Buyers will soon be able to use their smartphones to access Phoenix listings owned by OfferPad, an “iBuyer” that uses technology to quickly buy and resell homes.
The Opendoor competitor is giving buyers the ability to tour the homes it owns without agents. From there, buyers will have two options: use the firm’s platform to either buy directly from OfferPad or request the help of an outside agent who has enrolled in the company’s new “Agent-on-Demand” program.
OfferPad will pay a 1 percent commission to agents who represent a buyer seeking professional assistance in the purchase of an OfferPad home.
The new initiatives mark a bid to complement the company’s seamless experience for homesellers with a streamlined process for buyers.
Opendoor has long allowed buyers to access its homes without agents, though Opendoor hasn’t announced an agent partner program similar to OfferPad’s “Agent-on-Demand.”
Agent-on-Demand will soon be introduced in Phoenix and then expanded to other markets. OfferPad also operates in Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Tampa, Florida; Orlando, Florida, and plans to launch in Houston and Atlanta in the next few weeks.
As part of the rollout, OfferPad will also launch a property search tool for browsing its Phoenix listings on its website.
Prospective buyers who visit a Phoenix property owned by OfferPad can request an access code via text message to unlock a smartlock on the home’s front door. OfferPad calls this feature “Instant Access.”
If they want to move forward with a purchase after touring a home, buyers get a text message with two buttons — one that takes them to make an offer on OfferPad’s platform, and another that allows them to request the help of an agent.
A local agent who is enrolled in OfferPad’s partner program will then receive a request to zoom over to the property to meet the buyer.
If the partner agent shows up within 15 minutes of the request and ends up representing the buyer in the purchase of an OfferPad home, the agent will receive a 1 percent commission from OfferPad.
If the partner agent ends up helping the buyer purchase a non-OfferPad listing, then the agent only owes OfferPad a typical referral fee (referral fees generally range from 25 to 35 percent).
The “Agent-on-Demand” program goes into effect for a listing when OfferPad begins “pre-marketing” the property and runs through its tenure on the multiple listing service (MLS).
The program only applies to buyers who do not already have an agent but are interested in purchasing an OfferPad home.
OfferPad will continue to pay a typical buy-side commission — often between 2.5 and 3 percent — to buyer’s brokers if they bring their own buyer to a sale.
Co-CEO Brian Bair, formerly a prolific real estate agent, anticipates that about 60 percent of unrepresented buyers who visit an OfferPad home and want to buy it will request the help of an agent, with the remaining 40 percent choosing to purchase directly from OfferPad.
Those who choose to buy without representation will be able to use OfferPad’s website to create and submit an offer, schedule an inspection and perform other tasks to complete a property purchase.
While they represent an alternative to traditional listing brokerage, iBuyers Opendoor and OfferPad have taken pains to cozy up to the industry, paying typical compensation to buyer’s brokers, publicizing referral programs and expressing a desire to cooperate with local brokerages.
That contrasts with the typical approach taken by many hybrid brokerages, which often cast traditional agents as overpaid.
“We’ve had a few agents in here that have heard about this program and agents are obviously really excited about,” Bair said. “It’s a way to help them grow their business … it could be a win for everybody all the way around.”