How It Works for Buyers

Buying a home can often be a long and complex process. A real estate agent can help navigate your way through this process and guide your efforts. Our real estate buyer agents follow the same route as traditional buyer agents, yet we are compensated differently. Normally, buyer agents are paid 3% of the total price as their commission at closing. Instead, we charge $150 to show a house, and then take $1,500 at closing for all other services. At closing, we refund the rest of the 3% commission1 back to the buyer.

We adopted this system because we believe people should pay only for the services they receive – no more, no less. We designed our system carefully, based entirely on this philosophy. On average, Americans see approximately 10 houses before deciding on a purchase.2 If so, our service fee is ~$3,000 per house. Those looking for houses priced $150,000 or higher would best benefit from our services, particularly those who are in the market to purchase a new house, choose to visit open houses, or would rather tour houses on their own, without a buyer's agent.

The Benefits

How our fee structure benefits buyers:

  1. Save Big: On average, home prices in The Woodlands is ~$400,000. Whereas a traditional 3% commission is $12,000, our service fee is only approximately $3,000. That's $9,000 in savings! Also, our service fee is only $1,500 if you purchase a new home. We understand that some agents may provide rebates on a percentage basis, usually less than 1.5%. Even at 1.5%, the agent still receives a $6,000 commission, which is much higher than our service fee.
  2. Interest Aligned: Unavoidably, many traditional buyer agents work with their best interests in mind, which means they may show as few houses as possible and try to close quickly so they can gain their 3% commission. In many cases, these agents are just door openers; as you tour the home, they may not point out certain issues regarding the house, its foundation, or any other problem areas. Because they are pressured to ensure a rapid, complete transaction, they may not represent the buyers' best interests. However, because we are paid for every house we show, we do not have an urgent need to push our clients to make an offer. It is in our best interest to give buyers as much information as we can to ensure client satisfaction. Satisfied clients will refer more business to us, which is in our best interest.
  3. Free to Switch: Because we are paid upfront when someone tours a home, our buyer clients can switch agents anytime without informing us and are free to use other agents to make offers. Our clients are not required to sign any buyer/agent contract with us. So, because using our buying service is low-risk, our buyers won't face the dilemma of being stuck with just one agent – our buyers are always free to choose their representative.
  4. You Have Control: In our pricing model, the showing fee is $150 per house. You can cut this cost to as low as zero if you choose to look at many open houses on your own to get a good feeling for the market. You can also contact owners directly to ask for a house showing. If we assist you in purchasing a house without a showing service, our entire commission is only $1,500.

The Risks

We charge a nonrefundable $150 upfront fee for every house we show, while traditional agents do not charge a fee. This means our clients potentially risk losing fees if they do not purchase eventually. Overall, however, this risk is very low for serious buyers. It is just a matter of paying the house showing fee upfront vs. at closing. Also, our fee structure may not benefit buyers of houses priced at $100,000 or lower.

The Process

The following is a typical process for our buyers:

  1. The commission is determined by the seller and the seller's agent. It is 3% in most cases. However, it may be as low as 2.5% or even 2%. We refund whatever amount we receive minus $1,500 back to the buyer.
  2. 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by National Association of REALTORS®