Posted on January 3, 2022 by in Sellers

2021 in Review – A Better Way to Sell

As far years go, 2021 was monumental for all things real estate. Supply shortages, skyrocketing prices, an influx of new buyers, and historically low interest rates all contributed to one of the most competitive markets in decades. 

With this competition came the catalyst for the often outdated real estate process to adapt and grow in-line with consumer’s needs. 2021 was a year for real estate technology, new platforms have forever changed the way we buy and sell homes, but it’s likely just the beginning. 

In this article we’ll provide a bit of insight into the path ahead as it applies to ibuyers, home sellers, and individual home buyers. But first let’s take a quick look at how Duval Home Buyers has worked to facilitate innovation and growth in our real estate market!

A pandemic and platform

2021 saw the continuation of a Pandemic that has touched almost every market, every vertical, every business, every nation, and every person in some way. It ground commerce to a halt at a global scale, and drove the development and implementation of new technologies needed to facilitate business in the post-pandemic world.  Safety became a top priority for most, and government mandates regarding social distancing highlighted a need for a way to communicate, negotiate, and connect remotely. 

It was clear to us as the New Year began that the demand for housing was only increasing. However, the historical process of both buying and selling a home was archaic and difficult and in desperate need of revision. 

We are a traditional family run business, but we understood that the winds were changing, and we were determined to offer top quality solutions to these new and burgeoning concerns. To that end we launched our new Direct Sales Platform and website, allowing for contactless and simple property submissions, remote walk-throughs, and contactless closings. All designed to make home selling simpler and safer, or as we like to put it: A Better Way to Sell Your Home. We think we’ve succeeded in making Duval Home Buyers the easiest way to sell a house. 

We saw overwhelming success with this new initiative, helping hundreds of sellers get the best value for their properties, without the need for a real estate agent, and free from the fees, commissions, and closing costs typically associated with selling a home. And we were also able to help a number of first-time home buyers purchase homes in one of the most competitive markets we’ve ever seen. Most companies would call it a successful day. We wanted to be different. 

2021 also showed us an often undiscussed world of human suffering. The loss of loved ones, jobs, homes, and the stress of multiple years of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions took their toll on our community in a way we’d never before witnessed. We made it a mission to give back to our community in whatever way we could, and we are truly excited to announce some of those initiatives in the coming weeks. Stay tuned! 

The fall of a giant

In the world of US real estate there is perhaps no name more widely known than Zillow. The platform has been a leader in both the rental and retail real estate markets for buyers, sellers, and agents alike. 

Originally a for sale by owner platform, Zillow expanded and partnered with thousands of regional real estate associations. This allowed them to provide direct feeds to MLS data, and to connect consumers with licensed and reputable agents to help them with their real estate needs. In 2021 Zillow also entered the Ibuyer market in a big way with their Zillow Offers program. 

The Zillow Offers program was designed to provide the ease of selling to ibuyer companies backed by a trusted name – a giant in the real estate industry. The Zillow offers program took many markets by storm, and it seemed like Zillow might be a real threat to more established ibuyers and independent investors such as Duval Home Buyers

However, the reliance on AI driven pricing and valuation models, and a lack of human backed redundancy checks left Zillow holding the bag on thousands of overpriced homes which they had purchased and been unable to flip. As a result the Zillow Offers program was sunset after less than a year in operation. 

Key takeaways – tech is the future, but it’s not infallible

But what does the increase in ibuyer saturation, dependence on technology based real estate platforms, and the fall of Zillow mean for consumers? Right now, not much other than the freedom of choice. A little underwhelming perhaps, but choice is one of the most important pillars of our business culture, and too much choice is never a bad thing. 

Ibuyers purchased a record number of homes this year, and that means that sellers were able to utilize those technology platforms to sell a record number of homes contact free, albeit with a hefty service fee. Buyers with good credit scores were able to purchase homes on the open market at historically low rates. And many other sellers were able to get great cash offers from reputable cash buying companies like Duval Home Buyers! 

Technology in real estate is here to stay, and it’s likely that contactless and touchless purchasing and sales platforms will continue to gain traction and market share. We’ll be here to grow with our customers and with the market, ensuring the best possible service in 2022 and for years to come!