Faira Review 2020: How It Works, Pricing, Top Alternatives

By 

Katherine Peach

Updated 

November 20th, 2020

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Faira offers three tiers of service for home sellers — but its convoluted pricing structure is somewhat misleading.

Faira is a discount real estate brokerage. It was founded in 2015 with the idea of making transactions transparent and easy through its online listing platform. Faira even advertises that its most basic level of service is free for sellers.

However, we have serious caveats about Faira.

First, in examining the company's pricing model, we discovered hidden and/or misrepresented fees, including a 0.5% platform fee that Faira advertises as paid by the buyer but that ultimately comes out of the seller's bottom line.

Second, Faira's highest level of service is just as — or even more expensive than — using a traditional real estate agent.

Third, to be frank, the company isn't in great shape. Faira has recently closed offices and laid off staff, and its platform is now limited to a handful of listings in Washington state.

Faira once hoped to become a technology-heavy disruptor in the real estate industry. But thanks to its convoluted pricing model, shrinking number of agents, and nearly empty listing platform, we can't recommend using this company for buying or selling.

Still, if you're interested in how Faira works, keep reading. In this review, we'll cover what you need to know about the company, what questions to ask, and what alternatives you should consider.

And if you’d rather learn about the alternatives, you can compare discount brokers to find full-service agents who offer lower fees. Or you can find flat-fee MLS services that offer even lower rates in exchange for a more DIY service model.

Key Takeaways

  • Faira is currently available only in Washington state. If you're not looking to buy or sell a home there, you must choose another service provider. Find a discount broker near you.
  • We consider the way Faira advertises its pricing to be misleading. The company ostensibly charges buyers a 0.5% platform fee, but because it comes out of the sale price of the home, it's actually costing the sellers.
  • Faira's business appears to be dwindling. That makes it unlikely you'll attract the best buyers. And if you're looking to buy, you'll be underwhelmed by the handful of available listings.

What is Faira?

Faira is part of a new breed of real estate companies that depend heavily on technology. The company’s goal is to leverage its online platform to make the process of buying and selling homes transparent and fair (hence the name).

The Faira platform lets anyone with a free account view information about each listing — including third-party inspection reports and property disclosure statements. Users can also see all current bids on properties listed on the site.

When you use Faira for a real estate transaction, you can choose to make or receive bids via the web.

Faira sellers control their listings via a property dashboard, where they set their desired list price. Buyers can input their maximum offers and outbid each other with the click of a button.

If Faira’s platform sounds a bit like eBay, it's no coincidence — Faira's co-founder helped develop business models for the online auction platform.

To use Faira's platform, you need to sign in with a Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, or Facebook account. If you don't have one of those accounts, you'll need to set one up first — a bit of an unexpected term for those of use who are more "old fashioned"!

However, from our research and conversations with the Faira team, we get the feeling that Faira is leaning away from depending on its online platform and offering more in-person services that you would find at a traditional real estate brokerage.

How does Faira compare to top alternatives?


Faira
Clever
Redfin
Help-U-Sell
Avg Customer Rating
3.8 (133 reviews)
4.9 (550 reviews)
3.2 (247 reviews)
See individual offices
Dedicated point of contact?
Free - No
One - Yes
Premium - Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
In-person support?
Free - No
One - No
Premium - Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Regions Covered
Pacific Northwest
National
National
National
Listing Fee
Free - $0
One - 1%
Premium - 3%
$3,000 or 1%
2%
Varies by office
Avg Savings*
N/A
$7,375
$6,000
Varies by office

Learn More
Learn More
Learn More
Learn More

*Average fee compared to a 3% commission at four price points: $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, $750,000.

It's hard to compare Faira to other discount brokers, thanks to its varied levels of service.

The Free version compares closest to a flat-fee MLS listing service. These companies give you access to a self-service portal that helps you list your home for sale by owner on the MLS — a service traditionally reserved for licensed real estate agents.

Unlike most flat-fee MLS listing platforms, Faira Free doesn't charge any upfront fees. But you will pay a 0.5% platform fee if your home sells. And if the transaction occurs off Faira's platform, you'll incur an additional 1% fee on top of that.

With Faira Free, sellers receive benefits such as a key box and flyers. In addition, Faira Free grants users access to its online buying-and-selling platform.

Of the three tiers, Faira One is the most similar to other discount brokerage services that we've reviewed. Discount brokers provide customers with some or all of the services offered by a traditional real estate agent but usually offer a lower rate.

