Eye on iBuyers

Last year we saw a lot of headlines about the iBuyer segment of the real estate market, and so far 2019 has been no different.

On tap for 2019 is even bigger news from some of the biggest players. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what in the area of all-cash, fast closings, from A to Z:

  • HomeLight™, the California-based real estate referral network, recently announced the launch of Simple Sale™, which they claim is the first instant buyer marketplace. In a recent press release the company said that sellers can now efficiently compare buyers and request offers through a growing network of over 100 instant buyers.
  • Keller WilliamsSM needs no introduction in the world of traditional brokerages; however, they made news last year when The Real Deal reported that they were joining the all-cash-offer fray.
  • Knock™ leaders have not been shy in expressing their optimism about the iBuyer model, making statements like, “We’re building the next Amazon” and predicting that half of all home sales will go to iBuyers in 10 years.
  • OfferPad® was recently recognized for their customer focus during the annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Services, which highlighted a successful 2018 that saw a rebranding effort, additional funding and a significant increase in the number of transactions. OfferPad seems to be on a roll as they move toward their stated goal of covering more than 2,000 cities by the end of 2020.
  • OpenDoor® is one of the early startups to make a splash in the iBuyer space. The iBuyer that is often credited with defining the space has raised roughly $1 billion in total funding from numerous investors. One of the mega investors to bet big on OpenDoor is none other than SoftBank™, the huge fund that has also invested heavily in the Compass™ real estate brokerage growth story. Expect more in this year as they fold in the recent acquisition of California-based Open Listings™ and focus on more markets.
  • Realogy® announced in September of last year that one of the oldest names in the brokerage business, Coldwell Banker®, would offer consumers all-cash offers as an option to their traditional model. At the time, many agents across the industry felt that this announcement marked the pivotal point at which the iBuyer model was going mainstream.
  • Redfin® is well-known for their outstanding consumer portal and different take on the traditional brokerage model. Redfin also kicked off their own direct purchase program back in 2017 and recently announced additional growth of their iBuyer model in California and expansion into key Texas markets.
  • Zillow® may be last on the list alphabetically, but could be first on the list strategically with the announcement that their pivot will transform the established portal and media player into a full-scale iBuyer – with many advantages other players don’t enjoy. The portal gets huge numbers of impressions and the company already understands how to work with real estate agents via their Premier Agent program. As co-founder Rich Barton takes the helm as CEO, it is likely these advantages will play to Zillow’s favor.

Needless to say, there is a lot to cover in the iBuyer space these days as we head toward the summer home-buying season. Will the iBuyer story continue to grow as an option for some sellers who want a no-fuss option for selling and moving quickly?

Until next time,

Marvin

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