Houwzer, at a glance
- Houwzer is a real estate brokerage operating in select markets in and around Philadelphia, South Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore — view locations here.
- If you're selling, get full service and support from Houwzer's in-house team of agents for a flat $5,000 listing fee.
- You should also expect to pay a buyer's agent commission (what's this?). Rates vary, but 2.5-3% is typical nationwide.
- If you buy and sell with Houwzer, the $5,000 listing fee is cut in half.
- Buyers get full service and support; however, unlike some other discount services, Houwzer doesn't offer built-in commission rebates.
- Houwzer also offers mortgage broker services in Philadelphia and South Jersey.
- Houwzer agents don't work on commission — they're salaried, which could have negative implications for sellers.
- As of May 20, 2020, Houwzer's average customer rating 4.9/5 based on 897 reviews on Zillow, Google, Yelp and Facebook — see more reviews here.
What is Houwzer?
Houwzer is a multi-state real estate brokerage that offers discounted listing fees and standard buyer's agent services in select Philadelphia, South Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore markets. Houwzer also offers mortgage broker services in Philadelphia and South Jersey.
If you sell with Houwzer, you'll get the same services you would from a traditional agent. The key difference is that you pay a flat, $5,000 fee, as opposed to the typical 2.5-3% commission. Sellers who list and buy with Houwzer get additional listing fee savings.
Houwzer also provides standard buyer's agent services at zero cost. Of course, this isn't unique to Houwzer — in standard real estate transactions, the seller typically covers the buyer's agent fee). Unlike some other discount brokerages, Houwzer does not offer built-in savings or commission rebates for home buyers.
Buyers in select markets can also take advantage of Houwzer's in-house mortgage broker services to compare rates and apply for loans.
It's also worth noting that Houwzer's agents are full-time, salaried employees. In other words, unlike traditional realtors, they don't earn commission. This has implications for both home buyers and sellers, which we'll cover later on.
Houwzer pros and cons?
|Full service for a flat $5,000 listing fee||$5,000 listing fee is relatively high at low to mid-range price points|
|Additional savings if you also buy with Houwzer||Salaried agents could be less motivated to sell your home for top dollar|
|Online listing dashboard for sellers||Your choice of agents is limited to Houwzer's in-house team|
|Mortgage broker services available in select markets||No built-in home buyer savings|
When you sell with Houwzer, you'll get full service and support — e.g., help with pricing, photos, listing, marketing, offers, negotiations, paperwork, closing, etc. — for a flat $5,000 listing fee.
Compared to the 2.5-3% listing fee traditional realtors typically charge, Houwzer could net you significant savings. Of course, with a flat-fee model, the more valuable the home, the more significant the savings — and vice versa.
Here's how the listing fee savings break down at three different price points:
|Home value||Houwzer fee||% of sale price||Approx savings*|
*Compared to a 3% listing fee.
That said, many discount brokerages offer the same level of service at a better or similar price point — at least for homes below the $500,000 mark.
The best value on offer is for sellers who choose to list and buy with Houwzer. In this case, Houwzer offers a $2,500 — or 50% — listing fee rebate.
The table below breaks down what typical fees might look like for a seller listing a $350,000 home with Houwzer.
|Houwzer's listing fee||1.4%||$5,000|
|Buyer's agent fee||3%||$10,500|
*Based on a $350,000 home.
**Compared to a 6% commission rate.
|Zillow||4.9/5 (535 reviews)||See Zillow reviews|
|Google*||4.8/5 (184 reviews)||See Google reviews|
|4.8/5 (167 reviews)||See Facebook reviews|
|Yelp*||3.5/5 (11 reviews)||See Yelp reviews|
|Better Business Bureau||N/A - no BBB profile||N/A|
|Weighted Average||4.9/5 (897 reviews)|
*These reviews are for Houwzer's main Philadelphia, PA office. If you're looking to sell or buy in one of Houwzer's other markets, we recommend conducting research and finding reviews specific to your location.
Houwzer has an average rating of 4.9/5 rating based on 897 customer reviews on Zillow, Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
Selling a house with Houwzer
The experience of selling with Houwzer is similar to selling with a traditional agent (see the services break down in the next section). There are two key differences:
- Houwzer offers built-in discounts on listing fees
- Houwzer's agents don't work on commission — they're full-time, salaried employees
The latter is an important consideration for home sellers. When an agent works on commission, the size of their paycheck is directly linked to the final selling price of your home, which is a big incentivizer to work hard and get you the best deal possible.
While certainly not guaranteed, removing commission from the equation does open the door for a potential conflict of interest — i.e., they may be more willing to accept a lower offer to ensure a deal closes, rather than play hard ball to get you top dollar.
