iBuying is the No. 1 real estate trend for 2020, says a new report by California-based research firm T3 Sixty.

“The way consumers buy and sell homes is radically changing, and 2020 will be the year that more will recognize these fundamental shifts happening within real estate,” says Stefan Swanepoel, chairman and CEO of T3 Sixty and the report’s editor-in-chief. “The industry is changing more and faster now than it has in decades, something that becomes abundantly clear when reading this study.”

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The Swanepoel Trends Report says that “after fundamentally altering other industries, venture capital and technology are now rocking the residential real estate brokerage industry. By fueling new models, consolidation and ways of delivering services, these powerful forces are changing the way consumers buy and sell real estate forever,” it says.

With iBuying, “a controversial and powerful new real estate model used by Zillow, Redfin, Opendoor and a growing list of other companies every day, consumers can sell or buy a new home in as soon as three days with all cash and choose their closing date. The model brings transparency, simplicity and certainty to a transaction that historically has been lengthy, confusing and complicated,” says the report.

It says the trend has evolved from a seller-focused model to one that serves buyers and, increasingly, synchronous sellers – those sellers who are also buying a home. New companies are offering an increasing number of twists on the model, it says.

The study looks at three companies – Zillow Group, Compass and Keller Williams Realty – that “have made huge bets on the future by essentially pushing all of their chips to the centre of the table with aggressive, company-changing moves.”


  1. All of the above comments are valid. However, judging by my (past 32 years’) experience, the mechanics of transactions have changed and will continue to change. Electronic signatures have become acceptable, although 10 years ago it would been considered totally unacceptable. This also translates to Agents and clients meeting face-to-face becoming redundant. Smaller communities will be slower in accepting these changes. This will eventually mimic buying and selling of other commodities – using the internet – price being a very strong factor in decision making. With pricing, an array of gimmicks will be thrown at the consumer,i.e., one year wall-to-wall warranty, money-back refund, legal expenses (like Title Insurance), etc. It will happen. (Doctors scoffed at me when I mentioned very basic electronic tools, like precision cutting tools.)

    So, future models of brokerages will have to take into consideration remuneration models for their representatives. We, the older ones, will have to give-in to the younger, energetic, in-experienced, raw-hands, to do all the works. And yes, present day concepts will wilt away.

  2. If this really worked all listings would be sold by now and Realtors would be extinct. “Guaranteed sales”are always and have to be less than fair market value otherwise the system wouldn’t work. Why would a seller choose to loose more money than his neighbour,who sold using a Realtor.

  3. Swanepoel has been beating the drum of the death knell of the traditional real estate industry for years. Redfin and Zillow will occasionally put together a happy buyer and seller, but generally their business model has been a bust. Their motto should be; “Use our service and save all that money you would spend on commission!” Gullible sellers will try it and find out that they are getting very little for their money (Redfin and Zillow are not free services, after all). Buyers, it has been shown, prefer to work with a Realtor, if for no other reason than the advice and local property information they can provide; plus it means dealing at an arms-length position rather than a confrontational face-to-face situation that most people dislike. There may be a better way to sell real estate, but this isn’t it.
    The writer has said; (These companies) “have made huge bets on the future by essentially pushing all of their chips to the centre of the table with aggressive, company-changing moves.” Yes, that’s because their current plan isn’t working for them.

  4. This American system resembles a repackaged concept that some realtors advertise, such as “we guarantee sale of house if it doesn’t sell in 30 days”.

  5. My prediction is that within 5 to 10 years real estate as we know it will be a thing of the past. Title insurance will cover off deficiencies.

    • Many have been saying for years, real estate industry is going to change drastically. It hasn’t happened. I believe the main reason is that buying and selling is an emotional process. For this reason alone computers, databases, etc cannot replace the knowledgeable and expert opinion of a realtor.

  6. Who handles the intricacies of a complicated deal? Currently, it is the Professional Realtor & legal team along with a savvy Broker of Record. When a deal goes South, we are there to not only provide emotional support but equally as important, to implement dedicated years of handling Real Estate knowledge.

  7. Below is a great write up from Forbes.com on this topic.

    “While iBuyers provide the convenience of selling quickly, matching expert investors against consumers isn’t always the best thing for the consumer. Zillow recently explained that 90% of sellers (paywall) who engaged its Instant Offers platform decided against the iBuyer offer and chose a traditional agent instead. If 9 out of 10 consumers pass, the pricing can’t be that compelling. Choice is good, but a home is generally your largest asset, so you may want to consult an expert before “iSelling.”


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