At first sight, Suitey looks like nothing more than a run-of-the-mill real estate website. But while sites like Trulia and Zillow merely provide a listing of available properties from a large assortment of brokerages and owners, all the properties on Suitey are being directly offered by Suitey itself.
That’s because Suitey is a fully fledged real estate brokerage, and they believe they’re the first software-powered brokerage that offers a better, more transparent home buying experience.
At their core, Trulia and Zillow are really nothing more than virtualized billboards. They provide a centralized location for brokers and owners to advertise their for-sale properties.
Let’s say you’re looking for a new apartment, and you’ve narrowed down your list to five places. That means you’ll probably have to deal with five different real estate brokers, which from experience can be a total nightmare.
With Suitey, everything is simplified. Once again, let’s say you’re looking for an apartment in Manhattan (for now, Suitey only offers listings in New York City). Once you narrow things down to five options on their website, you can contact a Suitey agent who will set a time to view all the properties with you. In the future, you’ll be able to video chat with the agent directly from the website.
This face-to-face experience with Suitey’s agents is key to the company’s ethos. “We want to ensure that our agents are people you’d feel comfortable buying a home from,” says David Walker, CEO of Suitey. He tells me that Suitey’s agents are heavily vetted by the company before they are hired in a process that ensures their competence and general likability.
Once you’ve agreed to buy the home, Suitey gives you a one percent discount to sweeten the deal. That may not seem like much, but if you’re buying property for several million dollars, that rebate ends up being a couple thousand dollars you can put towards your deposit.
“I’ve never heard of anything quite like it, and it would interesting to see what happens,” says Laura Goldstein, Managing Editor of AOL Real Estate. “People have such a bad association with real estate agents, and the customer service approach feels very appealing.”
(Disclosure: AOL is the parent company of TechCrunch)