Although a large swath of the real estate industry initially shunned iBuyer models, an increasing number of individual brokers and agents are embracing the model’s strengths by launching platforms of their own. The latest franchise to cast its lot is Washington D.C.-based Century 21 Redwood Realty that launched an all-cash offer platform, Redwood Offers.
“If you were going to sum up what technology and investments are trying to add to the real estate transaction, it is all about speed and certainty, Redwood Realty co-founder and President Eddie Berenbaum told Inman. “Redwood Offers brings speed, certainty and transparency to the homeselling process, allowing homeowners access to their home’s equity without sacrificing its value.”
Available to consumers in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area starting Feb.19, Redwood Offers enables sellers to request an all-cash offer on their home. After providing their address on the Redwood Offer website, an automated valuation model (AVM) will provide an estimated home value. After providing an initial estimate, Redwood Realty will send a staff member to the seller’s home for an in-person valuation, which will be used to make a final, baseline offer.
From there, Redwood Realty’s vetted investor partners will bid on the home. After accepting an offer, the winning investor will complete a final inspection with a 14-day closing.
If the seller has yet to find a new property, they can enter into a fair-market rental agreement with the investor who now owns their home. Berenbaum said most investors will allow sellers to stay for up to 18 months, but all Redwood investor partners have pledged to at least offer a two-month rental agreement.
“It’s 2020 and a good number of real estate transactions that are taking place have a buyer that’s going to have to sell one property to move to the next,” Berenbaum explained. “Either they’re rolling the dice with a bridge loan or sometimes they’re playing make-believe that they have a backup option if the sale of their home doesn’t pan out the way that they plan.”
“The real magic in Redwood Offers is how it enables our agents to empower their clients to make clear decisions,” he added as a reference to the power an all-cash offer gives sellers.
Although an all-cash offer can be hard to resist, Berenbaum noted Redwood Realty agents will present sellers with a number of options, including the estimated net proceeds from placing their home on the open market, what another investor or iBuyer would be able to offer, the benefits of a potential renovation, or applying for a bridge loan.
“Our agents don’t present Redwood Offers in a take-it-or-leave-it manner, rather they walk their clients through a variety of options in a way that maximizes options and minimizes risk,” Redwood Realty co-founder Shawn Milletary said in a prepared statement. “This is how real estate should be done in 2020.”
Berenbaum said Redwood Offers has been years in the making, and he doesn’t see other platforms, specifically Realogy’s RealSure (which is available to C21 agents in select markets), as a threat.
“RealSure is an exciting product that we’ve talked to Realogy about extensively,” he explained. “We view it as a product that would fit nicely inside of Redwood Offers as opposed to a rival platform, though.”
“Looking at how RealSure is offered in other markets, it’s safe to say that when it launches in our D.C. market it will only be available for a specific portion of the market. Per their website, the market price caps for Chicago Metro is $100,000 to $525,000,” Berenbaum added. “Redwood Offers is designed to work with a wide array of investors, so we don’t have to utilize price caps.”
“Once RealSure is available in D.C., we would love to be able to present RealSure as an option for sellers who have requested offers within the parameters set for our market,” he concluded. “For simplicity’s sake, we call our platform Redwood Offers, but our ultimate goal is to deliver as many options to consumers as possible.”