The Truth About iBuyers

Anyone who has been in the real estate industry for more than 3 years will tell you how much it has changed. Specifically, the rise of iBuying has dramatically increased over the last couple of years.  Real estate professionals, especially agents, need to understand iBuyers and be mindful of them daily as more and more home owners are turning to their laptops to sell their homes instead of calling on a real estate agent.

What are iBuyers?
Every iBuying company is different, but generally put, an online company will offer about 90 percent of the market value for a home and pay cash immediately to the home owner and then take on the responsibility of renovating it, if needed, and re-selling it. This allows the sellers to move out as soon as they’d like with no open houses, no appraisals, no showings, etc. Because of this, however, these companies will typically tackle on at least a 7 percent “convenience fee” and then another $5,000-10,000 in repairs done on the house.

The biggest, most common iBuyers are Opendoor, Knock, Zillow, HomeLight, Perch, Redfin, and EasyKnock. But more similar companies emerge every single month and DFW is one of the first markets these companies are hitting.

An article from The Balance summed it up, “In most cases, iBuyers take the properties they purchase, fix them up, and eventually list them on the open market or sell them to investors at a profit.”

However, every market is different and not all markets have iBuyers. For example, is only offered in Dallas, Houston, Miami, Denver, Los Angeles, and Austin.

Why do consumers gravitate towards them?
One word: convenience. We are in the Amazon generation. Consumers are getting accustomed to the advantage of going online to shop and having their products shipped directly to their door just within a couple of days.

It’s simple, really. The average person will spend a little bit more money for something that is high quality and convenient! Convenience trumps price.

This idea is not only affecting the real estate market, but many aspects of American purchasing experiences. Fast-casual restaurants are commonplace. Online car shopping, such as Carvana, is popular. Americans, especially millennials, are used to searching and having answers to their questions within minutes. This makes it difficult for a real estate agent, a real human being with families and responsibilities and vacations, to keep up with the immediacy of it all.

How is it impacting the real estate industry?
It’s growing quickly.

According to an article by Housing Wire, the iBuyer market has grown by 25 percent every year for the last four years. “In fact, Zillow’s second quarter earnings released [in August 2019] revealed that nearly 40% of its $600 million quarterly revenue came from its iBuying business, Zillow Offers” the article stated.

“According to ATTOM Data Solutions, nearly 10% of Opendoor and Offerpad sales came from bulk investors in 2018,” stated The Balance. “In cities like Phoenix, the two accounted for 4% of all real estate sales in the city in 2018 — a 1.5% jump over 2017. It just goes to show that for today’s consumers, convenience and technology reign supreme.”

What do these numbers mean? It means iBuyers are taking money out of the pockets of the traditional real estate agents. These are home owners that went online to sell their home rather than call their REALTOR®.

However, iBuying is still fairly new and continues to being tested in markets like Dallas. Matt Templeton reminds us that “Ironically, iBuyers have yet to create profitable business models. This is because they fall into the ‘technology disruption’ game that is currently getting a pass on profit in lieu of building new business models, acquiring new data, and creating whole new industries.”

What does this mean for REALTORS®?
It simply means that real estate agents need to be aware of what’s happening. This is not the time to stick your head in the sand and cross your fingers that it’ll be over soon. Continue to educate yourself on iBuyers, how they operate, and how they will continue to impact your market.

The good news is that consumers still prefer a real, breathing human being rather than a bot. “This is likely because a real human with a fiduciary responsibility to help the homeowner get the most money in the shortest amount of time still matters to most of us,” Templeton wrote.

Be available for your clients. That’s not to say you can’t have down time without answering your phone, but set the correct expectations with your clients by letting them know you received their call or message and will get back to them as soon as you’re available. Most consumers appreciate a response, even if it’s not an answer to their question, rather than plain silence.

Focus on and hone in your digital marketing. Ensure your brand is consistent across all mediums: social media accounts, your website, and your printed marketing materials.

