Business in Focus: Houwzer

February 4, 2019 | Business In Focus

A closer look at companies executing leadership excellence

Houwzer_White“Would you like a career with a stable and steady income? Then being a real estate agent is NOT the job for you.” That’s a description of what it’s like to work in the real estate industry according to a recent article posted in Redfin. It’s also a model that Philadelphia-based Houwzer founder, Mike Maher set out to break. A 2018 Gallup survey found that Americans perceive real estate agents as having very low standards of honesty and ethics. Part of that distrust is due to the fact that the very people who advise you through the largest purchase of your life base 100% of their income on whether or not you sign on the dotted line. That’s a model that Houwzer is disrupting.

The company has 50 full-time employees, most of whom are real estate agents who receive a salary instead of a commission. Each Houwzer agent becomes a licensed realtor, and goes through rigorous training before they ever begin working with clients. After a  thorough onboarding process, they join a team with other realtors to share insights, receive ongoing training and certifications, and frequently train on industry best practices with their supervisor.

Houwzer also differentiates itself in the marketplace by eliminating the 3% seller commission fee.  Instead, it charges a $995 flat fee to cover the costs of marketing the listing, which the seller pays when a sale is closed.

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Finally, Houwzer is the only real estate brokerage B (or Benefit) Corporation in the nation. “There is so much broken in this business,” according to Maher. “We’re selling brick and mortar, and yet we’re not involved in our communities. Real estate has so many implications—socio-economic, gentrification. Yet we act like we’re doing just another transaction.” The company annually donates 2.5% of profits to charity, commits 2.5% of employees’ time to volunteering in the community, and gives employees a 5% ownership interest.

Kudos to Houwzer for disrupting the real estate model, and creating a culture of dignity for your employees and your community!

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