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Monthly archives for September, 2019

Who are iBuyers in Real Estate?

Amazon all but destroyed shopping malls. Expedia dislocated travel agents. Uber sent taxis into a tailspin.

Now will real estate agents be next? Will iBuyers take over their business?

The advent of online companies paying cash to buy homes directly from sellers has sent shock waves through real estate brokerages across the nation–in some areas.

Are they cutting out the Realtor?

The chief executive of California Association of Realtors told agents Wednesday, Sept. 25, they have little to fear from iBuyers — provided they embrace change, technology and adapt.

The iBuyer “changes the way you do business as technology has done … to everything in the last 30 years,” said Joel Singer, CEO of the state Realtor association for the past three decades. “But it doesn’t change it in a way that should generate fear. It should generate a sense of opportunity.

The traditional method of selling homes in America has survived decades of innovations many thought would eliminate brokers, even as internet users increased to 81% of the population.  Citing figures showing 91 percent of home sellers used an agent this year.

The reasons are twofold, Singer said: First the industry itself has adapted and evolved. Seventy-seven percent of agents say they now are completely or almost completely mobile. Eighty-six percent use social media in their business. The average agent spends $2,000 a year on technology.

The other reason is the nature of home sales, which Singer said is more personal and complex than other transactions that have gone online — such as buying an airline ticket or buying a book.

You cannot automate that (home buying) experience!

However, there is room for improvement.

Buying and selling a home can be a painful process. Twenty-six percent of homebuyers complain the process is too costly, while about a fifth say it takes too long, it’s inefficient, a “rough ride,” according to a recent Google consumer poll.

“What should be an incredibly joyous thing, buying a new house, buying your first house, … is often quite nerve-wracking, quite difficult, (with) a lot of uncertainty and stress,” Singer said. “Until we can figure out how to deal with that, we make ourselves as an industry ripe for certain amounts of change.”

There’s no shortage of potential disruptors. Among them, discount brokers, flat-fee brokers, brokerages that let agents keep their commissions and brokerages with their own exclusive listing services.

iBuyers are perhaps the latest disruptor to appear, surfacing in Phoenix in 2014 then spreading across the nation. Companies like Opendoor, Redfin Now, Offerpad and Zillow started buying homes in Southern California in 2017.  Opendoor has a close relationship with Lennar and have focused on purchasing resale homes built by Lennar, but has all the noise been successful?

They provide easy-to-use websites that allow home sellers to submit information about their house, then get a guaranteed cash offer within a week or less. The iBuyers deduct the cost of repairs and charge a “convenience fee.”  There is always fine print and most of the complaints have been the repairs have been excessive and offers have changed throughout the process, according to complaints on the Better Business Bureau site.

There is a place for iBuyers, catering mainly to sellers willing to take less for their home for the added convenience or certainty of a cash sale, Singer said. He estimated iBuyers will handle 10-15% of all home sales by the end of the next decade.

But they won’t take over!

For now, the biggest challenge for Real Estate Agents is one another. There will always be some type of company/business trying to gain market share, however the share seems to always be below 10% if they gain any traction at all.  A good agent will explain the process to the client and set them up for success.

Referenced from Jeff Collins at Lake County Record-Bee

HOW DOES SMART HOME TECHNOLOGY AFFECT THE SALE OF MY HOME?

 

In the 1950’s, homeowners were wowed by dreams of the future, with flying cars, self-baking ovens and automated vacuums. Many of these concepts have come to life with smart home technology, though not necessarily in the way they were once imagined.

Smart homes today revolve around making life easier, letting you adjust everything from temperature to lighting from anywhere in the world. These types of improvements do a lot to attract millennial buyers who have grown up with technology and look forward to its integration into the home.

A LITTLE DOES A LOT

Having access to tech in a home office, kitchen and bathroom will set your home apart from other houses without such modern conveniences. Fortunately, unlike completely remodeling major portions of the building, adding value to your Tampa Bay home with smart tech won’t break the bank.

Spending around $1,000 before putting your Tampa Bay house for sale, a paltry sum where renovations are concerned, will result in significant gains on the housing market. Though these aren’t always monetary, it can result in a faster sale since these features are very attractive to buyers that would be interested in installing some of the same units themselves.

DOORBELLS AND DETECTORS

Many tech tools don’t take much of a time investment when it comes to installation but provide a host of benefits that you and future homeowners will inevitably enjoy. Some of the most common items that will help craft the perfect smart home include:

  • Video Doorbells – Security is always a major concern, and being able to keep an eye on your front door while at work or even in the shower makes a home feel that much safer.

 

  • Smart Locks – Another front-door option, these take a little more effort to install put the added security and keyless entry options make it a worthwhile addition.

 

  • Smoke Detectors – Knowing anytime when there’s a fire or batteries need changing is a definite boon, and the cost of multiple detectors can be offset by smart devices that listen for the alarms already present in your house.

 

  • Thermostat – The first real integrated smart device, this can ensure your home is always at the correct temperature and can even respond to voice commands when you’re relaxing on your couch!

 

  • Light Bulbs – Lamps on timers have been a mainstay of vacationers for decades, but smart bulbs will turn on with your phone, and many can even adjust color and brightness on a whim!

 

  • Smart Speaker/Hub – Alexa and Echo, Amazon and Google’s smart-home supermodels, are just two examples of units that respond to your voice and tie all of your tech together into a cohesive unit.

These simple upgrades will transform your home, and even though they seem like superficial additions they let possible buyers see your house as more than building. Safety and security are just as important as comfort and convenience, and when it’s all integrated it becomes one irresistible package!

ROOM TO IMPROVE

While all of this technology does wonders for your home, you also need to consider which rooms will benefit most from electronic additions. Every area can be upgraded, but certain tech fits more easily in specific locations.

Living rooms or gathering spaces are definite spots to create a centralized hub for technology. Having your smart hub where everyone congregates makes it much easier to control and monitor the house while entertaining, and hose-shoppers will take notice when the primary living space is set up to be a control room for all of their toys.

Another space that benefits from these upgrades is the kitchen. While a smart refrigerator is more expensive than other options, adding high-tech appliances to the most complex room in the house makes it that much more alluring. Even something as simple as adding receptacles with USB ports by the nightstand can be a deal-maker!

SELLING MY HOME WITH SAVINGS

It’s not just a fancy screen on a dryer that makes it a big selling point. Making your home smarter also makes it energy efficient. If lights turn off when you aren’t home and thermostats regulate heat and cooling efficiently, homeowners are going to see a drop in their energy bills. High tech security also looks good to insurance companies, so fire alarms and video doorbells are a definite win for you and potential buyers.

Getting your house ready for the Tampa Bay real estate market is never easy, but make sure you keep smart home technology in mind as you prepare to put your Tampa Bay house for sale. The added value comes in a variety of ways, and if spending around a thousand dollars helps you make the sale more quickly, it’s an investment any homeowner can get behind!