Fight or flight or…?

by Meg White

When I was in Houston for our sister magazine’s Accelerate Summit earlier this month, hands down the most highly anticipated session was the panel on iBuyers. Now, unlike Chicago, Houston has already seen inroads by companies offering cash to sellers who are willing to take a haircut on their selling price for a quick turnaround. But when I sat down to interview panelist Chris Crocker, vice president of HomeLight Agent Services, I was taken aback by his assertion that iBuyers will make up some 15 to 20 percent of the market over the next two years. Now Crocker is a smart guy, and being in the iBuyer industry, he probably has a better handle on the potential of the market than I do. But is he right? And if so, how should readers of Chicago Agent magazine prepare?

When evaluating a threat, there are two conflicting tendencies that pull human beings in different directions. The part of us that favors stasis and calm is predisposed to brushing off concerns about potential disruption. But as real estate professionals know well, this stance can backfire. What if the threat is real and complacency delays our response?

It feels like we’ve reached a moment much like this when it comes to iBuyers in Chicagoland. While they’re not a market force yet, all signs point to the fact that they will be soon and we need to decide how to react.

But what if this isn’t a binary decision? What if there are other options? As those who foster an entrepreneurial spirit will likely appreciate, there’s almost always a way to improve one’s standing at a moment of change, if you’re willing to look in all directions. Which path(s) will you choose?

Of course, there are many differing opinions about iBuyers — perhaps as many opinions as there are methods for going about the iBuyer business model, in fact. You’re going to hear quite a few of them in our cover story, and I hope you share yours with me at [email protected].

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