Provide valuable information online via VIDEO. However that looks is different for every agent, but it needs to be done. Again, consumers want easy-to-digest information fast. When they’re searching the web at 10:00 on a Tuesday night, and you have already published 3 videos giving information about the exact community they’re looking in, you better believe they’re going to give you a call.

Another thing to consider is to get out ahead of the curve. Many iBuyers are not simply attempting to replace all real estate agents. Many of them still hire agents and give them commissions on the transactions. For example, Opendoor has opportunities for agents to join their team.

As the real estate industry continues to evolve, it’s crucial to have valuable real estate partners who are in your corner to support you. If you don’t already have a title company that does this and more, reach out to your local First International Title rep today and see how we can make an impact in your business!

Instagram Tips for Real Estate Professionals

“People come to Instagram to be inspired and discover things they care about, and that includes content from brands and businesses.”

For the real estate professional, Instagram can be a wonderful platform to genuinely connect with people and have a brand recognized by consumers. If you’re not currently marketing yourself on Instagram, here are some statistics that will change your mind.

  1. Instagram is a young social platform. Generally, millennials and Gen Z’ers prefer Instagram highly over Facebook. You’ll get ahead of the curve by targeting these people, especially millennials, and turn that into ROI.
  2. 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram.
  3. 200 Million+ Instagrammers visit at least one business profile daily.
  4. 1/3 of the most viewed stories are from businesses. Don’t know what a “Story” is? Don’t stress! We’ll cover that.

Set up a Business Profile
It’s really as easy as 1-2-3. Follow these simple steps to set up your business profile on Instagram. A business page is a great resource to have as it allows you to run ads and boost posts to reach potential new clients, keep track of insights (who’s viewing the posts, at what time, and on what day), and to connect with customers in a whole new way. A personal Instagram page doesn’t have the same opportunities.

Bio = Elevator Pitch
The Instagram bio (the short area of text at the top of a page) is basically that person’s elevator pitch. Once a follower reads the bio one time, she gets a glimpse of who she’s following and then she’ll never read the bio again. This is the one opportunity to draw someone in. Keep it short to the point, use emoji’s to break up the block of text, and make sure it sticks.

Shoot for a 2:1 Ratio of Followers
Generally, a successful Instagram page has twice the amount of followers as pages it follows. For example, if you’re a real estate agent who follows 300 accounts, you should have 600 followers on your page. The goal is to have more people following YOU as a brand, leader, and influencer than people you follow. Start eliminating this problem by unfollowing anyone who does not follow you back. Get picky!

Hashtags are how people will find you and your posts. Did you know you can use up to 30 hashtags? Use hashtags on all of your posts and make sure that at least 1-2 of them are personally-branded. What does that mean? Have 1-2 hashtags that only you would use, no one else, unless they were posting about you. It can be a blend of your name and your niche. For example, ours is #firstintitle and then each rep has his or her own branded hashtag as well.

Use the Right Visuals & Unify Your Brand
Instagram is a highly visual platform. Unlike Facebook, it relies purely on captivating images to draw in users. Don’t settle for just any photo you find online (also watch out for copyright). Use the right ones that match your brand’s color. Every color has a color code. If you don’t know what yours is, you can upload your logo into this website and get the color code to make sure every post is unified with the same color.


Stories, stories, stories
As stated earlier, one-third of the most viewed stories on IG came from businesses. Instagram stories are, similar to Snapchat, a photo or video that you can feature for 24 hours and then it will disappear. You can use all sorts of filters, stickers, location, hashtags, tag others, etc. in your stories. The people that you tag in the story can, in turn, share that same post in their own story and voila! Your original post is now in front of that person’s followers too.  Another great thing about stories is that they are discoverable. Which means people who don’t follow your page can still see your stories! You can post as many as you want and they show up in the form of a slideshow for users to view.

Overall, there are so many thing you can do on Instagram to reach new audiences and be a part of your community. Try to think outside of the box and really hone in on the value that you, personally, bring to your community. Why should someone follow your page? Do you have anything interesting to say? Are your images fun to look at? Do you have anything valuable to provide? Ask yourself these questions before starting your account!