With Faira One, you'll pay a 1% listing fee and a 0.5% platform fee — still lower than the typical 2.5-3% listing fee charged by traditional agents. However, at this level of service, your Faira agent will be 100% remote; they’ll handle paperwork and negotiations on your behalf but won’t visit your home.

If you want in-person service, you'll have to pony up for Faira Premium, which includes all of the services you'd typically find with a traditional real estate agent — plus access to the listing platform — and with a price point to match: 3%. However, keep in mind that currently, Premium agents are serving only homes in the greater Seattle metro area.

If you’re trying to compare agents and get the best rate, Clever can help! Enter a few details below. Our Concierge Team will match you with top agents in your area — and negotiate lower rates on your behalf.

» MORE: How can Clever help me save on realtor fees?

Above all: it pays to interview multiple agents and compare your options. Your best choice may not be the service with the lowest fee.

It's important to consider all aspects of the marketing and sale process — including your own personal situation — to find the best agent to sell your home. It may be appealing at first to pay only a flat upfront fee, but if your home sells for less than it would with a traditional agent, you won't have saved a dime.

Is Faira legitimate?

Faira is a legitimate licensed brokerage, but the business appears to be facing headwinds and shrinking its operations, which might negatively impact your experience.

Until recently, Faira operated in Washington state, California, and Arizona. However, the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on the company, and currently, Faira agents are focused on Washington listings.

Faira's website suggests there are nearly 500 property listings on its platform. However, the vast majority of these are inactive.

Don't be fooled by Faira's website listing map that shows nearly 500 properties spread across the West Coast. The vast majority of these listings have been sold over the last couple of years. There's no way to filter inactive listings in an initial property search. As of this writing (August 6, 2020), there were only six active listings on the Faira platform.

For sellers, that means it's unlikely Faira's listing site will draw much traffic to your listing. And as with the company's seemingly misleading platform fee, it's another example of Faira presenting itself as a better deal than it really is.

How much does Faira cost?

Faira offers three different tiers of service, each with its own price point:

Tier
Price
Service
Faira Free
0.5% platform fee, plus 3% buyer’s agent fee
MLS listing, professional photography, yard sign; no in-person support
Faira One
1% listing fee, 0.5% platform fee, plus 3% buyer’s agent fee
Limited support from a real estate agent, complimentary home inspection
Faira Premium
3% listing fee, 0.5% platform fee, plus 3% buyer’s agent fee
Full-service real estate agent

Note: in addition to a 0.5% platform fee, Faira sellers pay for a 3% buyer’s agent commission out of their proceeds from the sale.

Unlike the platform fee, paying for a buyer’s agent commission is common practice in real estate transactions, not unique to Faira. However, the rates for buyer’s agent commission vary by neighborhood and price range — you might not need a full 3% commission to stay competitive with other homes in your area.

» LEARN: How Do Real Estate Commissions Work?

Read on to learn about Faira's pricing tiers in detail.

The first tier, Faira Free, is basically just an MLS listing service. When you sign up for Faira Free, you'll receive no assistance from a dedicated agent. It's strictly DIY.

However, you will receive some services that flat-fee MLS listing companies offer — namely, professional photography, signs, flyers, and a lockbox.

As the name suggests, there are no listing agent fees. But it should be made clear that it's technically not free. You'll still be on the hook for the buyer's agent fee, plus Faira's 0.5% platform fee.

And if you're a Faira Free member and choose to accept an offer made outside the platform, you'll have to pay an extra 1% fee. In this case, you'd be paying as much as a Faira One member but without any of the support from an agent.

The next level, Faira One, charges a 1% listing agent's commission in addition to the 0.5% platform fee (and the fee you'd pay the buyer's agent). This level offers the services of Faira Free, plus a complimentary home inspection and a dedicated real estate agent.

The point of the inspection is to help the seller determine the proper listing price, as well as identify changes and repairs that could help you sell your home faster. The inspection is also provided to buyers as part of its "Certified Listings" program.

The final tier, Faira Premium, combines all of the services of Free and One with upgraded photo options, a home warranty (which transfers to the buyer), and an in-home agent consultation. It costs 3% to the listing agent — which is the same percentage you can expect to pay with a traditional real estate agent — plus the 0.5% listing fee and the 3% buyer's agent commission.

