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iBuying may be a fairly new concept, but it’s having a big impact on the real estate industry. Nearly 10% of the six million homes sales in the U.S. in 2018 were handled by iBuyers, and experts expect that percentage to increase in the coming years. While the sellers often have to accept a lower price in exchange for the convenience, more than 75% of surveyed consumers said they would be willing to do so. iBuyers haven’t yet broken through to commercial real estate, but they are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned.
An iBuyer provides roughly the same service for a home seller as CarMax does for car sellers. Homeowners give a bit of information about the house and the iBuyer makes a cash offer within a day or so. It’s a hassle-free process—no staging, no open houses, no negotiating. Just an offer on the table that the seller can either take or leave. Despite the likelihood that the offer will be less than what the seller could get for the house using the traditional method, the speed and ease of selling a house in a week or two can be very enticing. Some companies are even offering trade-in options to help people move into their next homes more quickly with less fuss. While iBuying is still relatively new, the industry is growing and expanding.
So, what can real estate professionals do to compete against convenience?
iBuyers are convenient, but impersonal. Stick to your strengths. Real estate professionals can win over customers by making emotional connections and helping homeowners manage some of the more stressful aspects of selling and buying a home. What keeps home sellers and buyers up at night?
Certainly, real estate agents don’t control the mortgage approval process. What you can do, however, demonstrate the value you offer for the commission you receive. As an experienced professional, you can guide home buyers through the complex process, and use your extensive network of professional connections to help them prepare for a sale—from offering simple staging tips to making referrals to lenders or home inspectors that you know and trust. Plus, selling through an iBuyer still comes with a drawback—the lower price homeowners typically get for their property. So, address sellers’ biggest concerns with a hands-on approach, then seal the deal with the prospect of a better selling price.
Consumer expectations have changed, and real estate professionals need to embrace digital transformation to meet consumer demand. Millennials are just hitting their home buying and selling stride—and as digital natives, they naturally expect a tech-enabled experience. The National Association of Realtors® notes that: “81% of Older Millennials, 80% of Younger Millennials and 78% of Generation X found their home on a mobile device.” Even 68% of Younger Boomers turned to their smartphones when searching for property. As a result, you need a responsive website that looks good and functions seamlessly on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. Technology doesn’t just help consumers; it helps real estate professionals too. Forbes writes, “From online title agents and digital notaries that speed up some of the more tedious parts of the closing process to 3D tours, drone videos and even interactive neighborhood apps that let clients explore properties remotely, there are tons of tech options that can improve the overall experience—while also strengthening that customer relationship in the process.” And, don’t forget technology for conducting real estate research that fuels business growth.
Are you still wasting time on inefficient open web research? Too often, such searches yield content that is marketing-motivated, out of date or of questionable provenance. It’s not the kind of information that will lead to actionable insights, unless you spend hours pursuing leads (and don’t mind paywalls and detours). Nexis® for Real Estate brings together public records and a wide range of reputable news, company, and industry sources—all in one place—along with advanced search technology that helps you quickly focus in on the information that matters most to you.
Bonus: saving time on real estate research means you have more time to cultivate the relationships that will continue to make you stand out—and outperform—iBuyers.
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