The average sales price of a Manhattan apartment reached a record-setting $1.87M this year. The standard real-estate agent commission is 6%. That means a Manhattan homeowner selling an apartment can expect to pay a agent's commission of around $112,000.
That's a huge hire — and yet most people pick an agent based on a word-of-mouth or a casual, friendly acquaintance.
Enter Vijay Iyengar, a former Managing Director at Goldman Sachs. He'd spent his career working in fixed income markets, where everyone had all the information they needed to make good decisions. And he realized that there needed to be a market-based, information-based way to match sellers and agents.
So he launched KOUNTER.
KOUNTER is a web based platform where sellers can compare the best agents and agents can find eager sellers.
With KOUNTER, homeowners looking for an agent to help with their sale can, in a matter of minutes, enter the details of their apartment — location, size, amenities, but not their specific apartment number. Participating agents are then notified of the potential new client and submit proposals to the job, including their affiliation, experience, sales volume, and suggested commission. (Homeowners' personal information is never shared until they authorize KOUNTER to share it with an agent.)
It's the maturation of the residential industry which needs an open market solution, where homeowners can get clear, comparable information from prospective agents.