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Real estate firm to hire nearly 1,000 new employees by year’s end

SHARE Real estate firm to hire nearly 1,000 new employees by year’s end

Johnny Hanna, CEO and co-founder of Homie, shows solar lights that come with Homie real estate signs at the company’s headquarters in Draper on June 7, 2017. The company said Wednesday it will be adding 1,000 agents.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah-based tech-centric real estate company Homie on Wednesday announced plans to expand its business and add 1,000 new buy-side real estate agents across all of its markets. The hiring blitz to bring on a wave of seasoned professionals is in response to robust home sales in Utah and other border states within the company’s market reach.

The company currently operates in five states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah.

“We’ve divided our Realtors in our company to be over the buy-side or over helping people to list homes,” according to Homie co-founder and CEO Johnny Hanna. “We have Realtors that just sell homes all day, every day, and others that help you tour homes all day, every day. The traditional agent typically handles both sides of the transaction where we feel it’s just better for the consumer, and better for the process overall, to have somebody that specialized, (who can be) even more of an expert in that field.”

The company plans to hire the new employees over the next several months, with most of them in Utah.

The increased focus on attracting buyer agents comes at a time when the company is seeing record numbers of buyers wanting to find properties in today’s hypercompetitive real estate market, he said.

“Buy-side only agents focus on helping our customers find the right home for their situation, ensuring that they bring more focus, expertise and attention to their customers,” he added.

Over the past five months, the company has expanded its employee base by over 76% to reach its current level of 440 workers — about 100 of whom are buyer agents. Launched in 2015, the tech-enabled real estate firm has increased the total number of buyer agents by 129% since the start of the year.

“We’ve found that by hiring experienced buyer agents and freeing them up to do what they do best, our overall customer satisfaction scores have increased substantially,” Hanna said.

Utah’s housing market is among the hottest in the West with median prices for homes at nearly $400,000, according to research from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. He said with listings of for-sale properties down 65% statewide from this time last year, demand is expected to be high as prospective buyers try to find the ideal place to purchase.

Hanna added that the coronavirus pandemic has affected the housing market in significant ways — including the jump in people working from home — that have exacerbated the already tight residential real estate sector.

“People are moving out of apartments. They want a place to call their own knowing that they’re probably going to be there all day, not going to an office,” he said. “That’s where COVID has had such a massive effect.”

Hanna said the company will make a serious push to fill the new positions as soon as possible to be ready for the height of the homebuying season.

“By the end of this year is what we were planning on — when we wanted to hit 1,000 (buyer agents). We’d like to do that sooner than later,” he said. “(We want to bring) transparency to consumers, we feel they deserve that transparency. If we can get there sooner than later and save people money this spring and this summer, as opposed to getting all 1,000 by the end of this year, it’ll be a win-win — a win for us and a win for consumers.”