This new site is like Match.Com for home buyers and sellers

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Image courtesy of Go Brent Realty.

It’s the current housing market‘s most frustrating Catch-22: The inventory of homes for sale in Washington is ridiculously low. But many potential sellers are too scared to list their homes because… the inventory of homes for sale is ridiculously low and they could very well be left homeless. When a homeowner isn’t rich enough to buy a new home before selling the old one, the risk of entering the market often just seems too high.

“A lot of homeowners feel stuck,” says realtor Liz Brent, founder of Silver Spring-based Go Brent Realty. Because this problem keeps popping up with her clients, Brent says she’s started looking for creative ways to solve it. This is how the idea for their newly launched website came about, I would move if I could– similar to Match.com for sellers and buyers – was born.

Here’s how it works: Anyone in the DC area who would sell their home if only they had a guarantee of finding a new one can sign up on the free site. A questionnaire asks what type of home you are looking for, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you want, your desired location and distance to the subway, and so on. Users can add as much or as little information as they like and edit their submissions at any time. Brent, meanwhile, will be scouting for potential matches — for example, the young family hoping to expand from their condo into a four-bedroom home, and the empty nesters looking to downsize from their four-bedroom home to a condo. When Brent sees a potential match, both homeowners are notified.

The website is obviously a possible source of business for Brent, who could end up representing half of the deal (Maryland law prohibits agents from representing both sides of the same transaction). However, she stresses that it doesn’t require a homeowner to work with her in order to use the service. She also says she wouldn’t advise a homeowner to use the site if they had the flexibility to just list their home right now without knowing where they’ll end up next. “If you do it that way and you’re successful, you don’t know what the property would have done on the open market,” explains Brent. So the service is really only aimed at people who wouldn’t otherwise come onto the market.

Brent also says she has a secondary motive: to learn more about the types of homes people want. For example, she says downtown Silver Spring has a hard time finding condos with large living areas — a common desire of people moving from single-family homes. If she can gather data showing that there is a strong demand for these types of units, she envisions being able to use them to teach developers how to build units.

Naturally, I would move if I could It makes no difference if no one signs up. “The more people who participate, the more we can tell if it’s working,” says Brent. “We will see.”

If you are interested, click here.

editor-in-chief

Marisa M. Kashino joined the Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer and became managing editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage and writes in-depth articles. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a wrongful conviction for a murder in rural Virginia.

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