For some homeowners who want to expedite the home-selling process, a new real estate model has been gaining appeal: iBuying.
Also known as an instant offer service, iBuying allows consumers to quickly sell their home to a company rather than to a person. iBuyers, or “instant Buyers,” are companies that use technology to make immediate, all-cash offers on a home. If a seller accepts the offer, the iBuyer then handles marketing and reselling the home themselves.
It’s a trend that has gained appeal lately with homeowners who are looking to simplify the real estate process, move quickly, or even avoid the hassle of potential buyers traipsing through their home. Over $5 billion has gone to institutional investors in the iBuyer market, money put toward buying homes across the United States.
“That ease and convenience is appealing to today’s consumer because we’re all so busy,” says Gayln Ziegler, director of operations at Keller Offers. “It’s what a lot of sellers need.”
Yet, along with the convenience of iBuying, also comes a potential downside. In what is typically the largest transaction of a consumer’s life, home equity may be put at risk when consumers move too fast. Without an agent acting as a fiduciary, consumers are at a disadvantage. They lose out on valuable insight into their local market, and they may be left unaware of the variety of selling options that are available to them.
“With Keller Offers, consumers no longer have to pick between all the options available to sell a home without having an advocate to advise them,” said Josh Team, president, Keller Williams. “In our pursuit to drive the best end-to-end consumer experience, we’re giving consumers the most choice available. And, we believe an agent-driven consumer experience is best to deliver that choice.”
The Keller Offers Difference
In May 2019, Keller Williams launched Keller Offers, an iBuyer division of Keller Williams. It’s an important additional option to traditional home sales that KW agents will be able to offer their sellers. KW enters the space with one goal in mind: to support and protect both the consumer and agents while minimizing cost.
“The consumer needs an advocate in their corner with all of the changes that are going on in the industry right now,” say Ziegler. “Keller Williams agents, by utilizing Keller Offers as a tool in their arsenal, will be able to provide the consumer with great value.”
Just like with any iBuyer, consumers who use Keller Offers are able to sell their home through a simple, convenient, and near-instant process. They will benefit from options including an immediate, all-cash offer and the ability to select their own closing date ranging from as little as two weeks to 90 days.
And with Keller Offers, sellers are also represented by a KW agent. Using their knowledge of often complicated local real estate requirements, agents will guide sellers through what is traditionally an automated iBuying process that can make it tricky to get expert guidance. Agents function as local advisors and consultants, a role they’ve long served—and will continue to serve—helping consumers to truly understand every phase of the process.
“Representation will help consumers understand their options, and if they decide that an instant offer is right for them, what their true net is,” says Ziegler. “We want to ensure the consumer has someone on their side. This product will make sure the consumer is protected in their rights and their needs.”
In August 2019, Keller Williams accelerated the winning model by partnering with OfferPad. An established leader in the space, Offerpad receives new offer requests from homeowners every 30 seconds and acquires a home every 20 minutes throughout regular business hours.
For Keller Offers to get to markets quickly, the only feasible path was a partnership with a financial backer. The decision of which company was an easy one.
“All well-funded iBuyers are not created equal,” explains Mitch Johnson, CEO of Keller Offers. “Offerpad, like Keller Williams, is a company that puts agents first. They understand an agent’s immense value.”
How the Partnership Works
To leverage the partnership, KW agents are required to become a Keller Offers Certified iBuyer agent. Once certified, agents are able to submit a cash-offer request via Keller Offers.
With a request in hand, Offerpad quickly generates an offer using proprietary, in-house real estate experience and technology. Then, the assured offer routes back to the KW agent, who presents it to their seller.
The KW agent remains the seller’s consultant in understanding all their options to move them onward. Should the seller choose to accept the instant-offer path, the KW agent will guide the seller through the Offerpad process.
The partnership is the first of its kind, entered into as an exclusive agreement that no other brokerage can join.
“Them to us and us to them – it’s a strategic partnership and we’re going to take over the space, together, with the help of our agents,” says Johnson.
Will Keller Offers be right for every client and situation? “No,” says Johnson. “At the end of the day, Keller Williams does not intend to be an iBuyer company. There’s market demand on some level. Our goal is simply to give our agents another tool at their disposal.”
The iBuyer partnership is operational, or will be fully within weeks, in Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; Orlando, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Antonio, Texas; Tampa, Florida; and Tucson, Arizona.
New: On November 14, 2019, Keller Offers announced its expansion into Birmingham, Alabama with Offerpad. The launch, set for early Q1 2020, marks a pivot in Keller Offer’s strategy to reach consumers yet to benefit from a robust iBuying experience in mid-tier U.S. markets.
“This partnership enables us to provide an iBuyer offering to more consumers, in more market sizes, while leveraging KW’s No.1 agent count footprint within the U.S,” said Ziegler.
Coming Soon to Labs: Concierge
Coming soon, agents will also have the option to provide concierge-inspired services to clients looking to sell. As an expedited benefit that gives customers’ listings the updates they need to sell faster and for a higher return, Keller Offers – KW’s exclusive iBuyer program – helps agents cover the up-front costs and provide recommendations, effectively eliminating the expense and hassle to their clients. As agents work from Keller Cloud data, insights, and market trends, their clients will exponentially benefit from their expertise. It’s a smooth process for agents, too. Not only will promoting this amenity increase their brand value, but there’s no financial burden put upon them – it’s all supported by Keller Offers and seamlessly paid in full at closing. Initially limited to California, Austin, and Atlanta markets, this lab is set to expand in the near future.
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