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Startup brokerage offering flat-fee services — to buyers

By January 20, 2015 One Comment

A Seattle startup brokerage is providing services to buyers including legal representation on a flat-fee basis, offering clients several options depending on the level of service they need and what they’re willing to pay. 

Quill Realty, which launched last year offering to represent buyers for a commission equal to 2 percent of a home’s sale price, has introduced a $3,500 flat-fee option for buyers that includes one tour, one offer, and one inspection. 

On a $600,000 home purchase, the company says buyers choosing that option can receive a rebate that saves them more than $14,000 in commissions compared to traditional commission of 2.5 percent to 3 percent.

Buyers can also hire a Quill Realty agent for the company’s standard fee of 2 percent. They monitor listings themselves, and Quill rebates whatever commission it’s paid by the listing broker over and above its 2 percent fee. If buyers want the brokerage to screen listings and “pre tour” homes to find the most suitable home for them, Quill rebates $1,000.

“This isn’t a loss leader, it’s a sustainable pricing strategy,” said Quill Realty founder and designated broker Craig Blackmon in a statement.

Blackmon is a lawyer-turned-real-estate-broker who concluded that real estate agents aren’t equipped to interpret the legal language found in real estate documents.

Quill Realty hires real estate lawyers affiliated with the company to represent all of its clients, paying them “on a competitive flat fee basis.”

The brokerage says its agents are paid a salary rather than on commission so that clients can “count on objective guidance that puts [their] interests first.”

Although flat-fee brokerages are not unusual, they typically provide services to sellers, such as entering information about a home into a multiple listing service. Quill Realty says it launched with a focus on buyers and will soon add services for sellers.  

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