Storied real estate brokerage Coldwell Banker is no longer content to have its agents simply help consumers buy and list homes for sale: starting next month, it will begin presenting all-cash offers in as short as one business day to homesellers who request them in Atlanta and Dallas, and later this year, in Tampa.
Not only that: Coldwell Banker’s parent company Realogy, the largest residential real estate company in the U.S., says it is not ruling out expanding the cash offers program to more brokerages under its umbrella.
The New Jersey-based giant did not specify which other brokerages might be next, but it also owns other recognizable brands including Century 21, Sotheby’s International Realty, Corcoran and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.
For now, the new service is available exclusively through Coldwell Banker brokerage offices operated by Realogy’s subsidiary NRT (Realogy also operates Coldwell Banker as a franchise). Called the “cataLIST Cash Offer,” it is funded by Home Partners of America, a company backed by major investment firms like BlackRock and KKR & Co, that partners with various real estate brokerages and provides consumers with “rent-to-own” homebuying options in an effort to make homeownership more accessible.
But unlike other competing near-instant homebuying services — startups Opendoor, Offerpad, Knock, to name a few — the cataLIST Cash Offer will keep Coldwell Banker real estate agents front-and-center throughout the process, much as the agent would be in a traditional listing.
Sellers who want to take advantage of the new program will need to send their property’s information — such as bathrooms and bedrooms, age, general condition and repair needs — to a participating NRT Coldwell Banker real estate agent online, who will in turn, present them with the cash offer “generally within one business day,” according to a release.
“Most of the sellers to whom this product will be introduced have never really considered this type of thing before,” M. Ryan Gorman, president and CEO of NRT, the Realogy subsidiary that oversees the company’s owned-and-operated brokerages, told Inman.”They’ll be able to go through it with an agent to guide and advise them.”
Sellers have five days to consider their cataLIST Cash Offer. If they accept the price, Home Partners of America’s subsidiary cataLIST will close in as few as 10 days or as many as 90, make minor repairs and upgrades and re-list it for sale online when market conditions are favorable.
The company will charge a “convenience fee” for sellers who accept it, though it declined to specify how much this will cost. Opendoor, for example, charges an average fee of 6.5 percent to sellers who take its cash offers.
Offers will not exceed $550,000 in Dallas, $500,000 in Atlanta, and $450,000 in Tampa, according to an NRT spokesperson.
If the seller declines the offer, they will stay with the same agent who advised them for the listing process, and Coldwell Banker will market the property for sale to other prospective buyers.
The move is a watershed moment for Coldwell Banker’s parent Realogy, plunging it headlong into an intensifying competition with well-moneyed private startups (Opendoor is valued at over $2 billion), public tech giant Zillow and a growing wave of companies dubbed “iBuyers,” which offer similar all-cash deals for homes over the internet.
Coldwell Banker says its cataLIST Cash Offer will be more appealing to consumers than the competition because of the dedicated Coldwell Banker agents guiding the process.
But Zillow’s competing service, Zillow Offers — which is available now in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and soon, Denver — also ropes in agents from various brokerages to provide sellers with a comparative market analysis (CMA) report as to what their home could fetch on the open market.
And startups such as Opendoor and Knock have experts who help sellers through the process of requesting and considering an offer. They also work with local agents, who send them referrals and even have local brokerages leveraging them as part of the brokerage’s own marketing.
Tracey Jeter, spokesperson at Home Partners of America, told Inman that the new cataLIST Cash Offer service is more personalized than simply taking a home off of somebody’s hands.
“With many other cash-offer models, consumers lose that value and expert opinion that a real estate agent brings to the table,” she said. “We see ourselves as different from those typical iBuyer models.”
The coming months will show whether consumers feel the same way.
Updated after publication to clarify that NRT Coldwell Banker agents will present the offers on behalf of Home Partners of America’s subsidiary cataLIST.