By Kentwood CEO and President Gretchen Rosenberg
Top 5 Reasons to work with a traditional broker versus an iBuyer
You may have heard a term that came on the real estate scene a few years ago, the iBuyer. You might even be considering using one to buy your home or looking at iBuyer listings without a Buyer Broker to represent you. Before you do, consider these top 5 reasons to stick with a traditional real estate agent.
iBuyer is a term coined to describe “internet” or “instant” real estate companies. They have a simple value proposition, make the transaction easier. That’s not a bad alternative for a certain percentage of the public and offers another resource to be carefully evaluated. However, iBuying is not a panacea for all real estate situations.
What You Need to Know
- Net Proceeds: As you evaluate, consider that convenience comes with a cost. These companies are not in a charitable business, they’re designed to make money. A traditional broker will help you prep your home for the highest return and act as an advisor on what consumers are looking for today. At Kentwood Real Estate, we have the Amplify program, which can even help you renovate and stage your home for sale and defer the cost until closing. If you sell your home to an iBuyer, your net proceeds will most certainly be less, and they’ll be marketing you ancillary services long into the future.
- Loss of Control: With a traditional agent acting as your advisor with a fiduciary duty to you, you can remain in the driver’s seat as you make decisions and progress through the transaction. Choosing a price, negotiating the inspection items, choosing a closing date. iBuyers will speed up the transaction and simplify many aspects, but they’ll give you a non-negotiable offer and then further deduct after they conduct their property inspection.
- Fees: A traditional broker’s fee covers extensive behind-the-scenes work, yet often consumers think our job is simply to put houses in the MLS and show property to buyers. Your agent should also advise you on home preparation for the highest return, best timing for hitting the market, how comparable homes are selling in terms of price and days on market, create a comprehensive marketing strategy, detail what a reasonable inspection list is, anticipate what issues might come up on title, potential easements and encroachments and how to discern who the best buyer is in terms of qualification. An iBuyer theoretically smooths out the transaction, taking on many of the steps an agent would be helping facilitate. They take much off the plate for sellers and they charge high fees for assuming that risk. iBuyer fees typically range between 7% and 14%, all in after inspection discounts.
- A Buyer’s Advantage: When you’re able to see everything in the Denver Metro, Boulder and Fort Collins MLS, you’ll be exposed to the entire market. With a Buyer’s Agent representing you, there’s more ability to negotiate the price, inspection items and confidently know you haven’t waded into any title or easement landmines. If you’re directly buying from an iBuyer company’s inventory, you don’t have an advocate helping you navigate the complex waters of a real estate transaction. They may have fixed up the house for sale, but how much time and quality were put into the work?
- We Hear Stories: Every week one of our brokers tells us a client had decided to use an iBuyer to purchase their home or made an offer on a property listed in an iBuyer inventory. Most of these stories end when the client decides to come back to their Kentwood Real Estate broker because they realized the fees were too high to make the convenience worth it. Even in the era of COVID. We’ve all found ways to show properties safely and keep our brokers and consumers healthy. Make sure your broker is following the COVID rules and protocols. Buyers have found that they aren’t exposed to the entire market when they’re searching on the iBuyer sites, and with such a lack of inventory these days, they want to be kept apprised of everything hitting the market in real-time.
The Final Takeaway
There is room for many models in the large market we call real estate. Some business models highlight price, speed and convenience while others focus on customer service and take their responsibility as fiduciaries to their clients seriously. Those relying on customer service and acting as fiduciaries also work hard to maximize net proceeds at the end of the transaction, making their fee a valuable investment. They also work hard to advise buyers when to negotiate and when they have to put their best foot forward.
You may like to shop at a discount store like Target and Walmart some days, while choosing Nordstrom or Nieman’s another. With housing or commercial real estate, consider your options carefully and feel free to reach out to a Kentwood Real Estate Broker for thoughts and advice. We’re here for our clients.