As always, we are here to help you. Reach out to your local rep for a one-on-one meeting and he or she can sit down with you and go over these tools with your accounts and make sure you succeed.

How to Use LinkedIn to Your Advantage

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all the rage recently when it comes to social media marketing. It seems like CE classes offered are only for these platforms. But what about the countless others? Many other platforms draw millions of business people and yet, so many of us spend little-to-no time marketing on them. Well we’re here to blast right through that and give you tangible tips and statistics to get you started marketing on platforms other than Facebook and IG. A big one is LinkedIn.

First of all, let’s aim to understand why we should be marketing on LinkedIn to begin with. Who can we potentially reach?

Who’s on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn now has 500 million members on its site and that number continues to grow each month. About 260 million people actively use their LinkedIn pages monthly.  Even though that seems like a huge number already, LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, has a goal to hit 3 BILLION users.

Almost 90 million millennials are active LinkedIn users as well. As we all know, millennials (ages 23-38) are currently buying more houses than any other generation. Many millennials are in decision-making positions, especially when it comes to buying their first or second home.

A lot of people are using and responding well to LinkedIn’s SlideShare. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase a current listing or give a mini presentation on interest rates, market update, etc.

Only three million LinkedIn users are actively sharing content. In comparison to how many business people are on LinkedIn (500 mil total, 260 mil active), that’s very few people getting their brand out on the platform. Which means YOUR content will be seen!

Now, we ask: What kinds of content should we be putting out on LinkedIn? Thankfully, LinkedIn is seen by most marketing executives as the best platform to find higher quality content. Typically, how-to lists or list-style posts perform the best. This can easily be used by real estate professionals in terms of content curation! For example, “3 Things to do This Weekend in Frisco” or “5 Netflix Shows to Watch this Summer” or “10 Best Family-Friendly activities in your Area!” Catch our drift?!  

Why Use LinkedIn?
According to many other businesses, LinkedIn works! According to Neil Patel, 93% of B2B marketers feel that LinkedIn is the best place to win leads.

More conversations are started on LinkedIn between business people than any other social media platform. See the below chart.

With that many people on LinkedIn and the stats to prove that gathering leads works on the site, all that’s left to do is start sharing content and getting your brand out there! 

How to use LinkedIn
First of all, set up a company profile on LinkedIn. Don’t worry – it’s free to set up! Fill in all of your information, your services in the About Us section, and include key words in this section, such as “D-FW real estate,” so that the page will come up in online searches.

Next, add a professional photo of a headshot or logo for the profile picture. You should aim to keep photos of families, dogs, or kids off the site. LinkedIn is slightly different from Facebook and people go to this site to find professionals. After that, start connecting with as many people as possible on LinkedIn.

Start adding your content as quickly as possible. Any videos, listing presentations, flyers and articles you already have is a great start.

“With more than two-thirds of LinkedIn’s users considering themselves ‘news junkies,’” Patel writes. “You’ll be hard-pressed to find an audience that is as ready and willing to consume your content.”

Incorporate LinkedIn into your daily or weekly posting habits. You can set aside 30-60 minutes at the beginning or end of the week to plan your social media posts for the upcoming week. Time blocking is crucial to being productive and your social media should be no different.

Similar to Facebook, you can create posts with just text, photos, or videos. And don’t forget hashtags! Similar to Instagram, hashtags can also be used on LinkedIn to help with Search Engine Optimization and to find followers that you normally wouldn’t without those hashtags.

Search for and join groups that are relevant to you! You can also start your own groups and be in charge of the content for that group. This is the easiest and quickest way to get in front of like-minded people and, hopefully, capture more leads. All that’s needed to start a group is to click on the “Create group” button under the “My Groups” tab. Be sure to include all the information needed to start the group and get creative with your niche.

Lastly, similar to Facebook and Instagram, ads can also be run on LinkedIn with company profiles. Here is a step-by-step article on how to run ads through LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager.

As always, First International Title is here to help! Reach out to your local rep for questions or assistance on setting up your LinkedIn page or help with any other social media platform. Need more tips? See our previous blog, “Top Seven Social Media Tips”.