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Top iBuyers Resume Buying Houses

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Opendoor and Offerpad resumed their activity after a coronavirus-related shutdown and now two other companies, Zillow and RedfinNow announced that they will resume making all-cash offers to homeowners.

Redfin said that the company will immediately relaunch its iBuyer program, offering virtual home tours and open houses, starting in Austin, Denver and Los Angeles. Also, they will be bringing back 14% of their work staff that they furloughed following the start of the outbreak in the U.S.

Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said on an earning call last Thursday that the “issue for Redfin hasn’t been customer interest. We have never put anything on our website that homeowners responded to more eagerly than a cash offer. The issue has been just how we respond to that interest.”

Zillow also announced that they will be relaunching their iBuying service, Zillow Offers.

The company froze hiring, suspended marketing and discretionary spending as the coronavirus pandemic began shutting down many parts of the U.S. economy in March, which caused Zillow to cancel its revenue guidance and slashed expenses by 25 percent.

Barton also predicted a “great reshuffling” in the way people buy and sell home. The forced adoption of tools like virtual touring and digital paperwork were long overdue, he said.

Opendoor and Offerpad have new health plans and services for those that are looking to sell or buy a house.

Offerpad has resumed extending cash offers for properties, and has worked with HealthyVerify in order to provide new health and safety plans, due to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes handling most processes remotely, limiting the number of people in homes and disinfecting common areas.

“The procedures, specifically planned for Offerpad’s unique operations, were thoughtfully designed to reduce the risk of viral transmission”, said Dr. Ana Moran, HealthyVerify’s head infectious disease physician.

Also, they will deliver virtual and video chat home tours and 3D walkthroughs on their website and if a buyer wishes to see the house in person, the Offerpad property will be sanitized and vacant.

Opendoor also announced the they will begin buying and selling homes again and have come up with new features that are meant to avoid contact between people as much as possible. Instead of having an in-person walkthrough, Opendoor’s direct sales will only require a virtual interior home assessment.

The company now has a new service called “Home Reserve”, that is designed for those that want to buy and sell at the same time; Opendoor will purchase and reserve a new house on the family’s behalf with an all-cash offer and then the homeowners will be allowed to move into the home, while the company will list and sell their old property.

“Life didn’t cease because of COVID-19. People still have a need for a home with an extra bedroom, a bigger backyard, or in a better school district. And we’ve heard loud and clear that safety is the No. 1 priority.” said Opendoor co-founder and CEO Eric Wu in a blog post.

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