Houwzer Real Estate is a discount real estate brokerage that advertises commission savings for home sellers.
Sellers pay a flat $5,000 listing fee, instead of the 2.5-3% that traditional realtors typically charge. That could mean big savings, especially on more expensive homes. As the following Houwzer reviews illustrate, though, you could face service-quality compromises. Other discount brands may provide a better combination of savings and personalized service.
For example, our friends at Clever Real Estate offer a 1% listing fee (or a flat $3,000 fee for homes under $350,000). Their free agent-matching process connects you with top full-service realtors in your area, ensuring you never compromise on agent quality or support. Learn how to start saving today!
- Houwzer charges home sellers a flat $5,000 listing fee
- Houwzer agents handle roughly 3x more customers than traditional realtors, which may result in less personalized support throughout your sale
- Houwzer currently operates in five states: FL, MD, PA, NJ, VA
What Is Houwzer?
Houwzer is a real estate brokerage whose core focus is offering home sellers discounted listing fees.
Since launching in Philadelphia in 2014, Houwzer has managed more than $1 billion worth of real estate transactions. Along the way, it’s expanded into Washington, D.C., as well as select metro areas in four more states:
- New Jersey
Houwzer aims to offer the same basic services as traditional realtors — but charge a lot less. While most brokerages charge a percentage-based commission, Houwzer advertises a flat $5,000 listing fee, regardless of home price.
At higher price points, Houwzer’s flat-fee pricing structure could translate into major savings. But, as with many discount brokerages, Houwzer’s customer service approach introduces a few potential tradeoffs into the home-selling process.
How Does Houwzer Work?
Houwzer’s business model is fairly typical for discount brokerages. It advertises commission savings to attract customers, then offsets the reduced rates by:
- Handling more customers per agent (up to 3x as many!)
- Reducing operating costs with a salaried team
- Offering extra discounts to sellers who buy with Houwzer too
- Upselling current customers on add-on services from their title and mortgage divisions
This strategy allows Houwzer to charge a flat listing fee, saving sellers thousands of dollars if they’re selling an expensive home. However, Houwzer may cost MORE than a traditional realtor on homes below $170,000.
|Price Point||Houwzer Fee||Effective Rate||Savings*|
How much does Houwzer cost?
Houwzer charges home sellers a flat $5,000 listing fee. The company expects sellers to offer an additional 2.5% of the sale price in buyer’s agent commission.
|Houwzer Listing Fee||$5,000|
|Buyer's Agent Commission||2.5-3%|
Why 2.5%? Offering a competitive buyer’s agent fee motivates realtors to show your home to their clients. And, in most parts of the U.S., the average commission rate is 2.5-3%, although rates are declining gradually over time.
If you advertise a below-average commission rate, your listing won’t be as attractive to buyer’s agents. This could mean fewer buyers see your home, which minimizes competition and makes it harder to maximize your sale price.
Houwzer’s Buy and Sell Bundle
Houwzer offers an extra $2,500 discount for eligible customers who sell and buy with the company.
Depending on which transaction you complete first, Houwzer will either reduce your listing fee by $2,500 or refund you $2,500 when you close on your new home.
Houwzer claims that the offer doesn’t expire. So, if you sell your current home and decide to rent for a while, you’ll still be eligible for a $2,500 refund if you buy with a Houwzer agent in the future. You’re also allowed to gift your rebate to a friend or family member.
Note that purchases only qualify if Houwzer earns at least $5,000 in buyer’s agent commission, so homes below $170,000 likely won’t be eligible. These sorts of rebates are typically subject to lots of other restrictions, too, including lender approval and state regulations. Learn more about commission rebates.
Houwzer is currently available in five states, as well as Washington, D.C. Here’s where you can find this service.
|Florida||Orange County, Osceola County, Polk County, Seminole County, Volusia County|
|Maryland||Anne Arundel County, Baltimore, Carroll County, Howard County, Prince George's County|
|New Jersey||Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County|
|Pennsylvania||Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia|
|Virginia/Washington, D.C.||Arlington County, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Loudoun County, Manassas, Manassas Park, Montgomery County, Prince William County|
Houwzer vs. Traditional Realtors
Although Houwzer is a discount brokerage, it offers the same general range of services as traditional realtors. However, you may face tradeoffs to your overall service quality.
When you sell with a traditional brokerage, you have a dedicated real estate agent. They know the ins and outs of your situation, so they can provide personalized support through every step of the transaction.
Houwzer’s customer service approach has some notable differences.
Houwzer agents handle 3x more customers
With Houwzer, you’ll still have an agent in charge of your sale, but they may be more hands-off compared to traditional realtors.
Houwzer spins this as a positive, suggesting its agents have “more experience” closing deals. But, in practice, it means Houwzer agents are juggling 3x as many transactions at once.
If your sale gets complicated and you need extra support, you’ll be competing with a lot more other customers for your agent’s attention.
