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Home appraisal’s ugly history and uncertain future

This is Part I of a deep dive into the home appraisal industry. Today we explore the origins of the appraisal industry and its current lack of diversity.

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Real Estate

These iBuyers are coming to a market near you

Redfin, Opendoor add east coast, midwest locations

A fury of iBuyer expansion hit the industry this week, with Redfin and Opendoor announcing new locations and Offerpad announcing Thursday it will go public.

RedfinNow, the iBuying platform of Redfin, has expanded into the Baltimore – Washington D.C. area. The company’s iBuyer platform is already available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas and Washington.

“Moving is stressful enough, without having to worry about your home selling before you’ve found a home to buy,” said John Monen, RedfinNow regional manager. “We let homeowners choose their closing date and stay in the home after the closing through a rent back, so that they only have to move once.”

Jason Aleem, a vice president at RedfinNow, added that it’s become the norm for homeowners to compare what they could get for the home with an instant sale versus the price it would fetch on the open market in the current condition.

“We’re the only nationwide brokerage in the [Baltimore and Washington D.C. area] that can offer homesellers a complete range of options to meet their needs,” Aleem said.

Opendoor’s iBuying platform has expanded again, after a move to the San Diego area in February. This month, the company launched in four new locations – Boise, ID; Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point, NC; Killeen, TX; and Prescott, AZ. 

“The pandemic has influenced where homebuyers choose to live, their timeline for moving, and is a major motivator for moving overall, and our report also shows that home sellers want digital options,” the company said in a statement. “Based on a recent national survey we conducted, 71% of sellers said they were likely to consider selling their home to an iBuyer.”

In December, Opendoor expanded its iBuying services in Provo and Ogden, Utah; Rochester, Minnesota; Lakeland, Winter Haven, Sarasota, Deltona, and Ormond Beach, Florida; and Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, and Ventura, California. The iBuyer also said that homebuyers in Tucson, Arizona; Charlotte, North Carolina; Houston; San Antonio; and Austin, Texas, can tour and purchase any home on the market through its platform.

Opendoor went public in October after announcing a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp.

Finally, Offerpad said Thursday that it was bought by a Spencer Rascoff-controlled special purpose acquisition company, named Supernova Partners Acquisition Company. The deal will provide the iBuyer with up to $650 million in gross cash proceeds,.

Offerpad will also receive a $200 million commitment from private equity investors such as BlackRock and Zimmer Partners. And the deal pledges $50 million from “Supernova affiliates” and “up to $403 million of cash held in the trust account of Supernova.”

Rascoff departed as Zillow company CEO in early 2019, which some suspected was due to Zillow’s lack of iBuyer growth.

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