Realogy launches new, improved iBuyer platform for bevy of brands

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA and Sotheby’s International Realty are all rolling roll out the new iBuyer program. BYPATRICK KEARNS

Realogy is revamping its year-old iBuyer platform to give sellers more security as they go to market, and give agents an offer benchmark to beat for their clients.

The new platform, renamed RealSure, builds off the company’s existing partnership with HomePartners of America to give sellers a cash offer on their home that’s good for 45 days. During those 45 days, the seller can accept the offer at any time, giving them the security of knowing just how much they could get for their home.

RealSure is currently available in Dallas and Denver for sellers looking to work with a real estate agent affiliated with Better Homes and Gardens Real EstateCentury 21Coldwell BankerERA or Sotheby’s International Realty. In the next month, the platform will roll out to brokerages affiliated with these brands in a number of U.S. markets, including Chicago, Illinois; Houston and Austin, Texas; Tampa, Orlando, Sarasota and Fort Myers, Florida; and Sacramento, California.

NRT CEO Ryan Gorman said early experiments into iBuying convinced Realogy to create a solution he described as being the best of both worlds, allowing owners to “sell their home for the highest and best price in the shortest period of time but with the assurance of having a cash offer at the beginning of a listing period.”

“We learned through our iBuying program that the iBuying value proposition was great for a few, but speed and certainty was necessary for most,” Gorman added. “The natural evolution of that process led us to create RealSure.”

Like many iBuyer programs, Gorman said NRT and Realogy saw considerable interest in obtaining an offer, but actually selling to an iBuyer was perfect only for a small segment of the population. “The vast majority of homesellers were best served through a traditional process,” Gorman said.

The second aspect of the platform allows sellers to use that cash offer to guarantee funds, which will allow them to bid on a new home. Dubbed “RealSure Mortgage,” the program eliminates the need for carrying two mortgages and gives sellers the flexibility to choose the date by which they can close on the sale of their old home and their new home.

The offering is similar to a service from Homeward, a startup from Tim Heyl, a Keller Williams mega agent. Homeward allows current homeowners to use their equity toward an all-cash offer on a new home, without having to sell their old home first.

Home Partners of America, a rent-to-own real estate startup that looks to provide a nontraditional path to homeownership, is the capital behind RealSure.

Agents whose clients ultimately opt for the Home Partners of America offer – which also includes a fee not disclosed to Inman, but will be disclosed to the seller – will still receive a full market-rate commission, according to Gorman, who declined to disclose the exact commission fees. But he also said agents will get an opportunity to act as the listing agent when Home Partners of America re-lists the home for sale.

Asked if that posed any conflict of interest – the seller’s agent subsequently acting as the agent for the buyer – and if the agent is still doing their fiduciary duty to their selling client, Gorman said it merely streamlines the process.

“This really brings complete alignment to the process – alignment between us, the homeowner, as well as the agent,” Gorman said. “The greatest incentive is for the agent to sell the home, on behalf of the homeowner, to the open market for the highest possible price in the shortest period of time.”

“We put the floor underneath that, but our goal is not to purchase homes,” Gorman said. “Our goal is to ensure homeowners receive fair market value for their homes on the open market.”