Real estate startup FrontDoor is the first tenant in ServiceMaster innovation center


A startup dedicated to lowering the amount home sellers pay in commission to realtors has become the first tenant in the new ServiceMaster Innovation Center at 150 Peabody.

The focus of the new innovation center named The Ground Floor will be on helping IT developers grow their ideas into marketable services and products. In addition to sharing space next to like-minded entrepreneurs, renters will enjoy the benefit of speeches and panels by experts in their fields.

Participating startups will also cohabitate with ServiceMaster's headquarters. 

“Being able to work in the space with like-minded people constantly working on innovating the real estate and home service industry is a naturally good fit for us,” said FrontDoor founder and CEO Jessica Buffington.

“ServiceMaster is a huge corporation who touches thousands of homes every day and is in 'startup mind' mode,” added Buffington, who is also a real estate agent.

In this Petrie dish of ideas, advice and information, FrontDoor hopes to continue to develop its plan to take real-estate sales into a more tech-savvy world.

The idea is to do away with all the usual attention getters, such as flyers or yard signs, that agents have historically used to get the attention of sellers. Technology is the main tool.

A seller uploads photos of their home and a description to a website. They are then put in touch with an agent, who puts the property on market. In the days that follow, agents will still perform all the duties typically expected of them, like showings and open houses.

FrontDoor requires sellers pay a flat $2,500 to realtors, who usually receive a 3 percent commission. Add the buyer’s agent to the mix and the total doubles. The change can generally save sellers thousands of dollars.

The process doesn’t seem any more difficult than listing an item on eBay – at least to the uninitiated. Buffington plans to make it even easier.

“One of our main goals is educating the public of our services and further automating our technology to help with the process.”

Founded in 2015, FrontDoor’s early days were spent growing under Start Co.’s guidance. The female-led company worked out of the local business accelerator’s space until the recent move. Today, her company represents over 100 agents in all 50 states.

“FrontDoor is rapidly growing and has already saved homeowners three million in commission fees. We plan on doubling our hires in the next 3 months and launching a new technology to help further automate the home selling and buying process,” said Buffington.

If things go right, their decision to relocate to The Ground Floor may accelerate the process.

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