Sure, they offer convenience, but the reason it works is because it’s so vague – sellers will never know the money difference between selling to an ibuyer or an open-market sale. The trendy-hip, sell-with-a-click factor could lure sellers into giving up an extra 5% or so without ever realizing it.
(pay 3% more in ibuyer fees and then sell for less than open-market sale)
Hat tip to reader ‘just some guy’ for sending in the article:
When Dora Cagnetto decided to sell her townhouse in Phoenix this year, a real estate agent told her that she could get around $375,000 for it. Maybe $390,000. But she would have to replace the carpet and paint the walls. At 68 years old and recently retired, she thought it sounded like a lot of work.
One evening, after the carpet had been ripped up, Ms. Cagnetto saw an online ad for Zillow Offers. Zillow, better known for telling people what their homes are worth, would buy her home itself. She uploaded some photos and got back an offer: $382,000, minus a fee for Zillow. No repair work or open houses necessary. And Zillow paid cash.
Ms. Cagnetto estimated she effectively paid $10,000 to $15,000 for the privilege of turning over to Zillow the job of replacing the carpet and the bathroom countertops and doing other light repair work.
“My son, he’s like, ‘Well, oh, I could have done that,’ and maybe he would have saved a little money,” Ms. Cagnetto said. “But to me it was like, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to hire somebody to do that, I don’t want to put carpeting in, I don’t want to paint these walls.”
The Phoenix area has become a hub of the iBuying phenomenon. With its relatively new housing stock and miles of buff-colored subdivisions, the market is affordable, uniform in look and steadily growing.
Whether iBuying works outside markets like Phoenix and Las Vegas is an open question. The model has yet to break into the Northeast, where the housing stock is older, the weather drives up maintenance costs and there are fewer of the kind of cookie-cutter subdivisions that the industry’s algorithms assess best. Prices are higher, too, making mistakes costlier for the companies.
More data released today on pricing trends, and though San Diego didn’t make this chart, we’re probably in the normal range with Los Angeles because our Case-Shiller indicies have been similar (+1.8% vs +1.1% YoY in SD). Interesting that they call San Francisco ‘undervalued’.
Both the HPI and the Case-Shiller Index were the February readings. There is optimism that YoY pricing will pick up as the selling season rolls on, but they are predicting that prices will decline from March to April, which is unusual:
Looking ahead, after some initial moderation in early 2019, the CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates home prices will begin to pick up and increase by 4.8% on a year-over-year basis from March 2019 to March 2020. On a month-over-month basis, home prices are expected to decrease by 0.3% from March 2019 to April 2019. The CoreLogic HPI Forecast is a projection of home prices calculated using the CoreLogic HPI and other economic variables. Values are derived from state-level forecasts by weighting indices according to the number of owner-occupied households for each state.
These guys don’t make their data public. Using the Case-Shiller Index instead, we see that the last time we had a drop between March and April was in 2009, at the bottom:
Sellers don’t want to spend the money or go to the hassle of remodeling unless they have assurance that it will be worth it. With the market steering further away from fixers, a thorough remodel at least helps a seller being overly-penalized. If buyers have to do the remodel themselves, they will add their pain and suffering to their expected repair bill, and want to deduct 150% to 200% of actual costs to compensate.
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