Faira: Beware the Free Lunch

Startup Firm Faira Promises More than it Delivers

Seattle is Ground Zero for innovation in the real estate industry. WaLaw RealtyRedfin, and of course Houses.Direct all offer consumers an improvement on the traditional experience (whether cost, or service, or both). And many other alternative models have come and gone over the last decade or two (such as Quill Realty and Rebls).

The most promising model today seems to be Faira. With ads on buses and in the media, and multiple rounds of funding, Faira is getting some traction. It is also getting news coverage, such as this recent piece from KIRO 7. And why not? Faira’s marketing pitch is remarkable:

Yep. Free. F-R-E-E. Nada. Zilch. Nothin’. You pay them zero and Faira helps you sell your home. Wow. That is a really good deal. Honestly, it sounds like a deal too good to be true.

Which is exactly right. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Sellers pay for Faira’s services, and they aren’t “free.” Faira doesn’t give away its “secret sauce recipe” easily, though. The Faira Listing Agreement is convoluted and confusing, but two parts really stand out.

Faira Services are FREE to the Seller!

Paragraph 2:

“Fees: Free.”

OK, simple enough. Not too wordy, gets the message across nicely.

Except They Aren’t. Seller Pays a Half Percent

Paragraph 8:

“List Price of the Property: There can be two separate list prices on the Faira platform, one for the buyers who are not represented by the agents, therefore saving the Sellers from paying the buyer’s agent fees, and the other for the buyers who utilize the buyer’s agents. Sellers understand that this can be perceived that the buyers are effectively paying for their own agent. Further, Sellers agree to include Faira fees in both the list prices. The actual purchase price of the property is 99.5% of the agreed offer between the Buyers and the Sellers.”

Whoa. Wait. What was that last part again???

“The actual purchase price of the property is 99.5% of the agreed offer between the Buyers and the Sellers.”

So the buyer and the seller agree on the price, and then .5% of that amount is paid to Faira. That isn’t “free” to the seller. Obviously Faira charges the seller a half percent. A fact that isn’t changed by a poorly written paragraph of “legalese.”

Or more accurately, if this is free, then EVERY SINGLE REAL ESTATE BROKER is free to the seller. Hire Windermere? It’s FREE – you get 94% of the sale price. Redfin? Yup, it’s free too, you get 96% of the sale price. Amazing what can be achieved with rhetorical gymnastics. Something is reduced to nothing….

Houses.Direct is based on real honesty and transparency in real estate. We don't offer a free lunch - because there is no such thing. We've identified the core inefficiency in real estate (which Faira doesn't even address) and we've built a model around eliminating it