Wall Street-backed real estate companies have transformed the home selling process. What will their impact be on neighborhoods?
WASHINGTON — Most realtors will tell you they deal with the most significant transaction in a person’s life. Buying or selling the place where someone lives is an incredibly personal experience.
Which made the email Tracey Wilson received last fall intriguing. What if it didn’t have to be so personal?
“I think it said something like, ‘We buy houses,’ or something like that,” Wilson, a Baltimore County resident said.
At that point in 2021, Wilson and her husband were looking to sell. They had just found the home of their dreams a few streets over from their longtime residence.
“We have always wanted to live on the water,” she said.
Like many people, before the Wilsons could buy, they had to sell. If you’ve ever sold a home, you know the process is tedious.
You work with a real estate agent to update the house, list it, stage it, and then show it. Not to mention the back-and-forth negotiating with buyers.
“We just really didn’t have time to worry about that stuff,” she laughed.
Back to that email she had received. It was from the real estate company Redfin, but it listed iBuyer, RedfinNow, as the company.
“I said, ‘Look, why don’t we call them and just kind of see,’” she remembered telling her husband.
If this is the first time you’ve heard the term iBuyer, you’re not alone. It stands for instant buyer. Generally, iBuyers are real estate companies that buy houses directly from consumers. They do it quickly and with cash offers because they have investment money from Wall Street. The companies quickly fix houses up, then sell or rent them.
Since 2014, real estate tech expert Mike Delprete has followed the phenomenon of iBuyers. According to his research, the top three iBuyers are OpenDoor, Offerpad and RedfinNow.
“If you’re thinking about selling, and you value certainty, and the simplicity of an instant offer an instant transaction, go for it, get an offer,” he said of iBuying.
In the end that’s why Tracey and her family chose to sell to RedFinNow.
“It was so convenient,” she laughed. “They did absolutely everything. We didn’t have to do anything except show up.”
“What we found was that people really needed this service locally,” RedfinNow spokesman Rob Wittman.
To talk to Wittman, we met him at a staged home in Rockville Maryland. It’s a two-story house the company recently bought, fixed up, and has put back on the market in less …….