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iBuying: New option on the market for homeowners looking to sell

Who will offer more for your home?
Posted at 6:12 AM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 16:09:23-05

TAMPA, Fla. — A new option for homeowners looking to sell is called iBuying, websites that can make an offer to buy a home within minutes.

Brian Gruber renovates one or two homes a year for his side hustle as a home flipper.

Gruber and his wife recently spent five months gutting and remodeling every room in the three-bedroom home on Westland Avenue in South Tampa.

“We design it, we watch the HGTV shows and take some cues off of that as well,” Gruber told ABC Action News Consumer Reporter Jackie Callaway.

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The upgrades include a larger shower, new flooring and a completely renovated kitchen. Gruber listed the home to sell at $329,000 based on recent listings or sales of similar size homes in the area.

“We are not asking a ridiculous amount,” said Gruber.

The couple used a Realtor to list the home and then requested quotes from several iBuyer websites to compare bids.

Zillow made an online offer of $270,000 dollars, which didn’t include $30,000 in fees and closing costs.

Opendoor quoted him $245,000 for the house, minus an average of 7% in fees. Gruber turned down that offer, believing he would make up to $50,000 more by selling on his own.

Tampa Realtor Joe LoCicero, who works for Zillow locally, told ABC Action News the offer price for Gruber’s flip could have been higher if they had opted for an in-person evaluation by Zillow.

Internet buyers may not offer the highest price, but they tout quick sales with choose-your-own closing dates and the convenience of avoiding making repairs. Sellers may not have to take care of the repairs when they use iBuyers, but they do have to pay for them and that cost comes off the bottom line.

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Veteran South Tampa Realtor Chib Anderson points out local agents work on commission, so they are motivated to get top dollar for every home they sell.

“They really work very hard,” Anderson.

Both Anderson and LoCicero agree iBuyers are not a one-size-fits all and it’s not for everyone.

In Zillow’s own analysis of 3,200 homes, sellers made out slightly better using traditional realtors over Zillow – but only by a fraction of 1%.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify how homeowners can compare selling options and to reflect the companies that made offers on Gruber’s home.