When thinking about selling their house, homeowners have many options. A relatively new option is using an “iBuyer.” What is an iBuyer?
According to Jovio, the definition is:
“A company or investor that uses Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) to make instant offers on homes. It allows sellers to close on a property quickly. Once sold, the company then turns around and resells the home for a profit.”
Today, there are many iBuyer companies such as OfferPad, Zillow Offers, Knock, Opendoor, and Perch. Even some more traditional companies offer the same or similar services (ex. Keller Williams, Redfin, Realogy). Ivy Zelman reported in her ‘Z’ Report that some traditional brokers are partnering with some of the larger iBuyers too:
“Keller Williams announced a partnership with Offerpad, aligning the largest franchise-based brokerage brand in the U.S. with the five-year-old iBuyer. The move follows Realogy’s partnership with Home Partners of America last year as an established brokerage player more directly providing an iBuyer alternative…
Likewise, in early July, Redfin and Opendoor announced a partnership, starting in Phoenix and Atlanta – aligning interests of the 13-year old, tech-enabled and value-focused brokerage with the largest and longest-standing iBuyer. Outside of these larger scale alliances, Zillow’s strategy has been to work with local brokerages as partners on a market-by-market basis.”
Does it make sense to sell your home to an iBuyer?
It depends. Collateral Analytics recently released a study which revealed the advantages and disadvantages of using an iBuyer. According to the study, if the homeowner is looking for the convenience of a quick sale with less uncertainty, using an iBuyer may make sense.
“iBuyers offer quicker closings for sellers who would like to avoid the uncertainty of knowing when and if their home will sell. For motivated sellers who want a predictable sale date and need to move, perhaps a long distance from the current location, there is no question that iBuyers have provided a welcome alternative to traditional brokerage.”
The study, however, also showed there is a cost for that convenience. Collateral Analytics explained:
“Traditional brokers fees generally range from 5% to 7% of the sales price…In addition to this cost, buyers typically pay some closing costs including lender related charges in the range of 1% to 3%.”
“iBuyers charge sellers a ‘convenience fee’ of 6% to 9.5%, some also charge the seller for fees typically paid by buyers at closing adding another 1% or more. Most iBuyers will inspect the home, assess a generous home repair allowance and negotiate a (an additional) credit to handle such repairs…Overall the total direct costs, ignoring repair credits, will run 7% to 10% for an iBuyer, versus the typical 5% to 9% combined seller and buyer costs with a traditional broker. Yet, that is not the end of the story or comparison.”
The study went on to explain how iBuyers need to charge even more because they have additional expenses beyond that of the traditional broker. They include:
- Carrying costs involving significant amounts of capital – The iBuyer must pay the expenses of the house between the time they purchase it and the time they sell it to a new buyer.
- Safeguarding the home risks – A home with an iBuyer ‘For Sale Sign’ alerts anyone passing that the house is vacant. The study suggests that these homes could become targets for vagrants and criminals.
- Adverse selection risks – The study explains that since iBuyers use computer models to determine their offer, they may be unaware of certain challenges in the neighborhood that could adversely impact the value.
- Potential home price declines – As the survey states:
“A downturn in home prices, not forecast by the iBuyer market analysts could be devastating as they ramp up their business platforms, particularly if the cost of capital increases. At the same time, downturns are precisely when the most sellers would want this option.”
After taking a thorough look at the iBuyer platform, the study concludes that using an iBuyer is more expensive for the homeowner than the traditional brokerage model, but for some sellers, it may still make sense:
“These preliminary empirical results suggest that sellers are paying not just the difference in fees of 2% to 5% more than with traditional agencies, and a generous repair allowance, but another 3% to 5% or more to compensate the iBuyer for liquidity risks and carrying costs. In all, the typical cost to a seller appears to be in the range of 13% to 15% depending on the iBuyer vendor. For some sellers, needing to move or requiring quick extraction of equity, this is certainly worthwhile, but what percentage of the market will want this service remains to be seen.”
According to the Pew Research Center, around 37% of U.S students will be going back to school soon and the rest have already started the new academic year. With school-aged children in your home, buying or selling a house can take on a whole different approach when it comes to finding the right size, location, school district, and more.
Recently, the 2019 Moving with Kids Report from the National Association of Realtors®(NAR) studied “the different purchasing habits as well as seller preferences during the home buying and selling process.” This is what they found:
When Purchasing a Home
The major difference between the homebuyers who have children and those who do not is the importance of the neighborhood. In fact, 53% said the quality of the school district is an important factor when purchasing a home, and 50% select neighborhoods by the convenience to the schools.
Buyers with children also purchase larger, detached single-family homes with 4 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms at approximately 2,110 square feet.
Furthermore, 26% noted how childcare expenses delayed the home-buying process and forced additional compromises: 31% in the size of the home, 24% in the price, and 18% in the distance from work.
When Selling a Home
Of those polled, 23% of buyers with children sold their home “very urgently,” and 46% indicated “somewhat urgently, within a reasonable time frame.” Selling with urgency can pressure sellers to accept offers that are not in their favor. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR explains,
“When buying or selling a home, exercising patience is beneficial, but in some cases – such as facing an upcoming school year or the outgrowing of a home – sellers find themselves rushed and forced to accept a less than ideal offer.”
For sellers with children, 21% want a real estate professional to help them sell the home within a specific time frame, 20% at a competitive price, and 19% to market their home to potential buyers.
Buying or selling a home can be driven by different priorities when you are also raising a family. If you’re a seller with children and looking to relocate, let’s get together to navigate the process in the most reasonable time frame for you and your family.
Mortgage rates have fallen by over a full percentage point since Q4 of 2018, settling at near-historic lows. This is big news for buyers looking to get more for their money in the current housing market.
According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey,
“the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) rate averaged 3.60 percent, the lowest it has been since November 2016.”
Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, notes how this is great news for homebuyers. He states,
“…consumer sentiment remains buoyed by a strong labor market and low rates that will continue to drive home sales into the fall.”
As a potential buyer, the best thing you can do is work with a trusted advisor who can help you keep a close eye on how the market is changing. Relying on current expert advice is more important than ever when it comes to making a confident and informed decision for you and your family.
Even a small increase (or decrease) in interest rates can impact your monthly housing cost. If buying a home is on your short list of goals to achieve, let’s get together to determine your best move.
We’re in the back half of the year, and with a decline in interest rates as well as home price and wage appreciation, many are wondering what the predictions are for the remainder of 2019.
Here’s what some of the experts have to say:
Ralph McLaughlin, Deputy Chief Economist for CoreLogic
“We see the cooldown flattening or even reversing course in the coming months and expect the housing market to continue coming into balance. In the meantime, buyers are likely claiming some ground from what has been seller’s territory over the past few years. If mortgage rates stay low, wages continue to grow, and inventory picks up, we can expect the U.S. housing market to further stabilize throughout the remainder of the year.”
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR
“We expect the second half of year will be notably better than the first half in terms of home sales, mainly because of lower mortgage rates.”
“The drop in mortgage rates continues to stimulate the real estate market and the economy. Home purchase demand is up five percent from a year ago and has noticeably strengthened since the early summer months…The benefit of lower mortgage rates is not only shoring up home sales, but also providing support to homeowner balance sheets via higher monthly cash flow and steadily rising home equity.”
The housing market will be strong for the rest of 2019. If you’d like to know more about our specific market, let’s get together to discuss what’s happening in our area.