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Homie, Utah Realtors Use Billboards to Compete for Clients

Date: March 01, 2017

A billboard war is brewing along the Wasatch Front.

(KUTV) A billboard war is brewing along the Wasatch Front.
You may have noticed more signs popping up recently that fight for your home. They're part of a battle seemingly between the establishment -- Realtors -- and a startup company pitching a new way to do real estate.

"It's been really effective for us," said Johnny Hanna, founder and CEO of Homie, standing underneath one of his company's billboards at the Point of the Mountain.

Hanna's Draper-based company offers people a Realtor-free experience for buying or selling a home.
"We're a one stop shop," Hanna said.

His startup may be all about new technology, but he's using an old method -- billboards -- to compete for attention.
"I think billboards scream trust," Hanna said.

Lately, it seems that same spirit of competition is spreading. Billboards from the other side have started popping up. The Utah Association of Realtors has blanketed the Wasatch Front with ads of its own.

However, the Association's president, DeAnna Dibo, insists those ads have nothing do to with Homie.

"We've always done billboards," Dibo said, "so it doesn't seem any more aggressive than we've done in the past."
Dibo said the purpose of the Realtors' billboards is to remind people of the benefit of hiring a professional to navigate the home-buying experience.

"Realtors are in the market every day," Dibo said. "They know real estate."

While the Association does not mention Homie by name in its ads, others do. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, a private real estate company, has put up billboards along Interstate 15 that state, "Hire a professional, not your Homie."

"It's validation for us," Hanna said of the competing ads. "It just shows what we're doing is working."

Becky Berry used Homie to sell her house in December. The Orem resident said she saved $6,000 bypassing the Realtors.
"It's a lot of money," she said. "I have some good plans for that money."

Hanna said helping people save money is what his business aims to do, calling his business "the new way" to buy and sell homes.

The startup founder also said he believes his company will find a home with more and more Utahns in the years to come.
"Give us more billboards against us," said Hanna. "We love the publicity."

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