Houston Association of Realtors President Bob Hale and industry experts discussed the iBuyer as a lead generation tool at RISMedia’s 2019 Real Estate CEO Exchange.

Real estate agents and brokers need to pay attention to iBuyers – or at least the seller leads being generated from the trendy homebuying and selling platforms. That was a key takeaway from real estate industry experts at RISMedia’s 2019 Real Estate CEO Exchange, according to the company’s own reporting. 

The term “iBuyer” is seeping deeper into the collective consciousness, as evidenced by the data. Zillow Offers, the fastest-growing iBuyer platform and second in total listings behind Opendoor, has had more than 170,000 consumers put in a request for all-cash, flexible-close offers since the platform launched in April 2018.

Bob Hale, the president and CEO of the Houston Association of Realtors, said his association recently conducted a survey and found that 33 percent of respondents are aware of the term while 41 percent of current sellers would consider an iBuyer. But of those that would consider using an iBuyer, 92 percent still want to be represented by a Realtor.

“What we need to pay attention to though is the fact that 80 percent of respondents are interested in seeing how much an iBuyer would offer,” Hale said at the conference.

Anthony Lamacchia, the broker-owner of Lamacchia Realty, is an indie broker with his own iBuyer platform. He’s long-touted the seller lead generation ability of the tool and continued to evangelize the benefits at the conference.

“What surprised me most was the fact that the leads coming in through the program were regular sellers, not necessarily people in desperate situations,” Lamacchia said.

Both Lamacchia and Joe Rand, the chief creative officer at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, acknowledged during the panel discussion that some sellers are simply looking for a convenient path rather than attempting to get the most money for their home.

The consensus appeared to be that brokerages can use iBuyer platforms as a tool for lead generation as long as they familiarize themselves with those platforms so they can be upfront about the pros and cons of going the iBuyer route with their clients.

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