Over the weekend at my father’s house, the extended family gathered for several combined birthdays. For close to 20 years now, he has lived in an affluent seaside town.
His modern, updated, modest-sized home boasts spectacular views and is undeniably immaculate — to the point that any wrapping paper scraps that fall to the floor during the excitement of grandchildren’s birthday parties have a life span measured in seconds.
My dad is not what you would call a technical guy. He’s the nicest person you’ll ever meet, but when it comes to anything new, computerized or remotely electronic, he’s mystified to the point of frustration.
My point is that he is conservative by nature. New things are not his speed because he’s not in any rush. Other people can try new things and work the kinks out; he’ll sit back and watch until he’s satisfied that it’s no longer “new,” and therefore, “trustworthy.”
You can imagine my surprise then, when as I was telling him about Opendoor’s model and how the company makes an offer on a property before it’s listed, he stopped me cold and said, “So, I wouldn’t have to do showings? I’d be interested in that.”
Convenience is worth the cost
My dad, Captain Luddite himself, understood Opendoor’s model within 15 seconds and instantly grasped the benefits as he saw them. Yes, he understood Opendoor’s offer would likely be lower than it would be if he put the home on the market, but he was willing to pay for the convenience of not having people tramping through his house.
We’re talking about a home that would be ready for a showing with zero notice — but the attractiveness of avoiding showings was, for my father, something worth paying for.
Is there a typical iBuyer?
Had you asked me prior to this conversation who the typical iBuyer might be, I would have said someone in a divorce situation, possibly someone looking to move. Maybe people who had lived in their home for many years and didn’t feel like updating it.
In short, I thought an iBuyer was someone in a very particular, time-sensitive situation who would trade getting top dollar on their property for security on the price.
I firmly believe that there will always be a market for these types of sellers, but what I never even considered was that someone who had no time pressure whatsoever would find the model attractive because of sheer convenience. Now that was eye-opening.
This got me wondering whether the real estate industry has underrated convenience as a factor in the real estate transaction. Surely there are more people out there like my father who value time and convenience over money.
Bringing convenience to the transaction
When I ran a multiple listing service (MLS), I spent a lot of time working toward solutions to improve the convenience of the broker/agent experience because I realized that if the MLS couldn’t match their experience to that of consumers on Amazon or eBay, the MLS would have a hard time staying relevant.
After having this revealing conversation with my father, I think brokers and agents will want to consider that convenience may be the only motivating factor for some clients.
Cameron Paine is the founder of Inevate LLC. He live in Madison, Connecticut, and consults internationally. Follow him on Facebook, or connect with him on LinkedIn.