Selling your home online could speed up sale but drive down profit

From Money Magazine, to U.S. News and World Report, the Triangle continues to top national lists as one of the best places to call home.

Real estate is at a premium and companies that promise to help you get into or out of your home quickly are targeting the area. Numbers provided by online realtors show more people are opting to handle their home transactions online.

Charlissa Boyd wanted to sell her home and said selling the traditional way would have required too much work and money.

"We tried to hire some other Realtors but they said we had to do some repairs first in order to sell the house," Boyd said.

She was scrolling through her Facebook feed when she saw an ad for Opendoor that caught her attention. After submitting some information about her home right on her phone, she got an offer.

"They'll give you an estimate of how much your house is worth based on the questions that they ask like your interior information, your exterior." She was able to choose her closing date and sell quickly without making any repairs.

"It's very convenient, I mean, it was too easy," she said.

Opendoor launched in the Triangle in October 2017. A spokesperson said the company has bought and sold more than 1,500 home since then. Other companies, such as Mark Spain Real Estate, Offerpad and Zillow also offer online transactions and promise guaranteed offers. One of the reasons companies like these are moving into the area is the influx of new home buyers.

"We need more inventory," said Julie Ju, a realtor with Triangle Real Estate Chix. "The secret's out that the triangle really is one of the best places to live in the country."

Ju said online sales may be quick and easy, but there are other things for home buyers and sellers to consider. "It's not one size fits all, so a seller should do what's best for them depending on their motivation."

Ju said that if you're selling a home, skipping showings could mean leaving money on the table from competing offers.

"It's an emotional experience, when somebody walks in and they can imagine themselves living there and they need that house so they're willing to pay," Ju said.

Boyd said she doesn't regret using an online real estate company and skipping out on the home showings, but she said going online may not be right for everyone.

"I understand that most people are trying to get the most money, and that's OK," she said. "In my case it wasn't about the money it was about the convenience."

There are several variables that could affect the rates and fees both traditional and online real estate sellers charge for buying a home.

Opendoor said its average fee in this area is 6.5 percent. Offerpad charges service fees that range from 6 percent to 10 percent, and the average rates for traditional Realtors in North Carolina are between 5 percent and 6 percent.
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