Sold! Entrepreneurship grad aims to change home-selling process

5 – minute read

When the Runway Program for aspiring entrepreneurs took flight at Florida Gulf Coast University in 2016, Jakub Adamowicz was part of the first class to earn wings. The enterprising idea he developed in that business incubator became his first startup, RoomDig, a housing app for college students that won him statewide recognition and designation as a 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 Fellow.


All before he graduated with his interdisciplinary entrepreneurship degree in 2019.


Now, Adamowicz’s second business venture, Listella, is earning acclaim and clients. A direct buyer-to-seller real estate marketplace launched in February, the company was recognized by SWFL, Inc. — a regional chamber of commerce — with its 2023 Innovation Award for a small business that creates unique and forward-thinking solutions to address the needs of its clients.

FGCU alum Jakub Adamowicz
Jakub Adamowicz said his FGCU experience, particularly in the Daveler and Kauanui School of Entrepreneurship and the Runway Program, prepared him well for his startup businesses. Photo submitted.

Adamowicz said the seeds of his idea came during the global pandemic when pre-schoolers learned to use the internet and 90-year-olds started doing FaceTime with their families.


“We realized there was a huge technological shift,” he said. “The current real-estate process that mortgage companies, title companies, buyers and sellers used was a process invented in 1908 in Chicago. They didn’t have Apple and cell phones and DocuSign back then.”

While he understands real-estate agents hand-holding billionaires who want “gold-handled doors and gold toilets,” he said a system with 4-6% commissions doesn’t help deployed veterans or workers who must change locations regularly.


“We have all these technologies, and you could sell a home using 10 different tools,” Adamowicz said. “I’m thinking, ‘Hey, why not be the one who combines all these different tools into one site?’”


What separates Listella from other realtors and real-estate companies is that the company is independent of the buyer or seller, he said. There is a $2,500 fee, of which $499 is upfront. Veterans who use the service have no upfront cost.

The other difference is the appraisal and inspection are done before the listing, said 2019 FGCU entrepreneurship grad Sofia Wardell, who joined the 10-member team in November as Listella’s business and development manager.


“It justifies the market value of the house and provides full transparency to the buyer,” Wardell said. “It shows the seller what is bringing the value of the house down, giving them a chance to fix it for a higher valuation.”


When Deb and Scott Heims wanted to sell their Estero home, they planned on doing it themselves to avoid commission fees. They discovered Listella. Adamowicz shot photos and videos of their home, and an appraisal and inspection were done before listing.


It took about two months, but offers came in once the house hit the multiple listing service. Listed at $660,000, the home sold for $655,000. 


The best news? The couple saved approximately $25,000 in commissions, which helped Jim Heim decide to retire early from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

FGCU alum Jakub Adamowicz
Jakub Adamowicz receiving the 2023 Innovation Award from SWFL, Inc.

“The neat part of Listella is that it’s ala carte,” Deb Heims said. “You can pick and choose what services you want. You also can pick and choose how involved you want to be or how not involved you want to be. For example, we did our own open houses. I thought it was fun.”


Of the typical words home sellers use to describe the process, fun is probably far down the list.


However, Adamowicz believes the virtual, direct buyer-to-seller real estate marketplace will make the process more enjoyable. It can be done online without negotiating, paying commissions or working with a real estate agent.


With a listing process that takes minutes, Listella enables clients to sell their homes in as little as 45 days and buyers to purchase a home in as little as 14 days. A network of 80,000 agents nationwide provides services ranging from pressure-free showings to loan pre-approval.


Adamowicz, 26, who earned his master’s in entrepreneurship at FGCU in 2022, said he has been part of $100 million in real estate transactions since he got involved in the business at 18. He launched Listella with $1.35 million in seed money, and through mid-July, it had $2.8 million in listings. Adamowicz believes when those listings become closings, he can save buyers and sellers $130,000 in real estate commissions.

While Adamowicz said Listella can be used in every state, his current focus is on major cities in Florida, starting with Southwest Florida and Orlando.


“Our goal is 40 listings a month,” he said.


Adamowicz said his FGCU experience, particularly in the Daveler and Kauanui School of Entrepreneurship and Runway Program, prepared him well for his startup businesses.


“Successful businesses, products, ventures and innovations aren’t just luck. There is an art and science to creating, scaling and selling companies,” he said. “I came here planning to double major in civil and environmental engineering. I was not a business student.


“Through the entrepreneurship and runway programs, I’ve been able to take air and turn it into something and scale it. I learned the art of building a business, the power of online, how to use money.”

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