Alliance empowers agents amid housing shortage

'Preferred Agent Program' seeks to aid agents in the tri-state area

Alliance empowers agents amid housing shortage

Welcome Homes – self-described as the first tech-powered new home builder – is launching its Preferred Agent Program with Compass Inc. in the tri-state area encompassing New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, officials announced.

Compass Inc. is a Fortune 500 firm dubbed the largest independent residential real estate brokerage in the US. “The way people buy and sell real estate has evolved more in the last two years than any other time in recent history,” said Gordon Golub, regional vice president at Compass.

“Brokerages that innovate the fastest will be able to bring the most value to their agents and in turn their clients. Our relationship with Welcome Homes is a great example of adding value in the midst of this great evolution that we are experiencing as a company and an industry. There could not be a better time to form this relationship because of the existing inventory shortage in today’s market.”

With the number of “for sale” signs dropping 9.5% across the US last year, officials noted, inventory shortages are top of mind for every single-family agent. Unlike most tech-plays in real estate, Welcome Homes wants to empower agents, not circumvent them.

“Knowledge of local markets is essential when helping consumers decide on where to live,” said Alec Hartman, CEO and co-founder of Welcome Homes. “By partnering with Compass, we can drastically improve thousands of families' quality of life by selling them a new home. This is the product agents have been waiting for and can feel great about selling – not only because there’s a lucrative commission structure with Welcome, but because they’ll literally be building communities with us.”

Read more: No magic bullet for housing shortage, says chief economist

Company officials said Welcome Homes’ Preferred Agent Program is essentially the “frequent flyer” program of real estate – incentivizing agents through a scaled commission structure that increases based on the number of homes sold through the platform. There are structured and regional bonuses, as well as an entire back-office suite to support agents in the field.

As part of the program, Welcome Homes will provide:

  • Sales training on its platform and support for agents.
  • Co-branded advertisements.
  • Preferred Agent Program compensation.
  • Live back-office agent chat, text, and phone support.

“We see this relationship with Compass through our Preferred Agent Program as amazingly, mutually beneficial,” said Benjie Buford, VP of Sales of Welcome Homes. “It establishes relationships with thousands of experienced local sales professionals and helps them overcome the huge inventory shortage issues by building the homes their buyers want and need.”

Read next: REIT investment touted amid housing shortage

The Compass relationship announcement comes on the heels of the success Welcome Homes has seen in the Tri-State area, with plans to expand across the East Coast in the coming months, and nationally over the next 24 months to provide agents across the country with more inventory and options for their clients.

The collaboration was partly prompted by the housing shortage. Welcome Homes officials cite research from that estimates the US is currently short some 5.8 million single-family homes, whereas before the pandemic the gap was 3.8 million. estimates it would take five to six years for that gap to close even if builders were to double the current pace of construction.

Depending on whose data you read, there is a shortfall of between five million single family homes, according to the National Association Realtors, and the National Association of Home Builders’ more conservative estimate of about one million. According to the NAHB, there has been a reduction in the number of household formations, due to the fact that the share of 25- to 34-year-olds living with their parents had doubled to roughly 20% in the last 20 years.

Welcome Homes is described as the world’s first tech-enabled new home builder, creating a more seamless and price-transparent home-buying process.

“We cut out the unnecessary steps to make building your client’s dream home fast, easy and guaranteed. We completely streamline the entire process, from land selection to customization to financing and construction,” company officials describe. “Our models are available in the Tri-State area, including Westchester County, NY, Greenwich, CT, and Bergen and Morris Counties, NJ.” Welcome Homes is expanding to more areas around the US, according to company officials.