Jonas Helbert started brokerage Streetlight to rival the traditional commission-based business model.

New Dayton area brokerage firm aimed at helping Realtors

A new brokerage company wants to help buyers, sellers and real estate agents save money in a hot housing market.

Jonas Helbert has been a Realtor for three years, but started his owner brokerage a few months ago. Most brokerages open and then recruit agents to work underneath the name in exchange for a chunk of each Realtor’s commission, but Helbert said he’s going to operate Streetlight Realty as an extension of himself and won’t charge agents any commission.

“I’m trying to do things a little bit different than most brokerages…the model I plan on using is not going to be something you see here locally currently,” Helbert said.

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Traditional brokerage setups require commissions to be paid through the brokerage. Of that commission, the real estate agent gets a percentage based on their experience and deal with the broker.

For example, an average commission a home seller must pay is 6 percent of the sales price. On Dayton’s average home sales price of $137,500, that’s $8,250. That commission is typically split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent, so the listing agent takes away $4,125.

But that money doesn’t belong to the agent. It belongs to the brokerage the agent works under. New agents could make less than half of that, where more experienced agents may get more than three quarters. That means on the average Dayton home, a new Realtor making 50 percent of the commission would take about $2,063 and the brokerage would take the other $2,062.

“I don’t like that model. If you do a lot of business, you pay a broker $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 a year or more if you’re doing the volume and they don’t provide the benefit of $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 a year,” he said. “I figured there’s got to be a better way to do it.”

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Brokers typically provide training to agents and marketing tools like websites, professional photography and 3D walkthroughs of homes for sellers. But in Helbert’s experience, most of the time, those services don’t equate to the value of benefit Realtors get from their brokers, and many agents go out of business.

The National Association of Realtors has said that 87 percent of Realtors fail in their first five years, which Helbert said is a symptom of brokers taking percentages of commissions but not returning the favor with training or education.

Instead of commission, Helbert will charge the Realtors in Streetlight a $300 transaction fee, which is designed to be smaller than any commission would be. Realtors on his team will also get their own deals, and not every decision will need to go through him as the broker for approval.

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As consumers gain more knowledge about the real estate industry through online real estate sites, Helbert said they won’t want to pay brokers and agents a commission for something they can do themselves online, similar to the decline in travel agent jobs.

“Agents have it hard enough time as it is with Zillow, Realtor.com and there’s so many new players coming into the market that the old school brokerage, they’re just not going to be able to exist too much longer,” he said.

Streetlight Realty is located at 1524 E. Stroop Road in Kettering.

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