A New Real Estate Company, with a Twist, Opens its Doors

Do you know someone who’s looking to buy a home in Essex County? A new non-traditional real estate company has opened its doors in Montclair to interested buyers.

Habitat is different from traditional real estate agencies in that it only represents home buyers–never sellers–eliminating the conflict of interest that can occur when buying a home.

“Most buyers don’t realize how important it is to have proper representation in a real estate transation.” said Clayton Borchard, Broker of Record at Habitat. “Unless the buyer signs a buyer’s agreement with an agency, the fiduciary responsibility of those showing available home will always be to the seller. Their main objective is to get the house sold. At Habitat, our main objective is to get the buyer into the house that is right for them.”

In most cases, Habitat also rebates their commission directly to clients at closing. In turn, the company charges its clients a flat fee to handle the transaction. For more on how it works, click here. You can estimate your own potential rebate with their cash back calculator on their home page.

“Habitat’s cash rebates can be significant,” said Gerald DeNicola, a Habitat agent, Montclair resident, and one of the company’s founding partners. “On a $500,000 sales price, Habitat clients could receive up to $8,000 back at closing. What could be better than getting some cash in your pocket after making such a significant purchase?”

Habitat represents buyers looking for homes in Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Clifton, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Nutley and Verona. The agency’s offices are located at Academy Square, 33 Plymouth Street, Suite 206. For more on the company, log on to their website or their Facebook page.

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  1. Interesting idea, but 6 pct of 500k is 30k, which is split between to real estate agents on both sides. So shouldn’t Habitat be returning “as much as” 15k to the buyers?

  2. How is there not a conflict of interest? The Realtor does not get paid unless you buy a house. The conflict may and usually is manageable but it is still a conflict of interest.

  3. I honestly don’t think the Baristas actually ever read (or even half-challenge on a factual basis) these press releases full of such self-serving guff before they run them here. As indicated by the three much wiser comments above from readers.

    This is not at all journalism, in other words.

  4. I think it is a brilliant idea. The last two houses I bought I found myself online but had to go through my agent to do the deal. I hated the fact that the agent and his company got ~$20K in commission for a house that I found. Looks like Habitat takes just $7,000 of their commission and gives the rest to the buyer. Pretty cool idea to me!

  5. 1stmtn, I think what they are saying is that they don’t take listings and eliminate that potential conflict.

    A lot of people do not know that commission rebates are legal, but they are. I know of a company in Boston that does this and they are pretty successful. As long as the agents are good and provide the same level of detail and service, it can be a win, win.

  6. I read the profiles and perhaps Habitat plans to make money on additional services as one colleague is interior design + license contractor and other RE investor so they offer services a new home owner can benefit from.

    This slightly reminds me of FoxTons during the real estate boom and one can hope it creates a notch in the real estate pyramid. Quite, amazing hte amount of service one receives outside of NY/NJ for a $150k home vs. NJ in anything under $450k you are considered low priority.

  7. So, let me just see if I have this right. As a buyer, if I go to one of the “traditional” agencies, I don’t pay anything. The seller pays the realtors’ fees. But if I use Habitat, I have to pay them? Seems to me the “rebate” is a clever way to distract from the fact that “traditional” buyers’a agents are free for their buyer clients and these guys charge. Never mind the fact that their description of the fiduciary obligations is all wrong.

  8. You in fact have it wrong, jsmom. If you go with a “traditional” agency, they keep all the commission and the buyer gets nothing. If you go with Habitat, they rebate most of their commission back to the buyer. Seems to me that it is a clever business proposition, not a clever distraction.

    There are buyers who may prefer this option. So why post negative comments about a new business in town trying to make a go of it? How about just wishing these guys good luck?

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