So much can be done virtually in an instant these days, so why should selling a home be any different? That’s the proposition being made by iBuyers, short for instant buyers.
iBuyers use computer algorithms to make an initial offer online, then send an inspector to take a closer look. Sellers can complete the transaction without worrying about staging or hosting open houses, as the iBuyer will fix up the home and resell it.
These types of sales are up in several markets including Raleigh, N.C., where a little more than 7 percent of home sales in 2019 were completed by iBuyers — the highest rate in the country.
While a growing number of sellers are being enticed by these fairly low-hassle transactions, there is a cautionary note here about their value. Plus Real Estate Services Analyst Sherrie Witte told me that “the downside would be a reduced value with one ‘buyer’ for the home, which eliminates the potential of getting more money by actually exposing it to the market and seeing if the home meets or exceeds the current demands.”
Shannon Brown, the relocation director at Plus real estate partner Fazendin Realtors, told us that the agents she works with will soon be able to share aggregated instant offer data with sellers. However, she said the intent will be to “educate” sellers and “help them understand the differences” between the iBuyer approach and a more traditional sale.
“We’d like to show them how the dollars shake out so that they can choose the option that is the very best for them,” Brown said. “We are finding that the iBuyer option does not always net sellers the most cash.”
In what’s been a strong sellers’ market lately, traditional sales will continue to offer many people the most bang for their buck — but iBuyers probably won’t be slowing down anytime soon, either.
If you're looking to sell your home and avoid people tromping through your living room at open houses, there's a new option that's becoming popular in many parts of the country. Companies called iBuyers, or instant buyers, use computer algorithms to make you an offer, often within a day.