Redfin has launched its instant-cash-offer service in North Carolina for the first time, expanding its alternative homebuying offerings in the state’s two largest metros.

The Seattle-based brokerage on Thursday announced it had expanded its RedfinNow iBuyer service into Charlotte, Raleigh and the surrounding areas.

Redfin — which has teams of agents throughout the country and offers a variety of more conventional services — has aimed its iBuyer service particularly at sellers who are looking to buy soon, and who value a flexible timeline.

“The process of listing your home can be stressful, especially for sellers who also need to buy in ultra-competitive markets like Raleigh and Charlotte,” RedfinNow Vice President Jason Aleem said in a news release announcing the launch. “RedfinNow is a convenient solution, allowing sellers to skip the often time-consuming work associated with listing their home and giving them the liquidity they need to make a strong offer on the next one.”

The iBuyer service is also a way for Redfin to make a play for market share in this small but growing segment of the housing industry. Competitors with similar cash-offer services include listings giant Zillow and more specialized iBuyers like Opendoor and Offerpad.

Sales involving the largest iBuyer services accounted for 1 percent of home sales in the second quarter of the year, according to a September report by Zillow. That’s still a small share of the overall market, but also represents a big turnaround from the drop in iBuyer sales earlier in the pandemic.

Companies with cash-offer services operate essentially as large-scale home flippers, offering instant cash to sellers who escape the headaches of repairs, showings, open houses and negotiating with buyers.

After purchasing these homes, iBuyers typically make necessary repairs and then list them back on the open market.

The new additions in North Carolina bring Redfin’s iBuyer service to its 28th and 29th markets. Eleven of those markets were launched this year.

At first, not all homes in Charlotte and Raleigh areas will be eligible for cash offers. The brokerage says it will initially buy only in select neighborhoods, focusing primarily on single-family homes and townhomes built after 1950. Its early activities will be concentrated in Alamance, Chatham, Mecklenburg, Orange and Wake counties.

The service will also allow cash offers on condominiums in Orange and Wake counties. 

For Redfin, the iBuyer cash offer is produced by an algorithm that considers location, condition of the home and other factors. It can also serve as a starting point to market Redfin’s more traditional brokerage services to sellers.

“Part of what makes RedfinNow different is our ability to educate sellers on all of their options in a single conversation,” Aleem said in the release. “Many are drawn to the certainty of our competitive cash offers, but those who still want to list on the open market for the lowest fee can do that with a local Redfin agent.”

Email Daniel Houston

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