, because they’re not charged a commission at the time of purchase (as opposed to sellers who pay realtors a standard 6% commission). However, this doesn’t mean that using an agent to buy a home is a free service. Agent commissions are often baked into the price of the home.
Change is happening, though, as consumers are demanding new alternatives. This demand has given rise to several tech-enabled real estate startups, each designed to give more power and control to buyers and sellers.
Some of these companies have become more valuable than long-standing businesses in the real estate industry. For example, Opendoor (OPEN), a real estate tech platform, launched just seven years ago. It went public in 2020, and has a market cap of more than $11 billion. In contrast, RE/MAX, a real estate company that originated in 1973, has a market cap of just $1.1 billion.
This stark contrast helps explain why professional investors have jumped into the real estate tech market headfirst. Between 2013 and 2018, venture capital investments in this market increased more than 20x — from $138 million in 2013 to $3 billion in 2018.
SimpleShowing has already raised more than $1.6 million from investors. And its business is growing fast.
Since launching in 2018, SimpleShowing has achieved 140% user growth. And it’s helped consumers save more than $1 million in real estate commissions. More than 2,500 property tours have been booked through its platform.
Here's how the process 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.
Notably, more than 60% of SimpleShowing users who book a tour through the platform end up using the company to purchase a home. The company is active in five markets — Dallas, Atlanta, Tampa, Orlando, and Miami.
In 2018, SimpleShowing was accepted into Launch’s Founder University Accelerator. And in 2019, it completed 500 Startups’ Founder Bootcamp. It also participated in the Velocity Accelerator and Wave Accelerator.
As mentioned, SimpleShowing’s main revenue source is real estate commissions. These are earned when a customer buys or sells a home through the platform.
Just like a traditional realtor, SimpleShowing earns a 3% buying agent fee. However, depending on the number of showings a buyer books through the platform, the company will refund a portion of this fee to the user upon closing. This is the “reward” for doing the majority of the home buying process on their own.
SimpleShowing also earns revenue when a home buyer purchases title insurance at the time of closing. In January 2021, the company partnered with Expetitle Exchange, a title insurance startup.
While its platform for individual home buyers and sellers grows, SimpleShowing is also developing a business-to-business version called “Toura.” This was the result of demand for self-tour applications from third-party agents, brokers, and regional Multiple Listing Services (MLS).
Essentially, Toura is a private-label version of the SimpleShowing platform. It leverages the same technology and provides MLSs with a way to accept digital showing requests from third-party agents and brokers. SimpleShowing aims to offer this platform as a software-as-a-service and charge monthly subscription fees.
With funds raised, SimpleShowing aims to further develop its Toura service, and continue to grow its consumer-focused platform.
Fred is a veteran of the real estate industry. He’s held his real estate license for eight years.
In addition to 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.
Lucas joined SimpleShowing in January 2020.
Most recently, he was a software engineer with The Proven Method, a company providing IT solutions to businesses. Before that, he was a lead software engineer with Spots Development Group, a social networking app.
Earlier, he was a web developer with CharterUp, a software platform for tracking public transportation. He began as a web developer with Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee, a retail brand.