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Are real estate agents a thing of the past?

Property & Construction

Reali is a Bay Area based startup that is streamlining the real estate business by helping homebuyers to cut out the middleman.

Technology is useful in connecting consumers directly with service providers. In the past few months, Springwise has looked at several innovations that cut out the middleman. Amongst them, this Australian company is trialling a peer-to-peer renewable energy marketplace that removes the need for those producing renewables to sell it back to the grid. We also covered this farm in China that sold melons directly to consumers who watched their purchases grow via online video. Now, Bay area startup allows homebuyers to circumvent real estate agents.

The app allows house hunters handle every step of the process themselves, providing on call support when needed. The process works like this: those looking for a home submit their mortgage pre-approval paperwork through the app, which is then verified by Reali. Once approved, users can browse the available properties and schedule what the company calls an “on-demand open house”. The houses featured on the app are all fitted with doors that unlock remotely, and Bluetooth beacons placed throughout the home, which transmit the information about the home to the viewer. Once a buyer finds something they like, they can submit their offer to the seller through the app, and will be alerted to any counter offers with the chance to respond immediately, via the app.

Rather than working on a traditional percentage commission, Reali charges a flat USD 2,950 administrative fee. The 2.5% of the selling price, that is the typical agent’s commission, has the flat fee taken out of it and the rest goes back to the buyer.

The service is currently only available in Palo Alto, but the creators, real estate investors Amit Haller and Ami Avrahami, say they plan to scale to other areas soon. Could this technology be used to cut out the middleman in other sectors?

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