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(SPONSORED) – Local Real Estate Startup Launches in Decatur

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(SPONSORED) – Local Real Estate Startup Launches in Decatur


Fred McGill

Growing up in Atlanta, I was always fascinated by the rapid growth of the city — constantly seeing new roads, bridges, homes and shopping centers pop up around me. My father was a real estate developer and he passed on a passion for real estate to me as a child.

Despite working for many years in the technology sector, I’ve been involved in real estate for about 12 years in one form or another. During the last 2–3 years, I’ve noticed a pronounced shift in how consumers are researching, discovering and choosing the homes that they buy. It’s no secret that smartphones have accelerated homebuyers access to property information but the remarkable thing is that tech advancements have actually shifted the workload away from Realtors and onto home buyers.  As a result, savvy buyers in particular seem to be doing much of the legwork in the search process independently before even speaking to a Realtor.

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Because of the proliferation and accuracy or property data, buyers have begun driving the home discovery process and managing much of it on their own. As you might imagine, this phenomenon has begun to somewhat diminish the need for a Realtor at the front-end of the buying process. Today’s buyers really only need help with two things — scheduling showings and making offers — they can find houses on their own. At SimpleShowing, we envision the buyer being able to drive the home showing process as well — in the same fashion that they are driving the home search process.

While we’re thrilled to be doing something innovative in real estate, we’re even more pumped to deliver huge value to consumers right here in Atlanta. In choosing a place to get started, I felt Decatur represented the perfect balance of an established, intown city and a progressive base of residents. Our goal for launching in Decatur is to offer expert real estate services at a fraction of the cost of traditional real estate brokerages. The coolest part is that we do all the same stuff as a typical Realtor – such as pricing analyses, full service MLS listings, home showings, contract negotiation and even video tours like this one.

What SimpleShowing does and why it exists

15 years ago you could barely figure out the price of a home without looking in the newspaper, pulling a flyer from a yard sign or contacting a Realtor. Today, consumers not only have tools like Zillow, but mobile apps to facilitate the home search and valuation process. Consumers are more empowered than ever and more prepared to make informed decisions on their own. Most people that are looking at houses today are the same folks that have bought their first book from Amazon.com. And unlike previous generations, younger buyers are very comfortable making big transactions online (yes, even home purchases). These same buyer resist opaque, cumbersome and inefficient services — which is how most would describe the home buying process that exists today.

Even the National Association of Realtors admits that home buyers are doing more work than ever these days. The trade group reports that about 8 in 10 home buyers find the home that they ultimately purchase on their own, without the help of a Realtor. But, because the average consumer perceives agent services to be “free,” most opt to use an agent to tours homes and submit offers.  Realistically, for a $400,000 home, the homebuyer pays their agent $12,000 in commission to unlocks doors and write an offer. And while many first-time buyers might feel that this value is on par with the service they’ve received, a growing number of consumers feel competent to complete the majority of the buying process on their own – sans agent.

For the most part, buyers today can search independently on their favorite app but are somewhat stuck if they want to tour a property in person. In other words, they have the search/discover phase whipped but are not always comfortable calling listing agents directly or attending open houses. Our goal is to help solve for this. Is aim is to help consumers tour homes before engaging an agent, or even without an agent at all. The value proposition is not only one of convenience but more importantly, one of tremendous financial savings.

More importantly, we want to provide a mechanism for buyers to choose from a curated list of experienced agents who have agreed to refund 50% of their commission back to the buyer. In short, our customers can book home tours on any property through our app, on-demand, without officially “hiring” an agent. Our web application requests permission from the seller or selling agent on your behalf. And once you’ve toured a home and are ready to make an offer, SimpleShowing acts and feels exactly like a traditional Realtor — except at a fraction of the cost. Naturally, most buyers still need help making an offer and negotiating. For this reason, we are fully licensed to provide end-to-end real estate services, support and guidance.

A lot has changed in real estate in the last 10 years. More than half of home buyers are millennials, technology is better, consumers are smarter and data is not only ubiquitous, but much more accurate. These are some of the reasons why I’m excited to play a small role in delivering a small dose of innovation to Atlanta—  starting right here in Decatur. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, or just want to chat, please reach out any time!