By Ben Rodgers
HOBART – A 74-year-old nationally syndicated real estate columnist based in Hobart wants to modernize the industry with a new way to buy and sell a home.
Dick Montgomery pens the Dear Monty column that has run in print from California to Florida, up to New England and over to Oregon.
Montgomery said his columns help those who write with questions, but he realized it wasn’t enough.
“I’ve never counted them, but I’m sure I have over 5,000 questions I’ve answered,” he said.
Montgomery responds to every question sent in, as Ann Landers did.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘I’m contributing. I’m helping all these people. I’m getting thank-you notes. I’m doing a good job,’” he said. “Then it hit me. In that same period that I helped those 5,000 people, the real estate industry churned 70 million transactions. I was painting the ceiling when the roof leaked.”
Now, with the help of about a dozen experts and a year of work, he has launched zzzipmatch.com, an online platform to directly connect home buyers and sellers with the potential to simplify the transaction and save them from real estate commissions.
A typical Dear Monty column might be about a buyer who is unhappy with a home inspector after being referred by a real estate agent and questioning if the two are working together.
“That’s the effect, the cause is that real estate agents are working in two archaic systems,” Montgomery said. “The first is the multiple listing service (MLS), which first appeared in the early 1900s. It’s an opaque, archaic method with a fractured architecture to share members’ listing inventory that is not publicly available. The real estate agent is the filter necessary to get any glimpse of today’s market.”
Montgomery said the second system is the model which the real estate brokerage business operates.
“Low entry-level requirements, inadequate and misdirected training, little supervision and an internally focused mindset on a playing field tilted heavily against the consumer,” he said. “The business model pits agent against agent, even those who work at the same company. Both of these systems are extremely inefficient. No one is to be blamed for how it has evolved. It’s simply time to improve it.”
Montgomery said one of the tools one can purchase for $49 on Zzzipmatch is the Barometer.
Real estate activity in a hyper-local neighborhood changes whenever a home goes on the market or sells, he said, and these transactions happen frequently.
Depending on the neighborhood market, these changes magnify the effect of the balance between supply and demand.
For example, a home could be placed on the market in a buyer’s market, and three months later, receive an offer in a market now favoring the seller, he said.
Montgomery said keeping track of the ever-changing hypermarkets should be a consideration before making an offer, changing the price, or when initially placing a home on the market.
This product is available publicly to home buyers or sellers and has the potential to change the industry, Montgomery said.
“This is a disruptor that is brand new to home marketing,” he said. “Zzzipmatch is not a real estate company, but a technology company that brings all of the components of the current real estate industry into the hands of the consumer online, without the conflicts of interest. The business is a peer-to-peer-based website directly connecting home sellers and buyers. It provides the tools they need to make fully informed decisions during the buying and selling process.”
Montgomery said what makes it unique is Zzzipmatch is doing this without bias.
“We don’t work for the seller, and we don’t work for the buyer, we work for the truth, we’re unbiased,” Montgomery said.
On Zzzipmatch, he said sellers can pick from three different priced packages based on their level of industry knowledge and their available time to actively participate in the home sale.
They pay upfront for the package, but there is no real estate commission.
For example, a house selling for $275,000 will cost $2,695 for the white glove Zzzipmatch package, or carry a commission of $16,500 with a real estate company, Montgomery said.
If the buyer is a Zzzipmatch customer, the seller saves about $13,800, and the buyer’s equity is nearly intact, he said.
“We’re bringing transparency, we’re bringing education, we’re bringing standardization and specialization through technology to an industry that in my mind is still like the Wild West,” Montgomery said. “Technology is changing the way people buy and sell products. AirB&B is the largest room provider in the world, and they don’t own any buildings. Uber, Amazon and others have led the way. I think the consumer will see the benefit of Zzzipmatch because it makes the transaction simple, efficient and inexpensive.”
For more information, visit zzzipmatch.com.