There’s a House Plopped in the Middle of City Hall Plaza

Complete with a white picket fence and a lemonade stand.
Photo by Madeline Bilis

Photo by Madeline Bilis

In the middle of the empty, brick expanse that is City Hall Plaza, sits a small white house.

The “house” has a white picket fence, a few planters, and a lemonade stand—but the structure is actually a 53-foot-long trailer. It’s been traveling around the country, introducing a recently acquired brokerage called Owners.com to different markets. The website launched in its fifth city—Boston—this week.

From Thursday, June 30 through Saturday, July 2, the lone house/trailer will try to make Bostonians in City Hall Plaza feel at home with Owners.com. The company is part brokerage and part listing inventory, and attempts to guide users through the home buying or selling process without putting agents in control. Instead, users work with agents via email or phone to help in scheduling showings and submitting offers.

Nicole Messier, a consumer real estate expert with the website, explains that Owners.com takes the traditional real estate process, “infuses it with technology,” and helps to deliver consumer savings back to the homebuyer. This is done in part with a 1.5 percent buyer’s rebate, which gives a buyer purchasing a $500,000 home, for example, $7,500 in savings.

Messier adds the company differs from other web-based database/brokerage combinations (like Redfin or Compass) because of its efficiency. The easy-to-use interface could be especially helpful in Boston’s unique market, where one of the biggest hurdles in home buying can be submitting an offer (which often happens during hectic open houses).

“The fact that you can click a button, write in an offer, agree to purchase, and submit that to the seller’s agent within a matter of minutes is smart from a competitive standpoint,” says Messier. “It’s helping you fight through that competitive nature of the market.”

And with housing costs reaching through the roof, plopping a house in the middle of the city is definitely one way to get a buyer’s attention.


Madeline Bilis Associate Editor at Boston Magazine @madelinebilis
mbilis@bostonmagazine.com