It's important to note that Faira Premium is available only in markets where there are Faira agents — in particular, around Seattle and Tacoma, WA, as well as the Bellevue/Eastside area.

Selling with Faira

The services sellers receive when they list with Faira depend on which tier they choose. Here's a table comparing the offerings from the three levels:

Service
Faira Free
Faira One
Faira Premium
Local MLS Listing



Dedicated Agent



In-home Consult



Photography



Videography



Yard Sign



Lockbox



Flyers



Inspection



Home Warranty



Faira One offers a — pardon us — fair amount of services, but sellers might find a better deal with another local agent.

For help comparing top-rated realtors in your area, contact Clever's Concierge Team. Our licensed experts will negotiate on your behalf to get you just a 1% listing commission with full service — nothing paid until you sell.

» MORE: Find a full-service agent near you.

Otherwise, read on to learn the major steps in the process of selling your home with Faira!

Faira's listing agreement

Before listing your home, you must e-sign a contract with Faira. This agreement holds you to a 90-day listing commitment with the company. If you decide to leave the contract early, Faira will charge you a cancellation penalty equal to 1.5% of your listing price.

Always make sure that you read the fine print of any contract before signing.

Once you've electronically signed your agreement, you'll be taken to a dashboard with a checklist of tasks you must do to complete your listing.

Here's a rundown of the major tasks you'll need to complete to get your home on the market.

Schedule vendors

Faira provides all home sellers who list with the company with professional photography. Faira Premium members also receive "upgraded photo options," which a Faira representative defined for me as the potential for drone footage and/or a video tour.

Faira One and Premium listings also include a third-party inspection completed by one of the company's partner vendors. This inspection has two aims:

  1. To provide guidance for the home's pricing
  2. To aid in the completion of the state-required seller disclosure statement.

The inspection report is also part of Faira's transparency campaign and is made available to all buyers.

Faira's vendors also install yard signs on listed properties, but this doesn't need to be scheduled by the seller.

Set the price

The pricing process is where Faira starts to get complicated. On a Faira Free dashboard, you'll see three prices listed, which you can increase or decrease in tandem with a slider;

  1. The MLS Listing Price: The price advertised to buyers and agents. It includes a 3% buyer’s agent commission and a 0.5% platform fee. The platform fee is how Faira makes money and is always baked into the sale price.
  2. The Buyer Without Agent Price: The price offered to buyers who aren't represented by an agent. It includes the 0.5% platform fee but excludes the 3% buying agent commission. Faira advertises this price to unrepresented buyers as a 3% discount from the MLS Listing Price.
  3. The Base Asking Price: The price without the 3% buying agent commission or the 0.5% platform fee.

Here's what that that would look like with an MLS Listing Price of $500,000:

Faira One and Faira Premium sellers will also see their Estimate of Net Sale Proceeds, which further removes the 1% or 3% commission, respectively, from the Base Asking Price.

Schedule an open house

If you use Faira One or Faira Premium, you can also set up an open house for buyers to view your property. If you use Faira Premium, your open house will be staffed by a member of the Faira office team. If you use Faira One, the open house will be handled by an outside vendor whom Faira contracts.

There's also the potential to host an open house yourself if you're a Faira Free seller.

Write your listing description

Ultimately, what goes into your listing description is 100% up to you. Although Faira One and Premium users can receive input from their dedicated agent, sellers can go onto the dashboard and write whatever description they like. They can also upload additional photos and documentation that they feel would help sell the property.

This sounds great, but good real estate agents have marketing expertise and know how to present your home to prospective buyers. Sometimes allowing a local agent to control the listing can be a good thing.

Review offers

Once you've listed your property on Faira, you can start receiving offers. You can review these as they're made through text or email notifications. Once an offer has arrived, you have 24 hours to consider it before it expires.

Or you can set an offer review date ahead of time. When you take this option, you'll review all offers on the same date, regardless of when they came in. Offers will be valid for 24 hours following the start of the offer review date.

You can also receive an offer outside the Faira platform, but note that if you're a Faira Free member and accept an offer made in the traditional way, you'll incur an extra 1% fee.

Before you accept an offer, it's wise to make sure the buyer has been preapproved. If you're a Faira Free seller, the onus is on you to do this. You'll find the buyer's contact information with the offer. Faira One and Premium members can enlist the aid of their dedicated agents to handle this step.

Once you've accepted an offer, the buyer has five days to complete any additional due diligence and to pay the 0.5% platform fee. Once that's been done, you'll receive a purchase and sale agreement to sign.

