Inspired by a friend who lost their dream home in a bidding war when their real estate agent went to a party for a few hours, Bay area real estate investors Amit Haller and Ami Avrahami hope to overhaul the entire process with their new app named Reali. They wanted to take the middleman out of the equation altogether with an app that lets you handle every step of the process yourself, with on-call help available along the way.
Buyers start by submitting their mortgage pre-approval paperwork through the app, at which point a Reali employee will verify all the documents. Once you’ve been approved, you’re free to browse available houses. If you find something you like, you’re able to schedule what the company calls an “on-demand open house” at whatever time works best for you.
Where the app really starts to separate itself from its competitors is once that open house starts. It can remotely unlock the door to the house, eliminating the need for an agent to let you in. Once inside, Reali homes will have Bluetooth beacons placed throughout the home, which beam the information about the home to the app, according to Business Insider. If you need more information, you can chat with a Reali expert real-time right through the app.
If you like what you see, you submit your offer through the app, where the seller can view all of the interested parties in one place. The app keeps you up-to-date as the process goes on, alerting you to any counter offers, giving you a chance to respond immediately.
The best part is at the end. Because it has removed a lot of the legwork needed to sell a house, Reali only charges a flat $2,950 administrative fee. The 2.5 percent of the selling price that is the typical buyer’s commission has the $2,950 taken out of it and the rest goes back to the buyer as cash back at close of escrow. On a $1.7-million home, Reali estimates that rebate to just shy of $40,000.
If that house cost just gave you pause, you must not be in Reali’s market. Reali is only available in Palo Alto, where homes regularly cost $2 million. Reali says it is working on expanding to other cities and states, over the course of the next year. Another area where Reali needs to expand is its OS support: Reali is only available on iOS, but has plans to make it to Android soon.