Team-based approach increases the risk of mistakes
Houwzer compensates for its agents’ heavier workload by offloading tasks that don’t require a real estate license to other team members.
This strategy may increase efficiency, but it also increases the risk of mixups and delays. The more people involved in your sale, the more likely that individual team members will miscommunicate or have blind spots that lead to mistakes.
When you’re navigating a home sale, you’ll typically run into many time-sensitive issues. From disagreements over an inspection report to tracking the status of an earnest money deposit, it helps to have an agent who knows the ins and outs of your sale completely.
Luckily, saving on commission doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on service! Our friends at Clever can connect you with top-rated traditional agents in your area who offer a full-service experience — all for just $3,000 or 1%.
Selling With Houwzer
In general, the Houwzer selling experience should be comparable to selling with a traditional realtor. A Houwzer team member will guide you during each stage of the process, from deciding on a list price to signing your closing papers.
Along the way, they’ll provide service and support like:
- Professional photography
- Virtual home tour
- Direct mail advertising
- Negotiating with buyers
- Closing coordination
The main difference is that you’ll work with multiple Houwzer team members throughout your sale and may receive less personalized attention from your listing agent.
Houwzer’s approach is best-suited for desirable homes in competitive markets. If properties like yours are generating bidding wars and “selling themselves,” you may not have much difficulty maximizing your home’s sale price.
But if your home is unique or your selling situation is complicated, you may have a better experience working with a dedicated realtor who has the bandwidth to give your sale the attention it needs.
Buying With Houwzer
If you buy with Houwzer, you’ll experience the same potential service tradeoffs as sellers. A Houwzer agent will guide you through the purchase process, but they may provide less personalized support than a traditional realtor.
But while Houwzer offers sellers discounts on listing fees, it doesn’t advertise any savings for buyers who aren’t selling a home too.
In lieu of built-in savings, Houwzer touts its agents’ local expertise and salary-based compensation structure. Since its agents don’t earn commission, Houwzer claims they provide a “pressure-free” buying experience.
However, Unlike Houwzer, many other discount services offer home buyer rebates to eligible customers. Qualifying buyers receive a portion of the buyer’s agent commission back as a closing cost credit or cash.
For example, our friends at Clever offer a cash-back rebate to eligible home buyers. And since Clever only works with top-selling realtors from major brokerages like Keller Williams and Century 21, you’ll never have to choose between savings and service.
Houwzer Reviews: Pros and Cons
Houwzer offers several advantages compared to conventional, full-price real estate brokerages. However, it’s important to weigh Houwzer pros and cons carefully. Only then can you decide if Houwzer is your best option, or if another discount service provides better value.
Pro: Potential savings for many home sellers
The biggest advantage to selling with Houwzer is that its flat-fee pricing model offers steep discounts to many home sellers.
Houwzer charges every seller a $5,000 listing fee, so the more expensive your home, the more you could save compared to listing with a traditional realtor.
Pro: More services than other flat-fee brokerages
Some discount brokerages that advertise flat listing fees offset their low rates by offering fewer services. For example, some require you to host your own open house. Others won’t even have an agent tour your home before recommending a listing price!
Not so with Houwzer. While its agents are more hands-off compared to traditional realtors, customers can still expect a similar range of services from local agents.
Con: Hands-off approach isn’t right for everyone
To take advantage of Houwzer’s potential savings, you may have to compromise on how much support you get through the selling process.
That’s a fair trade for many sellers, particularly ones who:
- Have lots of experience selling real estate
- Are selling desirable homes in hot markets
However, as this Houwzer review illustrates, the company’s approach isn’t right for everyone. If your home is in less-than-perfect condition, you’re selling in a buyer’s market, or you just want more personalized support, you may find better overall value elsewhere.
Con: Overextended agents may provide subpar service
Houwzer agents handle about 3x as many customers as traditional realtors. The company uses a team-based model to help its agents manage the increased workload, but this approach can only go so far.
Overextended agents can’t devote as much attention to your sale, which increases the risk of mistakes that could cost you money — or even put your entire sale at risk.
One specific Houwzer complaint that appears time and again is subpar communication. Negative reviews suggest that when agents get too busy, they don’t always have the bandwidth to respond to customers promptly.
Con: Limited savings on less expensive homes
Houwzer’s flat-fee pricing model helps you save big on higher-end homes, but the discounts are limited on less expensive properties.
Below $200,000, Houwzer costs about the same as — or more than — a traditional brokerage that charges a 2.5-3% listing fee. And unless your home sells for more than $500,000, you may find better savings with a company that offers full-service support for a discounted commission rate.
Area of concern: Fewer incentives to help you get top-dollar
Compared to traditional realtors, Houwzer’s salaried agents have less direct financial incentive to help you maximize your home’s sale price.
Most brokerages pay their agents on commission, which is generally beneficial for sellers. Since your agent’s income depends on your home’s sale price, they should be motivated to help you sell it for top-dollar.
