Keeping up with iBuying services

With instant-offer home listing services like Opendoor and Redfin part of the mix, you may be considering new ways to integrate technology and ala carte services in your business. Although not every seller will want to use this type of tool, there are sellers who opt for the instantaneous, so it’s best you’re aware of this new trend. Here’s what you need to know about iBuying services.

If you’re part of the TL; DR crowd, then start your free seven-day trial of AgentEDU today and watch our “Representing Sellers” track.


Getting on board

You may have seen signs at busy intersections that say, “Sell your house for cash NOW” or commercials about companies that will buy a sellers’ home in any condition. These are tactics that have been around for many years, but more recently companies are utilizing new technologies to leverage them. One notable real estate agency that has tapped into this trend is Austin, Texas-based Keller Williams Realty. Although they are currently launching the “Keller Offers” service only within the Dallas-Fort Worth market, they plan to expand the program to nearly eight other major markets by the end of 2019.

While officials at Keller Williams say the share of sellers who use the iBuyer method is roughly 10 percent of all sellers, it serves as a vital addition for agents to offer this unique service to their sellers.


Standing out

Some services, like Opendoor, utilize their own home valuation analytics software in which an instant offer is made based off the estimation. The Keller Williams service goes a step further, offering an agent to both act as a trusted guide through the process and take into account the characteristics of a house that an analytic home valuation software may miss. This means that not only are agents providing a helping hand in a process that can be confusing for sellers, but also personal touch is key in not only standing out but also creating an agent-seller relationship that may turn into more referrals.

Sellers that use these instant-offers services are often those with an urgent need to move, perhaps prompted by a recent job relocation. Another major group of users of these services are those looking to flip a property.

The technology that comes with iBuyer services often utilizes algorithms and local market data as indicators for price points. Although these programs are becoming more prevalent, the role of an agent is still ever-present. Most sellers will need an experts’ advice in the selling process on what is truly a good offer and what is subpar.

In any situation that your seller may be in, having these additional services as a part of your business operations is key in giving your clients a variety of choices. Moreover, the use of more technology is a necessary step in being more tech-savvy and able to open more communication channels with potential clients. To learn more on better serving your sellers, start your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and gain access to our “Representing Sellers” course.



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Are Open Houses Still King?

Open houses can act as a door opener for generating new leads. It gives the opportunity to showcase the property and network closely with potential buyers, among other benefits. Although some argue that open houses are a waste of time, only you can make that decision. Here’s a breakdown on whether an open house is essential for your listing and your business. If you’re part of the TL; DR crowd then start your free seven-day trial of AgentEDU today and watch the full course, “Open Houses.”


On the upside

Positive aspects of open houses are that, nationwide, homes that had an open house sold for more than $9,000 more and spent fewer days on the market than homes that had no open house. This comes from a recent study of open houses in major metro areas by Redfin. For example, homes for sale in Miami that featured an open house within the first week of listing sold 11 days sooner than those without an open house. One caveat to keep in mind is that these successes in open houses may stem more from the appeal of the home itself and the marketing associated with it rather than the sole event.


Not so fast

Still, the data might not tell the whole story. First of all, it’s a small dataset: In 2018, only 24 percent of listings nationally featured an open house within the first week. Also, in some markets open houses are associated with more days on the market rather than less. Examples of such markets include New Orleans and Nashville, where homes featuring an open house spend eight more days on the market. Although this does not apply to all areas, it is something to watch if you’re selling in those areas and are thinking of conducting open houses. But in the end, days on market is more a factor of the appeal of the property, state of the local market and the price of the home.


Do’s and Don’ts

Orchestrating an open houses takes various steps, all with an ultimate goal of finding a buyer for the listing. However, secondary purposes for the open house may arise that get in the way of the original purpose. Some agents host open houses to market themselves and make the event more of a social one, where the focus is taken away from the house and put onto the agent. That is a path to avoid; focusing on the aspects of the house and giving valuable information to these prospects will make you come off as a trustworthy and knowledgeable agent.

According to the study from Redfin, timing is key. Try to conduct an open house within the first week of listing. The first week a home is listed is crucial, as you can capitalize on the freshness or “just listed” aspect of the property.

In all, open houses can be a useful tool when done correctly. Whether or not to conduct an open house is a call that you and the seller make together, and in that conversation, mentioning both the benefits and possible drawbacks is key. For more best practices when it comes to open houses, check out our AgentEDU course “Open Houses.” You can start with a seven-day free trial and gain access to the full “Open Houses” course today.


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5 must-haves for high-end buyers

With more home gadgets being unveiled each year, there’s are now an overwhelming number of features that a home can be equipped with. This is especially true with luxury properties, as high-end buyers have more specific wants than a typical homebuyer. Here are the top five things that are on luxury buyers’ must-have list.

If you’re part of the TL; DR crowd, start your free seven-day trial of AgentEDU today and watch the full course titled, “Representing Buyers.”


Latest tech

With technology becoming more accessible and advanced, it has also made its way from our pockets and into our homes. Systems like Amazon Alexa or Google Home serve as a voice command assistant. Another big trend has been digital, and even mobile, smart-home security systems such as the Ring Video Doorbell. These smart security systems can even be activated remotely from ones’ smartphone, creating not only simplicity but also a sense of security for homeowners.



Along with added in-home security, high-end buyers are not afraid to pay more for their own privacy. This gives you an idea of how to set up home searches for such clients. Privacy features that these buyers are looking for include gated communities, ample security features, tall gates, barriers and privacy hedgerows around the property.


Modern kitchens

One of the main hubs in any home is the kitchen, so these areas must be up to par with buyers’ wants. High-end buyers want their kitchens outfitted with large white cabinets along with white quartz countertops. Stainless steel appliances remain king, along with a sizable kitchen island. Another trend in kitchens is dark hardwood floors and brighter LED lighting.


Designer names

There’s been a trend in residential towers, and that is the association of residential buildings with a major luxury brand. One example is the Aston Martin Residences tower in Miami, Florida. Amenities here include two cinemas, an art gallery, a virtual golf room and an exclusive yacht marina. These buyers aren’t afraid to spend more for luxury residences or their amenities, which also gives you more options for new construction.


Fitness and health

Luxury amenities don’t have to be all about the glitz and glamour. Many buyers have fitness goals or overall health concerns, which is why luxury home builders have taken note and incorporated amenities to check that box. This includes spaces such as yoga studios, spa lounges and even boxing rooms.

Almost every homebuyer has a checklist in mind when looking for a new home, and luxury buyers are no different. However, their checklist may vary a bit from the rest. These are five major points of interest for them, and they’re not afraid to shell out more money to get them. With that in mind, it’s key that you customize your home search process to align with the desires of higher-end buyers.

Learn more about how to better serve luxury home buyers with a seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and check out the “Representing Buyers” course.

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