Keller Williams is planning to enter the “iBuyer” market with its own instant offers service, called Keller Offers, which will launch next month.
The iBuyer trends refers to a new kind of service offered by companies such as Zillow, Redfin, Opendoor and others. The idea is simple – rather than wait for someone to make an offer on their home, sellers can ask for an “instant offer”. The broker then follows up within 24 hours or less with a concrete offer to buy the home, though the seller has no obligation to proceed.
Keller Williams says it will launch Keller Offers in the Dallas-Fort Worth market first of all, before expanding to six to eight other markets by the end of the year. The firm will devote an initial $100 million to finance its instant offers.
“We see iBuying as an important additional offering for our agents to offer to home sellers,” the company said.
Keller Offers works a bit differently from programs such as Zillow’s, as sellers will have a fiduciary Keller Williams agent serving them.
“While we believe the addressable market for iBuyers represents less than 10 percent of the overall market, we do see this as an important additional option for KW agents to be able to offer their sellers,” said Keller Williams spokesman Darryl Frost in a statement. “Our goal is to minimize the cost to the consumer.”
Keller Williams’ announcement follows on the heels of iBuying giant Opendoor, which recently launched a new initiative called Opendoor Agent Partner Program. Opendoor says it wants to partner with real estate agents who they can pair with buyers and sellers when customers choose the traditional option or when the home doesn’t fit inside Opendoor’s buy criteria.
Agents are finding a role in the iBuyer world, either finding ways to work with iBuying startups or launching their own type of program. Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams, Redfin, and ERA are some other high-profile brokerages that have been testing out their own versions of an iBuyer-type program. Their programs, however, set out to ensure the agent stays at the center of the transaction, no matter which selling option the homeowner takes.