Durham Magazine April / May 2022

Page 106

durham inc.



BY BRANDEE GRUENER | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSICA BERKOWITZ imberly V. Williams, owner of Right Time Realty and a Realtor for 20 years, gets calls that she couldn’t have imagined when she first started selling real estate. “Why should I hire you,” her prospective clients ask, “when I can just sell to somebody online without even showing my house?” National real estate companies known as iBuyers – like Opendoor, Mark Spain Real Estate and Offerpad – appeal to sellers by touting quick and easy cash payments, the convenience of avoiding repairs and showings, and a slightly lower commission fee. And this appeal works for homeowners who want to sell quickly. They might need to raise cash for a down payment, move a parent to a retirement home or leave the state for a new job. On the other hand, iBuyers typically deduct the cost of repairs from their cash offers and don’t pay top dollar in what is a very hot market. “It really depends on if you’re OK with missing out on that opportunity to make some additional income,” Williams said. “What makes more sense to you, the convenience of





someone writing you a check, or the opportunity to maximize the amount of money that you can make from the sale

of your home? With me, with a few tweaks and a weekend of showing, I may be able to attract a bidding war.”

Anna Fadel is a Realtor with Peak Swirles & Cavallito Properties.

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Houses sell fast and bidding wars have become a norm in today’s market. Despite that, iBuyers have had “a tremendous impact on our business,” Williams said. “Basically they are our competition.” Jon Enberg, the Carolinas general manager at Opendoor, noted the company works with independent agents who “present Opendoor as an option alongside listing on the open market.” “We think consumers, regardless of their circumstances, want a more certain, hassle-free way to buy and sell their homes,” he said. “Our goals are aligned with agents – we want people to feel empowered to move when they are ready; not just when they have to. Agents provide tremendous expertise and knowledge when our customers want that support.” According to Opendoor, most real estate transactions take place the traditional way, with fewer than 1% conducted online. That figure can vary from market to market. So, how much market share have iBuyers grabbed in Durham? In a recent search of Opendoor homes, the company had 17 listings in Durham. Mark Spain Real Estate, which also provides traditional real estate