Of course, Faira One and Premium sellers have the added advantage of a dedicated agent who can handle off-platform price negotiations for you. In fact, paying sellers can have the entire transaction handled without juggling online bids.

Buying with Faira

As with selling your home with Faira, buying a property has two different tiers of service.

There's Faira Essentials, which is geared toward buyers who already have a property picked out. Essentials buyers receive help writing and negotiating offers on homes through closing from the Faira team.

Here's the downside: if you sign up for Essentials and want to schedule a showing of the home via Faira, you have to pay $99 per showing, or $399 for up to five showings. (Traditional real estate agents don't charge their clients for property showings.)

So why sign up for Faira Essentials? It does offer a rebate of up to 2% in return for you doing a lot of the legwork. This percentage is larger than you'll find with most discount brokers. However, keep in mind the actual rebate amount you'll receive depends on the listing's location and price. You'll receive the rebate check at closing.

» LEARN: How do home buyer rebates work?

Faira Plus buyers receive service from a dedicated agent who will help them pick out and view homes. As with Essentials, Plus clients will also have assistance in writing and negotiating offers.

Faira Plus comes with unlimited free showings, and users receive a rebate of up to 1% (again, depending on location and price).

Always do your due diligence when making such a momentous purchase. Find the agent you're comfortable with, preferably one without a confusing business model.

Faira reviews


Rating
# of reviews
Weighted avg
4.3
133
Google
4.2
88
Zillow
4.8
38
Yelp
2.5
7

Faira has received mixed reviews from previous clients. Some users praise the company for low commissions, while others wished they had received better service.

Zillow reviewer Mike L. of Bonney Lake, WA was pleased with his Faira One experience:

There are several negative reviews for Faira, especially on Yelp. Most complaints are about Faira One's level of service. Sellers don't feel as if they received good-enough service, and agents weren't focused on helping them earn more.

Yelp user Shawn K. of Graham, WA complained about agents who didn't feel particularly compelled to help them sell his home:

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Faira Free offers inexpensive local MLS listings and basic services to buyers who might otherwise sell by owner.
  • Faira buyers can receive up to 2% as a rebate if they're willing to do much of the legwork themselves.
  • Unlike some other discount brokers we've reviewed, Faira agents are contractual employees who are paid commission, rather than a flat fee. This should encourage your agent to sell your property for top dollar.

Cons

  • Faira's questionable pricing model advertises that the buyers pay the platform fee, but because it's taken out of the sale price of the house, it's really the seller who is on the hook.
  • Faira Essentials buyers who end up wanting to view houses must pay a fee to do so.
  • The full-service selling option, Faira Premium, costs as much as using a traditional agent. Sellers could save thousands of dollars by using a discounted broker such as Clever.
  • With its platform emphasis, there's less reliance on old-fashioned real estate marketing. Sellers can have total control over their listings (which may be less effective than what an experienced agent could put together). Plus, using Faira, sellers might feel more compelled to accept early online offers, rather than using an agent to negotiate a higher price.
  • If you use Faira One, your agent will earn significantly less commission than if you had used Faira Premium. It's likely One listings don't get top priority and receive a hard upsell.
  • Buyers (and their agents) might be uncomfortable with using Faira's online platform.
  • Faira Free sellers must pay an extra fee to accept offers made off-platform.
  • Faira is available in a very limited market.

Conclusion: Is Faira right for you?

Faira was built on the idea of harnessing technology to make the process of buying and selling real estate transparent and accessible. However, in practice, the company's confusing and — in our opinion — misleading pricing models lead us to believe Faira hasn't lived up to its promises.

We don't recommend using Faira for buying or selling a home. Instead, we recommend that you shop around. Interview agents who have experience and knowledge in your area and at your price point.

Clever can introduce you to a few vetted agents with proven track records of customer satisfaction — and we’ll negotiate lower rates on your behalf.

Next Steps: Talk to an 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 questions and provide free, objective advice on how to get the best outcome with your sale or purchase.

Ready to get started?

Give us a call at 1-833-2-CLEVER or enter your basic info below. Our Concierge Team will be in touch shortly to help.

Remember, this service is 100% free and there’s never any obligation.

Faira’s business hours:

Monday-Sunday
9-7 PT

Faira’s contact information:

Phone
(800) 571-FAIR
Email
hello@faira.com