In contrast, Houwzer agents earn a salary. And according to job listings, the company rewards agents with bonuses based on the “total number” of homes they sell. In other words, Houwzer agents have a clear incentive to help you sell your home — but little direct motivation to make sure you get the best price possible.
This seller felt that his Houwzer agent encouraged him to list his home for less than it was worth so that it would sell more quickly.
Area of concern: Add-on services may not be the best value
Another way Houzwer makes money is by persuading existing customers to use its other in-house services. These include:
- Houwzer Title: Houwzer’s title and settlement company
- Houwzer Mortgage: An in-house mortgage broker
Buying or selling a home can be an overwhelming process, so it’s convenient to use these services rather than shopping around for a mortgage lender and title company. Just remember that although Houwzer has cheap listing fees, that doesn’t mean their other services offer the best value.
We recommend comparing Houwzer’s rates against other local companies to ensure you’re getting the best combination of rates and service quality.
The Best Houwzer Alternatives
Although Houwzer offers genuine savings at higher price points, it comes with some tradeoffs. Depending on your priorities and individual circumstances, you may find better value with one of these Houwzer competitors.
|Company||Average Rating||Locations||Listing Fee||Buyer Rebates||Average Savings*|
|Houwzer||4.8 (1,142 reviews)||DC, FL, MD, NJ, PA, VA||$5,000||$7,000|
|Clever||4.9 (974 reviews)||Nationwide||$3,000 or 1%||$7,375|
|Redfin||3.2 (287 reviews)||Nationwide (select markets)||1.5% (min. fees vary)||$5,550|
|REX||4.7 (765 reviews)||Select states||2.5% (min. fees vary)||-$325|
Houwzer vs. Redfin
With nationwide brand recognition and a proven savings model, Redfin is worth considering if discounted listing fees are your top priority. Redfin’s 1.5% commission rate is more expensive than Houwzer at many price points, but it’s available in more areas and offers more savings opportunities for home buyers.
Houwzer vs. REX Real Estate
REX is a discount brokerage that claims it can save home sellers up to 50% on realtor commission. REX’s strategy involves eliminating the buyer’s agent fee by marketing its listings on social media and other digital platforms rather than advertising them on the MLS.
Unfortunately, this approach is risky — and customer reviews suggest it has a high failure rate.
Houwzer vs. Clever Real Estate
Clever is a free agent-matching service that offers big commission savings WITHOUT the service-quality compromises that may come with Houwzer’s team-based model.
How? Clever pre-negotiates low rates with traditional realtors from major brokerages like RE/MAX and Keller Williams. With Clever, you can sell with a top-rated, full-service agent for a 1% listing fee — or $3,000 if your home sells below $350,000. Eligible buyers may also receive a commission rebate.
If you’re considering Houwzer pros and cons, it’s important to compare all of your discount broker options. Read on to learn about other ways to save.
What Companies Offer the Lowest Real Estate Commission Fees?: Houwzer advertises cheap listing fees, but it’s not the only brokerage that offers savings on realtor commission. Find out which company charges the lowest listing fees.
Discount Real Estate Brokers and Agents: Everything You Need to Know: Selling with a discount real estate broker like Houzwer is often a very different experience from using a traditional realtor. Learn more about how discount brokers work and how to decide which company is the best fit for your situation.
Clever Real Estate: Must-See Reviews: Clever connects home buyers and sellers with top-rated real estate agents in their area. Learn how their free agent-matching service can connect you with full-service realtors who charge just $3,000 or 1%.
Answers to Houwzer FAQs
Is Houwzer legitimate?
Yes, Houwzer is a legitimate company. It's licensed as a real estate brokerage in each of the states where it operates. Online Houwzer reviews confirm that its potential savings are genuine, too. That said, Houwzer customers may encounter some service quality compromises, so it's not the best fit for many sellers.
What are common Houwzer complaints?
The most common Houwzer complaint is that the company's hands-off service approach leads to a less-than-stellar customer experience. Dissatisfied sellers have also complained that they felt Houwzer agents didn't seem motivated to help them get the best price possible for their homes.
Who are Houwzer's top competitors?
Houwzer's top competitors include other discount brokerages like Redfin and Prevu. However, we believe Clever Real Estate is the #1 alternative to Houwzer. With Clever, you can sell with a top-rated realtor from major brokerages like Keller Williams and Century 21 — all for just $3,000 or 1%.
How does Houwzer make money?
Like most discount real estate brokerages, Houwzer makes money by advertising steep discounts on real estate commission to attract a large number of customers. It compensates for its cheap listing fees by having its agents handle 3x as many clients as traditional realtors and upselling current customers on its in-house mortgage broker and title company services.
What states is Houwzer in?
Houwzer currently operates in select cities in Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia. It's also available in Washington, D.C. Somewhere else? Find low commission real estate companies near you.