DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA -- I want to disclose fully that I am a former sales representative for BuyOwner out of the Chicago area. The new owner took over in 2011 and the headquarters is located in Delray Beach, Florida. I only went on appointments for a little over a month (July 2011) before they closed the office. I certainly wasn't involved long enough to be disgruntled and I liked the people who worked out of the same office. I am glad that it is over though since the service is way too expensive and sellers are much better off taking their business elsewhere.
Once someone pays them to advertise their home, a couple of hourly employees put the home on their website within a couple hours and the cost is $2000 to $5500 depending on the number of photos and virtual tours included. That's very little work and a lot of money to simply be put on a website that hardly anyone visits anymore. Their website still shows a "customer service" address in Woodridge, IL which is the "Chicago "office that closed. I guess they decided to leave it up on the website to give people the impression they have a dedicated customer service department.
If the customer pays the balance over 4-6 months then the representative is supposed to be paid a percentage of those payments. My last sale with them opted for payments and paid one payment which I was paid on before the office closed. After that, the owner decided there was no need to pay me a little over a lousy $100.00 in commissions on the other payments the customer made.
I asked him to pay me in an email and he ignored my request. I guess he figured since there was no longer an office in Chicago why bother paying me. So I let the rest of the representatives know about this in a mass email and one of them actually physically threatened me if I put this information on the Internet.
Hard to believe that people with short tempers like that are going into people's homes. They do not do background checks on the independent representatives (at least they did not with me) so you could be letting felons, rapist or child molesters into your home.
Anyway, the new owner did respond to my mass email letting everyone know that he cheated me. He didn't deny it but instead went off on some tangent pleading for sympathy ADMITTING that the company has failed by not changing their old ways. I feel sorry for all the people he let go in the Chicago office and those still aboard his sinking ship than I do him. I gave him another chance to make good on the commission letting him know he was not leaving me many options but to take this information to the internet.
I purposely did not share the final request with all the others in my email. He responded that I forgot to not realizing it was intention and asked me to share the links with him. Hard to believe he doesn't have better things to do and would want this information on the Internet when it could have been avoided for a little over a $100. It is my hope that this information does cost him business although he is doing a pretty good job on his own making that happen. Do you really want to give your money to someone who would cheat someone else out of $100.00 or to a guy who admits his company is failing?
FLORIDA -- I cringe when I see the BuyOwner commercials on TV. BuyOwner is a rip off for most people. Sure, anyone can sell a house in 3 days if they price their house so low it can't miss. I think that's what happens with these people. The other people either lie or are tricked into saying things that are taken out of context.
A "marketing specialist" came to my home to "design a custom marketing plan specifically for my property." This woman should be ashamed of herself. The day before my 24 year old daughter explained to the woman my devastating financial situation where I was being forced to sell my home. She also told her how distraught I would be when we met. The woman assured my daughter that she only had my best interests at heart and would come up with a plan so that I could sell the house in just days.
She told her (and the next day told me) that she could accomplish this because she is a Realtor as well as having gone to school for marketing etc. and has her broker's license. She said that 90% of all her properties sell because "I am a detail oriented person." She showed us her Rolls in the driveway saying she got it for cost because she saved the owner of the dealership $75,000.00 using BuyOwner.
We fell for everything hook line and sinker. In reality all her "skills" that she was enticing us with are useless. She is nothing more than the sales person who talks you into buying one of their 3 high priced plans. I chose the middle plan for $4,000. I didn't have the money for it so she "suggested" I put it on my credit card. I told her I wouldn't be able to make the payments on my card (which was zero balance) but she said, "Just put it on the card and you'll only have to pay $100 or so for a month or two. Then your house will be sold and you can take the money and pay the card right off."
I bought that too. She was very pleasant and very persuasive. I guess she eased her conscience by asking me several times if I was sure or if I could handle people coming to the house & telling me how much she loves her work. She told me I could sell the house in 3 days & she would put me on the internet that same night. In reality it took several days of communication with customer service and me waiting for them to get back to me with papers I had to sign.
