Real estate agents have used a new feature from Cloud CMA, a popular comparative market analysis platform made by W+R Studios, to close three transactions with iBuyers, real estate investors that use technology to quickly buy and sell homes.
Called iBuyer Connect, the feature allows agents to request cash offers from iBuyers to present alongside CMAs in listing presentations with prospective sellers. So far, three offers generated through iBuyer Connect have closed and three other offers have been accepted by homesellers and are in the process of closing, according to Greg Robertson, co-founder of W+R Studios.
W+R Studios is now seeking to patent the feature and plans to make iBuyer Connect available to Cloud CMA users across the country, potentially helping further integrate real estate agents into the growing iBuyer ecosystem.
More than 400,000 agents use Cloud CMA and the software publishes more than 260,000 CMAs monthly — a scale that Robertson has told Inman he thinks will make participation in iBuyer Connect attractive to iBuyers.
“All we do is connect agents with sellers to iBuyers,” Robertson said. “There isn’t much tech behind it. The power of what we do is the aggregation of sellers with high intent [for iBuyers].”
Cloud CMA lets agents curate market data and community information into interactive comparative market analyses, listing presentations, buyer tours, flyers and general property activity reports.
In August, W+R Studios began testing iBuyer Connect, originally called Cloud Investor Connect, in Southern California. It gives an agent the option to request cash offers from iBuyers after creating a CMA for a property, provided that the property meets the requirements of an iBuyer.
Should any iBuyers that are part of the iBuyer Connect network choose to submit an offer, the agent can then go to a listing presentation armed with one or more cash offers to present to a prospective seller, along with a CMA.
If the seller accepts the investor offer, the agent will represent the investor as a buyer’s agent. The agent might also win the listing, in which case the agent could also serve as a dual agent. The feature doesn’t comes with any additional cost, and the compensation agents receive from an iBuyer varies by company and market.
Robertson has told Inman that he thinks iBuyer Connect will be like “Progressive Insurance — ‘Here are your five instant offers. Which ones do you want?’”
For the initial test in California, W+R Studios partnered with Flip Wolf, a real estate tech firm that flags multiple listing service (MLS) listings that could be profitable home flips for a network of real estate investors. At the time, agents could only receive offers through iBuyer Connect from Flip Wolf sister company InvestNotic. Now, W+R Studios is opening up iBuyer Connect to other investors in an effort to expand the feature to agents nationwide.
Robertson said upon the test’s launch that he hadn’t spoken to any of the high-profile iBuyers, such as Zillow Offers, Opendoor and Offerpad, but that he envisioned iBuyer Connect fetching bids from those companies for its users. Robertson declined to comment whether W+R Studios was now in discussions about partnerships with any of those iBuyers or any other iBuyers across the country.
Asked how Robertson defined iBuyer, he said: “IBuyers can be investors, and some of those investors are looking for houses to refurb and flip. I think as long as those investors can keep a lot of the process digitally, they qualify under the iBuyer umbrella.”
In a statement, he said Cloud CMA and iBuyer Connect are giving “any agent in the country the ability to participate in this fast growing iBuyer marketplace.”
IBuyer Connect represents one of a number of initiatives designed to offer real estate agents a role in the iBuyer business model, such as a new co-listing partnership program announced by iBuyer Goliath Opendoor.