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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Quick Cash for Your House? Yes, There Are Apps for That

If you put your house up for sale, know that it’ll typically be on the market for about a month before you get an offer—an eternity when you’re hosting revolving-door showings, paying two mortgages, or trying to move in a hurry. Now a new category of companies called iBuyers wants to slash that time span to three days or less.

Think of them as house-flippers that work for you. Sellers fill out an online questionnaire, and an iBuyer uses proprietary modeling to assess the home’s value. The company then makes an all-cash offer within 72 hours, sight unseen. (The iBuyer keeps a 6 to 10 percent commission off the price.) They make light renovations and relist the house at a markup. Home buyers can browse and make an offer via app.

The field’s forerunner is Opendoor, which is already in 13 markets and aims to expand to 20 by year’s end. In June, the startup raised $325 million from investors like Lennar (the nation’s largest homebuilder) and VC firm General Atlantic, bringing its value to $2 billion. Meanwhile, competitor Offerpad has raised a total of $410 million. Even traditional listings giants are copping the business model with programs like Redfin Now and Zillow’s Instant Offers.

While these startups’ fees may skim thousands from a home seller’s profit, for harried movers the prospect of a two-day turnaround—and cash in hand—may be worth it. Some iBuyers are even offering to hire your movers for you. Just open your wallet and get out of the way.

This article appears in the September issue. Subscribe now.

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