Nov 18, 2019 by - Hana LaRock

How to Revamp Your Business Model in the Age of iBuyers

With the rise of major real estate technology companies – such as Opendoor, RedfinNow, and Zillow Offers – adding iBuyer methods to their agenda, it’s lead to a lot of controversy in the real estate industry. When these companies started making headlines for helping sellers get their home purchased swiftly without going through an official agent, many experts in the field have discussed how this would impact the future job security of real estate agents. Though many in the industry are still skeptical, there’s no denying how helpful this technology is to clients who need to get rid of their home quickly. 

That being said, some are arguing that there’s no need for agents to worry – that their jobs simply can’t be automated. We don’t know how successful iBuying will be long-term, but what we do know is that it is working now, at least for sellers. 

So, how can you get with the times as a real estate agent and compete with the dark, ominous cloud of iBuying?

Understand Your Clients’ Needs – Then, Target Them

If they are coming into your office, then they already are seeking the help of a real estate agent, which is one of the most common arguments against iBuyers. This person may not know about iBuyers, or they may not care. People still want someone to guide them through the process.

But, next, you have to think about the clients that aren’t coming into your office. The ones that know they need to sell their home, and are investigating the iBuying process in the meantime. Consider convincing these audiences to stick with an agent through target marketing by choosing keywords in your ads that would match their search history. Don’t be afraid to create  ads that showcase why you’re the best option over iBuyers. 

Offer a Competitive Solution

One of the main reasons that people sell their home through iBuyers is because they need to get out of their house quickly. Maybe a baby is on the way, there’s a job opportunity in another state, or someone in the family needs expensive medical treatment. People in these circumstances are generally willing to get less money on their home in order for them to have more time to get settled in their new one.

What if you could provide your clients the ability to sell their home by a certain deadline AND get the best possible price? Of course, don’t put these clients in a position where it’s all or nothing. Give them enough time to still go with an iBuyer if it doesn’t work out with you. It’s a challenge – are you willing to step up?

Don’t Shame iBuying Companies

If a client walks in your door or sends you a message that they are considering going with an iBuyer but still want to see what a real estate agent can do for them instead, then you must be very careful about your response. It’s easy to list all the reasons why this person should choose you over iBuying, but all that negatively can have them saying, “Well, of course that’s what a real estate agent would say!”

You want to avoid this. But, how? Discuss the great things about iBuying. Play devil’s advocate. Tell your clients what you like about it, but what you can offer that they can’t (and even vice versa). If you want to be super prepared, create an attractive infographic that discusses the pros and cons of each, without any biases (okay, maybe a few subtle ones). Your honesty should be enough pull the client in. 

For instance, the first question you may be asked is what your commission is. These clients have likely done their research, and they are definitely going to check if working with you is more financially feasible than an iBuyer, even if it means the process will take longer. So, have your numbers prepared.

Place Your Bets on Buyers

iBuying companies help sellers, but there’s not much out there like it for buyers. Though it is possible for buyers to skip the agent and buy directly from the seller, only some people are confident enough to do it that way (and, financially able to, as many homes offered this way are cash-only deals). 

All this considered, there are two approaches you can take. One, is to put a larger focus on catering to buyers as opposed to sellers. Depending on your experience as an agent, this may mean making a shift. But, you can do it. 

The other option, as mentioned earlier, is to cater to market to sellers who are on the fence about how they want to go about selling their home.

What are your thoughts on iBuyers? Let us know in the comments below!


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