Ibuyers offer “Convenience”, but at what cost?

October 5, 2019 at 6:52 am Leave a comment

We’ve all seen or heard the ads, because they’re everywhere. 
 
Opendoor, Offerpad. Zillow — all “iBuyer” companies that want potential home sellers to bypass the traditional sales process and accept their cash offer in the name of “convenience.”
 
My first thought about all these ads is that a lot of money is being spent to get all that attention. Think about some of the other categories of goods and services that blanket the airwaves with advertising: Automobile manufacturers and insurance companies come to mind — two products that are very expensive for consumers at least partly because of these corporations’ big marketing costs. 
 
These iBuyer services purport to be the quickest, most convenient way for a person to sell a home. According to a representative from one of these companies who spoke at a recent local real estate continuing education session, a prospective seller can contact the company, send them some photos, and they will respond promptly with a cash offer based on what they say is a proprietary formula — which includes a look at what similar houses have sold for recently.
 
If you, as a seller, want to accept that offer, the company sends a member of its staff (not an appraiser, not an independent inspector) to assess the value of the home first-hand.
 
Any repairs or other issues that need mitigation will be reported back to you, along with a choice: Let the companies’ contractors come in and, for example, fix a leak in the roof or the toilet — at a deduction to your offer price — or have contractors of your choosing make the repairs and show proof of satisfactory completion.
 
As for convenience, this particular company charges all home sellers a 1 percent “convenience charge.” Yes, that’s exactly what they call it. 
 
That’s on top of a buying agent commission ranging from 2.5 to 3 percent; 0.1 to 0.2 percent “listing costs,” and a range from 2 to 6 percent for “holding cost and risk.” The company’s “cap” on the total fees charged to a seller, it was noted, is 14 percent.
 
Fourteen percent. Compare that to the typical and negotiable 6 percent commission a Maricopa County home seller will pay to have his or her property actively marketed and listed by a Realtor. So, for example, on a home sold for $280,000 — the current median home price in the Metro Phoenix market — the 6 percent commission would be $16,800. If a homeowner’s fees to sell to one of the iBuyers reached 14 percent, the cost would be $39,200. That’s a $22,400 premium for a “quick” sale in a market that has rarely seen quicker turnaround than exists today.
 
The reason the market is currently seeing quick sales transactions in general is that the Phoenix real estate market has a very low supply of homes available, as well as heavy demand — Arizona’s population growth is the fastest in the nation, up 2.21 percent to climb to over 7.1 million residents last year. 
 
That high demand means homes are sold more quickly — current average days on the market, according to the Cromford Report, is 56.48 days — the fastest since August 2013 (58.73 days on average). More proof: On Oct. 1, 2019, there were 17,535 active listings on the MLS. On the same date a year ago: 20,292 listings. In 2017: 21,804 active listings.
 
What does this mean to prospective home sellers who are trying to decide between contacting an “iBuyer” program or reaching out to a Realtor with a fiduciary responsibility to work diligently on clients’ behalf to market and promptly sell their home at the best possible price? 
 
It means looking up a local Realtor before contacting one of the “iBuyer” companies would be a very wise move.

Entry filed under: Arizona Real Estate, Chandler Real Estate, Phoenix Real Estate, Real Estate Deals. Tags: , , , .

2019 Arizona Real Estate Market Update and predictions

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