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What are “iBuyers?”

Recently, we attended the Inman Connect 2017 Conference in San Francisco, one of the most respected real estate conferences in the United States. Inman News identifies themselves as “the leading real estate news source for real estate agents, Realtors, brokers, real estate executives and real estate technology leaders who need the latest real estate news, insights and analysis to grow their business and stay ahead of the competition.”

The session-packed agenda featured topics about the latest in real estate technology, chatbots, personal branding and social media marketing strategies.

One of the most well attended (and heated) sessions featured “iBuyers,” which are data-driven companies like Opendoor and Offerpad that use technology to initiate and close offers in much less time than a traditional brokerage can.

According to Inman, the average service fee for using these iBuyers ranges from 7.5% to 9%.

As of August, 2017, Offerpad has announced their “agent-on-demand” program. Potential buyers can still easily tour homes without an agent. The buyer texts a number and receives a code that they will punch into a smartlock and gain access instantly. If the buyer wishes to make an offer, they will be able to decide if they want to buy directly from OfferPad or contact an agent who is participating in their new Uber-like program.

The agent will receive a notification and meet the buyer at the property of interest within a short period of time. If the agent completes the transaction on an OfferPad property, they earn a 1% commission. If that agent completes a transaction with that same buyer on a property that is not owned by OfferPad, they owe OfferPad a referral fee of 25-35%.

The session had one common theme: the iBuyers are not here to destroy the real estate business nor the agents. They want to work with the agents to grow their business and fulfill a consumer demand.

These companies are scratching a consumer itch for convenience, control and efficiency. This new business model is also attracting Institutional Investors on Wall Street who see the financial potential for these services.

We’ll keep you informed on news from this front!

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