Houwzer agent vs traditional realtor
|Listing commission fee||5,000*||2.5-3%|
|Buyer's agent commission**||2.5-3%||2.5-3%|
|Professional home valuation||✓||✓|
|Listing on MLS, Realtor.com, Zillow, etc.||✓||✓|
|Sign in yard||✓||✓|
|Marketing (digital + print)||✓||✓|
|Open houses & showings||✓||✓|
|Help with closing||✓||✓|
*If you buy and sell with Houwzer, you'll get a $2,500 rebate
**Typical nationwide rate — buyer's agent commissions are negotiable and vary based on location and property.
Buying a house with Houwzer
When you buy with Houwzer, the experience will be similar to working with a traditional, full-service buyer's agent. You'll get help with house hunting, preparing offers, negotiating, paperwork, closing, and more.
Just like with a traditional agent, you won't have to pay a fee (in standard real estate transactions, the seller pays the buyer's agent fee).
One key difference is that Houwzer agents are in-house, salaried employees, meaning they don't work on commission. As a buyer, this could benefit you in two ways:
- Your agent isn't incentivized to pressure you to pull the trigger and buy a home when you're not comfortable – they get paid either way
- Your agent's paycheck doesn't directly correlate to the home's final purchase price — which could motivate them to drive a harder bargain on your behalf
Of course, without knowing Houwzer's internal sales structure, it's hard to make these claims with certainty. For example, agents could have required sales quotas, which would potentially undermine the above benefits. That said, the salaried approach does – at least in theory — play to the buyer's interests.
Another point worth mentioning is that, unlike some discount real estate agents and services, Houwzer does not offer a built-in home buyer rebate. This is when an agent offers their client a portion of their commission fee they can use to cover closing costs, buy additional points on their mortgage, etc.
If this is something you're interested in, you'll have to negotiate directly with Houwzer — or you should look into a different service.
>> LEARN more about home buyer rebates.
Houwzer's mortgage services
If you're buying a home, Houwzer also offers an in-house mortgage broker service. Houwzer's Mortgage Advisors will help you understand the process, weigh your options and compare rates, and apply.
Houwzer works with multiple lenders so you can choose between a variety of loan types, including:
Most traditional loan officers work on commission, which can lead to conflicts of interest — i.e., pushing the loan that earns them the largest paycheck rather than the one best suited to your needs and goals.
Houwzer's Advisors don't work on commission — they're salaried — which, in theory, mitigates the risk of bias or self-serving recommendations.
As of April 15, 2020, Houwzer's mortgage services are only available in select Philadelphia and South Jersey markets.
|City of Philadelphia|
*Mortgage services available.
|Burlington County (most)|
|Camden County (most)|
|Gloucester County (parts)|
*Mortgage services available.
Washington, D.C. / Virginia
|Falls Church||Prince William|
|City of Baltimore|
Compare Houwzer to top alternatives in 2020
Houwzer's full-service, flat-fee model and stellar reviews certainly make it worth looking into — particularly for sellers at higher price points (i.e., $500,000 and above).
Of course, with stakes this high, it's always a good idea to evaluate several different services before making a decision.
To help you compare top options, we've compiled basic info on similar services that offer discounted and/or flat commission rates. We recommend reading the full reviews, via the links below, and reaching out to these companies directly to learn more.
|Brokerage||Listing fee||Buyer rebate*|
|Houwzer||Flat $5,000||N/A - no buyer rebate|
|Clever Real Estate||1% — flat $3,000 fee for homes under $350,000||Up to 1%|
|Redfin||1.5% — minimum fees vary by market||Average $1,500|
|REX Real Estate||2% — $9,000 min fee for homes under $450,00||1-1.5% (only if buying a non-REX home)|
|Redefy||$500 nonrefundable fee up front + $3,000 at closing||N/A - no buyer rebate|
*In states where buyer rebates are legal.
It's also a good idea to investigate some other home selling approaches before choosing to list with a discount brokerage. We've compiled some additional resources to help you understand all of your options and make a more informed decision.
- Flat-fee MLS services
- iBuyer services
- We Buy Houses for Cash companies
- Selling for sale by owner (FSBO)
- Flat-fee real estate agents
Next steps: Talk to a real estate expert
If you're looking to buy or sell a house and weighing your options, Clever can help!
Our fully licensed Concierge Team is standing by to answer your questions and offer free, objective advice about how to sell your home, given your specific goals and situation.
Give us a call at 1-833-2-CLEVER, or enter your basic info below to get started.
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