That woman gave me 3 signs and took some pictures and I've not seen hide nor hair of her since. She had indicated she would be there for me throughout. To the average person that translates... being helpful and keeping in touch.
When I called customer service about her they said, "She's just the sales woman." I said, "Then why did she convince me to buy with all her stories of success and her education etc.?" Customer Service said, "Gee, I don't know why she would mention anything like that."
So for $4,000 I was given 3 signs to stick in my yard. A fellow came by the next week and took pictures for a virtual tour and "professional" pictures. I looked at the pictures and liked them well enough. It took a week or more to have the old photos removed & the new ones put in even though customer service told me it was already done when I called them. "Oops."
It took well over another week to have the virtual tour people remove the big tripod out of the tour of my bathroom. And then it was only done after me calling CS 3 times to complain. I have received one phone call about my house and the woman wanted to know if I would drop the price $60,000.
Don't use BUYOWNER. Save your money. If you want to sell it yourself you can put pictures on free sites on the internet yourself. You can make brochures yourself on your computer or have a local company type one up for you for $100 or less. You can go to Wal-Marts and purchase For Sale signs and a box to hold your self made brochures. You can advertise in the newspaper yourself. All for far less than wasting your money on BuyOwner. I ended up going with a Realtor.
Today I had to take the last of my savings out of the bank to pay off the credit card. Now on top of paying 6% to a realtor I have to sit with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach over the wasted $4000. Please, be smarter than I was.
I thought I was being smart, saving a lot of money, teaching those overpaid real estate agents a lesson. I'm the one learning the lesson. I first signed up with BuyOwner, paid my $4000 for their premium package. Told I would sell quickly! When the ad first came on the internet, I had to make many corrections, it was as if some just closed their eyes and wrote. I realized in a week I had made a mistake but I knew it was too late.
I decided to sign up with their MLS real estate comp, and put in on the MLS. What ever you do, do not do this!!! And do not sign their 6 month contract, industry standard is 3 months, and that's with competent companies! Make them add an addendum, that if you are unhappy with their service, that they will give you an unconditional withdrawal, and out of your contract!!! But avoid all of this by NOT selling with BuyOwner in the first place. Don't believe the commercials, those testimonials are few and far between. And if you are selling a house over $300K Sell with the professional!
I was told when I finally went with their MLS company, that they would allow me out of my contract and I wouldn't have to pay the $750 cancellation fee. That moment came quickly, and they refused to honor their promise. Most real estate companies, will freely allow you out of your contract if you're not happy! This is good business. But the Sharks at MLS, will lie, as they did with me, to get you to sign. Their ethics are reprehensible, and should have their license revoked by the Real Estate Board. You can negotiate with your real estate company for a better rate, do that, but stay away from "BuyOwner.com". I regret this decision every day, don't you make the same mistake!
My husband and I consider ourselves consumer savvy. We are reasonably intelligent and highly educated (we both have post-graduate degrees), but for the first time in our lives, we have fallen hook line and sinker. BuyOwner is one of the biggest scams ever. The initial agent promised us a write-up for the website and photographs. The write up was so generic as to be meaningless - competing properties had chunks of identical wording. Needless to say, we substituted our own wording.
They used generic photographs - the pool was not our pool, the tennis courts were not our tennis courts, the beach was not our beach. We excused that and got on with our job of trying to sell the condo. We had virtually zero response so decided to hand over our property to MLS Realty. Our initial contact had promised us (in writing) a deal whereby we would pay 2.5% commission if there was no buyer agent involved, 4.5% otherwise with a 25% rebate of the seller side commission. The MLS realty rep (who was also our BuyOwner Title rep) refused to honor the agreement.
Not only that but he refused to acknowledge that the standard 6% commission had any "seller side" component. After arguing with him till we were blue in the face, we gave in and accepted his terms. We're already regretting it - we doubt his competence, he doesn't have an office in the area, and if he sells our property the commission + BuyOwner fee will be around 7% of our selling price. We could have done one of realtor acquaintances with a local office and clients a favour by letting her list it and still have paid less.
