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Win the i-buyer discussion


In the early 2000s, Blockbuster video, one of the most successful companies in the country with thousands of stores in almost every city in America, was unknowingly about to be disrupted. Blockbuster saw a young, popular new media company Netflix in their rear-view mirror and completely ignored them. As a matter of fact, Blockbuster had an opportunity to buy them for $50 million and declined, not worried about the fledgling media company. Now Netflix is worth $152 billion and was single-handedly responsible for the closure of over 1,900 Blockbuster stores nationwide. (I won’t even mention what Uber is doing to the taxi industry).

So, how does this relate to you and your real estate business? Well, you are staring directly at the i-buyer in your rear-view mirror. What is an i-buyer? They are companies such as Open Door or Zillow Offers who have hundreds of millions of dollars in investor backing who would like to take the real estate agent out of the home selling and buying process. They buy homes directly from the seller without the use of a real estate agent, touting an easy, seamless transaction. Imagine selling your home without staging and the headaches of countless showings and weekend open houses. Instead, you get an instant offer with no strings attached. Sounds almost too good to be true. Even so, thousands of homeowners are turning to these companies to sell their homes.

This is not a fad or fly-by-night concept with no chance of catching steam. These companies are here and they are growing in many markets throughout the country. It is only a matter of time before you are asked the question: “Why shouldn’t I just sell to Open Door? It seems so easy and they take care of everything. I just say yes and move on to my next home. They told me I would save time and money by selling to them.”

Below you will find a list of talking points, scripts, dialogue, ideas, and strategies to combat the discussion with potential sellers and win the listing over the well-funded i-buyer in your market.

IMPORTANT

We highly recommend steering clear of any dialogue that will come off as bashing the competition. Use dialogue such as “I understand the Open Door model and think it is a very interesting idea.” or “Absolutely, in certain situations selling your home to a company like Open Door may be helpful.”

What you are doing here is qualifying their thought process and not starting the conversation on a defensive or negative note.

YOU: “It may be important to consider some additional options as you look into a sale with Open Door.”

Open Market Sales Approach

YOU: “When you sell your home to a company like Open Door, you take the possibility of selling in an open market off the table. By listing your home on the Multiple Listing Service, you create the opportunity for multiple buyer interest, incorporating the principles of supply and demand and potentially driving the price of your home up to help you realize more money for the sale of your home.”

Seller: “If we go with Open Door, they say it will be hassle free. No showings, no staging, no waiting for a buyer. We can have this all done by the end of next week and then look for our new home.”

YOU: “I completely understand. Selling your home seems like a huge undertaking and interruption to your everyday life. In reality, when planned correctly, we can limit the interruptions and, in the end, the added money you could make will offset the time and effort you put into preparation.”

Repairs

In my research, I have read that some of the i-buyers can be pushy with repairs. They will typically make an offer on a home, then quickly do an inspection, asking for repairs to be made or credited towards closing. There is often little negotiation room here for the sellers and could be a great opportunity for you to discuss the inspection process and the negotiations that you can handle throughout this process as their agent.

YOU: “In many cases the i-buyer will demand extensive repairs or large credits for repairs to be made toward the closing with little or no negotiation. In a traditional open market sales process, I am able to negotiate the repairs and keep them to health and safety. Often times, we can save you money through this negotiation process that frankly can be complicated at times."

i-buyer Motivation

The i-buyer is in the business to make money and does not have your best interest at heart.

YOU: “If you sit back and think about it, the i-buyer is in this business to make money and aren't invested in you as a seller. You are dealing with a company that has millions, maybe billions, of dollars and has much more experience than you with this process. The sale of a home can be complicated and often times effective representation can be the difference between making money on your home sale or just breaking even.

Net Sheet

The i-buyer’s number one selling tool is the net sheet. Get a net sheet application like Palm Agent and prove your numbers to the seller as well. If you do research on the i-buyer, you can typically create a net sheet based on their offer and design several counter scenarios through your app that will prove a better outcome for your seller.

Reviews

If you go to Yelp, you will find dozens of negative reviews for companies such as Open Door and Zillow Offers. Use these in your presentation. It is always good to sprinkle some positive reviews in as well so you don’t look too one-sided, the negative reviews will be what your seller remembers.

YOU: “I thought I would check out what other people are saying about their Open Door experience and I found there were several discouraging stories and bad experiences on Yelp. As you make this decision, it may be beneficial to check out some of these comments."