EXp Realty is the latest real estate company to jump into the iBuyer business, following in the footsteps of NRT, Redfin and Keller Williams.
The virtual cloud-based real estate brokerage isn’t exactly going to be buying homes, however. With Express Offers, announced Thursday, eXp Realty will solicit multiple buyers at once, yielding more than one cash offer.
“Unlike other platforms that are out there, what we’ve designed is a platform where on one side, we have eXp Realty agents and then on the other side of the platform, are institutional buyers from across the U.S,” Ted Laatz, vice president of affiliated services at eXp World Holdings, told Inman. “EXp Realty itself is not buying the properties, we’re teaming up with institutional buyers to buy the property.”
Inside the platform, each buyer in the network will have their own series of buy boxes, according to Seth Siegler, a member of eXp Realty’s tech team, which built the platform. The investors can log into the system with their own accounts and create those specific parameters, like price range, property type and location.
Agents will continue to be at the center of every transaction with the platform. Home sellers that show interest in the platform will first be connected with an eXp Realty agent, who will then walk them through each step of the process. Agents that want to participate will be required to take a training program and become certified on the platform. The training will take place in eXp Realty’s virtual cloud campus.
“IBuyers are one-offer systems, where the consumer submits their property and then gets one offer back,” Laatz said. “With our platform, they could potentially get multiple offers back.”
“And there’s an agent involved in every transaction,” Laatz added. “And that agent will go through those offers with the seller, and show them how they compare to each other.”
One of the main criticisms of the iBuyer platform has been the cost associated with that convenience. Across the industry, some of the top iBuyer platforms like Opendoor and Zillow Offers, charge a fee of slightly more than 7 percent of the sale price.
With Express Offers, the buyer will pay an undisclosed flat transaction fee to eXp Realty for facilitating the transaction, while the seller will pay the agent a commission that the two parties negotiate and upon which they agree.
The impetus behind launching an iBuyer platform was at least partially motivated by market factors, according to Laatz.
“Obviously, there’s been a lot of discussion about iBuyers in the last couple years and we’re seeing in certain markets that iBuyers are participating in sales a lot more,” Laatz said. “So we wanted to make sure that we were providing eXp agents the tools to be competitive in their markets.”
Express Offers is currently live in California. Since eXp Realty is unencumbered by the mass amounts of capital usually associated with scaling up an iBuyer platform – because most top iBuyers are doing the actual buying as well – the company plans to scale to 10 more states by the end of the year.