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Monday, 14 October 2019
Agent Resource Center

iBuyers and Agent Competition: How to Stay Ahead of the Game

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 08 January 2019 14:01

In this digital era, technology has spread into the corner of almost any industry. This is especially true for the real estate sector, in which innovation is changing the face of every traditional process, from home showings to closings and every step in between.

 

The latest trend to affect the market is that of iBuyers. In short, an iBuyer is an online investor who uses industry data, including automated valuation models (AVMs) to determine a fair price for a home. From there, the entity buys the home with a short turnaround, promptly reselling it days later for a profit.

 

On their end, sellers have much to gain from this type of technology. They can receive a personalized offer on their home in normally less than 24 hours, giving them a sense of empowerment and control that can often be missing from the standard home selling process. However, how do ibuyers affect real estate agents and their position within the industry?

 

Today, we’re taking a look at what the advent of iBuyers means for the real estate sector as a whole, and how agents can use this new technology to maximize, rather than mitigate, their efforts.

 

What iBuyers Provide for Homeowners

iBuyers have risen in prominence over recent months, primarily because they allow homeowners to sell their home with relatively low listing fees. Moreover, the fact that the transaction can take place entirely online is another draw for stretched-thin Millennials, who prefer technologically-driven interactions over in-person ones.

 

That said, traditional real estate agents might feel as though they can’t compete with this type of offering. A closer examination, however reveals how they can work in tandem with iBuyers to create a more effective and client-pleasing process that allows everyone to win. Here are a few ways this aim can be achieved.

 

Understand How the Shift Strengthens

First, agents can take a look at the iBuyer business model to better understand ways to strengthen their practice as a whole. Are speed and cost the two main factors drawing people to this new selling method? If so, how can agents offer these same incentives?

 

Often, when a technology disrupts a sector, it renders the traditional element almost obsolete. This does not appear to be the case with iBuyers, however. Rather, this new movement is allowing agents to focus in on their core capabilities and how they can provide clients with a level of service they can’t get anywhere else. Put simply, when something bigger and sleeker comes along, it makes us turn inward and examine our current practices. This is true with iBuyers, as real estate agents across the globe are upping their game to stay relevant. Here are a few ways they are doing so.

 

Emphasizing the Importance of Personal Connection

No matter how innovative and creative a digital app is, it will never and can never replace the intimacy and personality of speaking with someone face-to-face. This is where real estate agents truly shine. By highlighting the level of personalized, tailored service they offer their customers, they’re already ahead of the pack.

 

This is an especially important benefit in the real estate sector, as this can be a highly emotional and complicated time, especially for home buyers. This is the largest investment that many people will make in their lifetime and as such, leaving it up to an online transaction can seem more than a little daunting. Conversely, an agent can meet with buyers and sellers in an office to explain how each step works and what to expect at each juncture.

 

As agents seek to establish these new relationships, it’s important that they also continue to foster their existing ones. If you have a long-standing history working with a particular family, for instance, and you’ve helped them buy and sell multiple properties over the years, chances are high that they’ll be loyal to your firm, even in the face of high-tech alternatives.

 

Take a Page from the Tech Playbook

As the prominence and popularity of iBuyers continue to rise, it reveals that clients are turning to their devices and engaging technology on a more frequent basis. To this end, a forward-thinking real estate agent can use this data to his or her advantage.

 

If the internet is a preferred medium, agents can create an authoritative and interesting corner of it wherein they highlight drone videos of properties for sale, informative real estate tech blog posts and compelling social media content. This is one way of making the tech craze work for you. From sending clients personalized emails on their birthday to posting a throwback picture of them on social media when their homebuying anniversary rolls around, you’re speaking their language and releasing information in a format that others in this sphere crave.

 

Forward-thinking agents can also utilize some aspects of the iBuyer technology to complement and improve their own suite of offerings. For instance, they can employ automated notary services to speed up the process, video teleconferencing to meet with long-distance clients, and even online title agents to make sure the entire journey is as expedited as possible. The main difference? Agents can share this technology while still cultivating a client relationship.

 

Consider an Internal Program

Another way that agents can embrace the iBuyer trend is to simply adopt the model for their own firm. For instance, some offices are allowing clients to pick from myriad business models including getting a quick cash value offer on their home (iBuying) or listing it via a standard route such as the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

 

Succeeding in this Tech-Smart Landscape

As almost every business leader understands, technology is the way of the future. Rebelling against it might make your brand stand out, but it will be for all the wrong reasons and can render your customer base obsolete. That said, today’s real estate agents can embrace the iBuyer trend for what it provides the industry, then look around at their operation to see where they can glean inspiration and motivation from such a tool.

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