The problem is that you lay out so much money upfront to BuyOwner. And when you fail to sell the house yourself, you feel trapped into accepting their terms for MLS listing. I think their services work very well for people wanting to BUY property, may work OK for sellers on a sellers' market, and they are a godsend for incompetent MLS realtors who get listings handed to them on a plate. But for the average Joe wanting to sell his house, they are sharks waiting to devour him.
My advice to anybody considering their services is this: (1) Don't sign any deal at the initial interview. That agent may make promises based on your signing immediately that hold no water. (2) Don't assume that agent will describe your property correctly - he is probably a relatively incompetent fish in the real estate pond. (3) Be prepared to be tied in knots by their deceptive wording on their agreements. Either my husband and I have lost our marbles, or our MLS Realty agent doesn't respond to normal logic.
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- I placed my home on the market with BuyOwner in October of 2006. There was an upfront fee of about $3000. It sat on the market with 4 showings until May. I got fed up and listed it on the MLS. I received 3 written offers in 72 hours and closed the next month. BuyOwner can compete with MLS in Texas.
BuyOwner took over 6 weeks just to get the pictures and virtual tours up on their website!!! The claim to be only a marketing company, but they don't even do that. They simply cash your check and send some high school kid by with a low res digital camera to take some pictures that could be duplicated with a decent camera phone. They eventually, with many complaints, sent a decent photographer out and got the paid for pictures up on the web site but it took months. Stay away from these guys! I used a flat listing service to finally sell my home $400 to list on MLS plus the 3% buyer's agent commission. This gave excellent results.
They tell you all the good things about their Service. You pay up front - in my case 5600.00 dollars. We had a lot of calls and hits on the web site in 1st month. Then the calls stopped, web slowed down, I had one yes one serious call that I believe came from 1 of their people in their office - we never showed the house. This went on 7 months. We went and got a real estate agent and sold in 2 weeks for more than we were asking on buyowner.com. And they put a lien on the property so that we had to use their title company - we did not know that and it cost us another 1441.00 Dollars. Don't get fooled by the smooth talking sales rep they're good - real good at playing it up.
FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- I would Echo the complaints listed on this site. Save your money and either list it on the MLS (and pay the 3% commission to the buyer's agent) or bit the bullet for a full service broker. The amount of traffic we received from BuyOwner.com was minimal: 3 phone calls and 2 visits. Since the BuyOwner.com debacle, we have begun to advertise in the local paper. Thus far, advertising in the local paper has generated more interest than BuyOwner.com.
I realize BuyOwner.com is a marketing service and will not sell my home for me. I think most buyers still require the hand holding that a buyer's agent provides. This was a real disappointment and a good lesson learned - even though it cost 3K: Perform more research and don't rush decisions.
Can you believe a company is actually making a fortune having us PAY THEM UP FRONT FIRST, before they get our house sold? I tried! It costs A LOT for a magazine (people just BROWSE through), and websites (they WINDOWSHOP from), and lookey lucys emailing silly questions to you! I have learned, Real Estate companies bring buyers in who they KNOW INFORMATION about. Not suspicious, nosey people that are probably just "casing" our place! I say Thanks BuyOwner, for taking my money! And NO SALE. Now I say NO Thanks, to me doing all the work and paying all the money too!
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA -- I wish I had read the reviews of BuyOwner first. I was "sold" on the same sales speeches of hundreds of hits per month, etc. $2000 and three months later... not one contact let alone an offer. Their copy writing leaves something to be desired also. They will make changes via regular mail and will not record the audio until turned in. So with processing time, one week. That is if they get it right (which they didn't) and you don't have to do it all over again. I'll be working with a real estate agent now on as I'm out of time. If you have the time, search for free listing sites and try "Craigslist". Just as much coverage, if not more. So much for saving money.
GEORGIA -- We listed our home with BuyOwner in June of 2007. We didn't get any reply at all from their web site listing for at least 4 months. Then, we got 2 inquiries via email, both asking us for details on the property. Those details were listed in the web site. What more did they want? No one ever came to our house for a viewing from seeing the property on the web site. What we paid them was a total waste of our hard earned money. My advice is to list your house with a reputable agent and get it on MLS if you want results. Thanks for nothing BuyOwner! They need to be run out of business!