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Report: iBuyers shut up shop as coronavirus fight continues

Some of America’s biggest iBuyers – or companies that make instant cash offers on people’s homes – are said to be suspending their services due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The companies include Opendoor, the largest iBuyer in the U.S., as well as the iBuying businesses of brokerages such as Redfin and Realogy.

Realogy said it was suspending its RealSure program indefinitely.

“To maintain the integrity and future of RealSure, we made the difficult decision to suspend all cash offers at this time,” Realogy said in a statement. The company added that it would monitor the market in hopes of restarting the program as soon as possible.

Zillow followed up with its own announcement Monday, saying it too will now be suspending its Zillow Offers service, which is available in 24 U.S. markets.

Meanwhile Redfin has hit the pause button on its RedfinNow service, which the firm uses to buy homes directly from sellers before doing them up and trying to resell them at a profit.

“We remain as committed as ever to giving homeowners the option of an instant offer—but only when we can know what a fair price for an offer would be [in this market],” Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman wrote in a blog post last week.

One might be forgiven for thinking the closures are a portent of doom for the real estate industry, but Kelman said that many parts of the country had so far seen just a minimal impact from the coronavirus. He added that the disruption to the industry is likely to be short-lived.

“Even where buying demand is falling, we believe that low inventory has limited some of the impact,” Kelman added. “Many agents we spoke to Tuesday morning still report bidding wars on listings.”

Not every iBuyer has shut down. For example, Keller Williams says its iBuying program remains open for business. Meanwhile, traditional real estate brokerages are coping with the coronavirus by shifting much of their work online, using virtual tours and other automated solutions to keep interacting with clients.

Mike Wheatley

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at mike@realtybiznews.com.

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