Realtor® Forum Discusses iBuying, Says Process Could be Beneficial to Realtors®

SAN FRANCISCO (November 10, 2019) – Realtors®, housing professionals and other 2019 REALTORS® Conference & Expo attendees received a succinct but informative education on iBuying at the National Association of Realtors®’ Saturday morning session.

The forum, officially titled Coping with an Instant Buyer World, was hosted by Laura Brady, founder and CEO of Concierge Auctions. The company – with the goal of presenting a more efficient method for buying and selling homes – curates some of the most elite homes and properties worldwide, matches them with qualified buyers and then advances a market-driven transaction.

"As early as 2005, I starting looking at options for buyers and sellers, outside of the traditional method," she said.

Brady and her company are not iBuyers – defined as an entity that uses technology to instantly make an offer on a home with the intention of then reselling it, presumably for a profit. However, she has followed the process and understands its draw and popularity. A constant in the home buying and selling process is that sellers want to ensure they are getting the best possible deal in a given transaction, she said. But Brady added that there is another side of this transaction: home sellers who place more value on time and efficiency. In those cases, maximizing profit is not always the paramount concern.

"Unfortunately, there will always be the four D’s," Brady said. "Those are people who need to sell [or buy] quickly because of death, disaster, debt or divorce." In these instances, she says, iBuying can be the ideal route for a buyer or seller.

"For the real estate sector, the iBuyer is speaking to the convenience factor. Time is short. They need to know quickly and may ask, ‘what is someone willing to pay?’"

Brady noted that every iBuyer company, without exception, has yet to turn a profit. In 2018 alone, 6 million homes were sold – 99.8% were sold in a traditional manner, while 0.2% were iBuyer type sells.

Companies involved in iBuying – Zillow, Redfin, Opendoor and others – will grow, in Brady’s estimation. As technology advances, she expects these companies to become bigger, more effective and perhaps one day be responsible for 10% to 15% of home sales.

That said, real estate agents and brokers need not fret, according to Brady. She doesn’t foresee a time when iBuyers will ever replace an agent. In fact, she thinks agents should use iBuyers to their advantage.

"To Realtors® who have concerns that iBuyers are hurting their bottom line, I ask this: How much would your bottom line be positively affected if you were able to generate more expedient sales?  Your volume would rise, and your time would be freed to move on to the next transaction. It’s a similar question to ‘Would you pay a referral and reduce your fee if a deal were handed to you?’ Of course!" she said.

"At the end of the day, this business is about achieving our client’s goals as efficiently and effectively as possible," Brady continued. "And if an iBuyer helps accomplish that, it’s our duty to be supportive." 

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. 

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