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NAR’s pocket-listing ban is a boon to OfferAI

iBuyer tech startup provides a workaround to a new rule requiring open listings

The National Association of Realtor’s pocket-listing ban that goes into effect on May 1 will be a boon to OfferAI, an iBuying tech startup that provides a private marketplace that puts agents in the center of an instant-offer transaction.

“Agents are able to put a pocket listing on a private platform that can facilitate that sale in a way that conforms to the NAR rule,” said Jack Burns, founder and CEO of the two-year-old startup.

OfferAI, based in Kirkland, Washington, currently is operating in nine states. By the end of the year, Burns said he expects the platform, which functions similar to a Craigslist for pocket listings and instant-offer transactions, to be in every state.

The company provides the technology for brokerages and agents to provide a “white label” iBuying platform – meaning, OfferAI clients take the service and put their own brand on it.

“We’re making it so we can be invisible and the agents and brokers can brand themselves,” Burns said in an interview.

The startup makes its money through a monthly subscription fee. Brokerages pay a $2,500 set-up fee and then $250 a month. Agents who want to buy the service for a team of 1 to 5 people pay $500 for a set-up fee and $100 a month.

“A brokerage can take our platform and make it look like it’s theirs, so they can offer an iBuying service just like all the big brokerages,” Burns said.

Zillow and Opendoor are the nation’s two largest iBuyers, followed by Offerpad and Redfin. Real estate brokerages have responded to competition from iBuyers by either offering their own instant-offer service or partnering with one of the giants.

For example, Keller Williams teamed up with Offerpad in August and Realogy, the largest U.S. brokerage, announced a service in October that’s an iBuying hybrid. The program, RealSure Sell, gives qualifying sellers a cash offer upon listing that’s valid for 45 days while an affiliated agent tries to sell the property on the open market.

In November, NAR voted to ban pocket listings, which are properties agents have listed but aren’t put on the Multiple Listing Service for all to see. NAR “clear cooperation policy” requires homes to be listed on the MLS within one business day of being marketed to the public.

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