Tech Connect: How to close a deal with bitcoin

Christie's International Realtor Piper Moretti shares how to get started with bitcoin clients

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Inman Connect New York | January 29 - February 1, 2019

NEW YORK — Everyone wants to get into bitcoin now — and all it takes is one client.

Christie’s International Realtor Piper Moretti shared her experience getting started with bitcoin real estate transactions on stage at Inman’s Tech Connect event on Tuesday.

“The whole bitcoin thing just kind of fell into my lap,” Moretti said.

Moretti switched over to Los Angeles real estate from the entertainment industry about three years ago and soon found herself with a buyer who wanted to pay all-cash — but in bitcoin.

To figure out how to make it work, Moretti found another California bitcoin transaction that had closed and followed its model. Because the transaction was all-cash, they didn’t have to arrange a loan involving cryptocurrency.

The biggest hurdles were converting bitcoin to cash for the seller — and convincing the listing agent that an all-cash bitcoin offer wasn’t a scam.

“The day before we closed, the seller’s agent was still asking me if we were trying to scam them,” Moretti said.

Moretti included in the contract that the buyers would be transferring bitcoin into cash. Still, the buyers got kicked out of escrow a week before closing. The buyers’ decision to buy a Lamborghini in bitcoin after making some money from a spike in the ever-changing value, eventually served as enough proof that bitcoin could be used for a $3 million property.

Since that first transaction, Moretti has closed four more transactions via bitcoin. A few were investment properties for the same clients, but one recent deal was with a new client.

Moretti offered advice for agents interested in finding bitcoin clients.

“Do your due diligence,” she said. “Educate yourself. Get some skin in the game. I don’t care if it’s $100 — log on, get onto the exchange and get a little bit just so you’re invested.”

That investment will help, Moretti said, as cryptocurrencies and blockchain continue to disrupt all kinds of industries.

“My colleagues liken it to the beginning of the internet,” she said. “We know it’s this awesome thing that’s going to be huge later on, but we’re still trying to put the puzzle pieces together to figure out how it’s going to work.”

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