With so many i-themed Apple products (iPhone, iPad…etc), iBuyers sure sound like yet another addition to the Apple lineup. Instead, it’s a common term used in real estate: iBuyer actually stands for “instant buyer.” An iBuyer is a person or company that uses technology to quickly buy a home, typically with the intent to resell that home for a profit.
Thanks to technology, iBuyers can move fast, especially when they’re not deliberating over a home the way a client might. In fact, iBuyers leverage their speedy purchase with homeowners eager to sell, often purchasing a home at cheaper than it might have otherwise been worth. Essentially, sales to an iBuyer often prioritize time over profit.
Laura Brady, CEO of Concierge Auctions, has been watching alternative home selling/buying options –including iBuying – since 2005. According to Brady, there are four major reasons why people might want to unload a home quickly: death, divorce, debt or disaster. Sellers undergoing one (or more) of these events might be more partial to selling to an iBuyer.
While iBuyers might seem like a growing threat to Realtors®, Brady disagrees. Currently, not a single iBuyer company has profited from the system. In fact, less than one percent of homes in 2018 were sold by iBuyers. As technology advances, there might be growth, but even then, Brady projects that iBuyers will still only make up around 10 – 15% of the market.
In fact, not only are Realtors® safe from having their job overtaken by iBuyers, Brady believes real estate agents can actually use iBuyers to their advantage. Not only could a faster buy be appealing to certain individuals, but it could create a more efficient work system for agents, allowing them to take on more clients.
It might not be a fancy new Apple gadget, but iBuying is certainly out to make lives more convenient. Only time will tell if the phenomenon will grow to become a regular facet of the housing economy. In the meantime, iBuyers can be a boon to anyone hoping to buy or sell a home quickly without posing a significant threat to Realtors®.
“At the end of the day,” Brady explains, “this business is about achieving our client’s goals as efficiently and effectively as possible.”