Opendoor Director of Strategic Partnership William Holmes said at Connect Now on Thursday that sellers are increasingly requesting offers from the iBuyer after listings hit the market.

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A holding pattern between homebuyers wary of falling prices and sellers holding onto sweet memories of rapidly rising home prices from a year ago are causing transactions to stall and innovative real estate technology companies to fill the void, according to panelists at a Connect Now session on Thursday.

As a result, real estate agents should be prepared to act as advisers for the moment widespread uncertainty subsides, said William Holmes, director of strategic partnerships at Opendoor, and Laura Eddy, Realtor.com’s vice president of research and insights, at the session entitled, “How the Current Market is Impacting Seller and Buyer Behavior.”

“It’s really that difference between 2021 for sellers versus 2008 [for buyers],” Holmes said. “Just that expectation sellers have about the market being where it was in the last couple years and just misaligned [with] where buyers are.”

Holmes and Eddy joined a panel moderated by Kendall Bonner, broker/owner of RE/MAX Capital Realty. The three discussed the current market of nervous buyers navigating amid uncertainty, sellers trying to figure out the right time to buy, new technology for all parties and agents’ role in the middle of it all.

Holmes said Opendoor in particular has seen changes around when sellers and their agents are seeking offer requests from Opendoor. Agents previously sought Opendoor offers before listing a home, Holmes said.

Opendoor offers sellers quick cash offers for their homes before fixing them up and reselling them. The company is rolling out more services that allow buyers and sellers to work with each other, rather than the company only buying homes and reselling them.

“That, over the last few months, has actually changed and flipped a bit,” he said. “We’re seeing more offer requests coming in from on-market properties, which I think speaks to that concern and that lack of comfort around the home not selling immediately and that panic that sellers are having.”

That may be a result of sellers working with their agents on looking at all the tools available to sellers and bringing options to their clients.

And in a market that’s created a bit of a panic, particularly for first-time homebuyers, agents and proptech companies have more tools at their disposal to navigate the market.

“You have generations, especially with some of these younger generations that are more tech-enabled, they’re a little bit more tech-savvy,” Eddy said. “They maybe haven’t been brought up in this model of the way it’s always been done. You’re seeing this hunger for disruption.”

Eddy said Realtor.com is focused on providing consumers with information they’re looking for, collecting data and providing that to Realtors to help them start their process.

“One of the things that strikes me, especially in the last few weeks and months, is the way consumers talk about their agent almost as a therapist,” Eddy said.

Holmes compared agents to a hub at the center of a wheel.

“They are the hub amongst a number of spokes that are out there to be the connective tissue,” Holmes said.

Neither attempted to use a crystal ball to say how the next few months or even years would play out. But agents, they both agreed, should be ready. 

“The minute we get stability and some comfort in the market, I think you’re going to unlock a lot of activity of folks that have just been observing for a bit,” Holmes said. “That’s going to help with agents that are keeping close and building up credibility with their client in the meantime.”

Email Taylor Anderson

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