Brian Bair, CEO, Offerpad
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

Offerpad flips the script by offering agents listings, not buyers 

CEO Brian Bair discusses the iBuyer’s push to expand agent programs and its strategy for success in a post-settlement future.

June 5, 2024
5 minutes

Key points:

  • In the wake of the NAR settlement, Offerpad and other iBuyers have an opportunity to “remove a lot of the friction from the buyer experience," Bair said.
  • Offerpad recently introduced new programs and incentives for agents, including the ability to list other homes in the iBuyer’s portfolio.
  • Bair, who sees himself as a tech leader, said the company plans to use AI to make its model “better and smarter.”

The iBuyer Offerpad, which launched in 2015, is best known for its 24-hour cash offer for homeowners. But after a tough couple of years, the company has been expanding its scope, focusing on agent partnership programs and other sources of revenue like home renovations. 

While the stimulus-fueled housing boom and rise of remote work during the pandemic presented a major opportunity for iBuyers, many players — including Zillow and Redfin — were unable to sustain their iBuying businesses and shuttered those programs

Alongside Opendoor, Offerpad is one of the two remaining leaders in the space, and in an interview with Real Estate News, CEO Brian Bair said his company is prepared to not only weather the housing downturn, but to capture market share.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

One of your competitors, Opendoor, said the post-settlement landscape would be good for iBuyers. Do you agree?

The commissions lawsuits and NAR settlement are a good example of how quickly the industry is going to change. What's going to happen — like you see in some other countries — is buyers getting more used to dealing with the seller directly. 

By being able to own and list our own homes, I think we remove a lot of the friction from the buyer experience. There are going to be some people who want a little bit more hand-holding and education on the process, and there are some people — our customers — who want what we deliver. They want more of a digital experience. 

You launched some new agent partnership initiatives recently. How have those been going?

We saw more opportunity with the agent community of not only providing them a 3% commission when we buy the home on the front end, but we'll now allow them to list it on the back end. And with the Pro program, if an agent is interested in one of our zones, they can list other Offerpad homes that we have, even if they didn't bring them to us.

One of the challenges is that there are a lot of companies built on providing buyer leads — people who are in the market to buy their next home and then maybe sell their current home. We've kind of flipped that, and we're able to provide the listing. 

With the recent news of the NAR settlement, a listing is becoming that much more valuable. The timing of those Pro and Max programs worked out really well — we obviously didn't know where the settlement was going to land.

What do you want agents to understand about Offerpad?

We want to be a solution center for everyone, and we want to meet customers where they're at. Being a former real estate agent myself, we've always embraced the real estate agent community. 

We understand that the cash offer doesn't work for everybody, but we want to offer a solution. If a customer comes to us and we can't buy their home because it doesn't fit one of our buying criteria, we will refer them to one of our agent partners in that area. We want to find the best solution and create a win for everybody involved.

Do you view yourself as a tech CEO or a real estate industry CEO?

I definitely see myself as a tech CEO with an extensive real estate background. And the reason I say that is because the amount of data and technology it takes to be able to provide a customer an offer within 24 hours — and in a lot of cases, on homes that we haven't seen before — the technology that we have built internally to be able to provide that is pretty extensive. 

We're going to keep doubling down on that. And AI will also make us better and smarter.

Are most of the homeowners coming to you ready to sell?

In a lot of our markets, people are coming to us first because they want to see what their home is worth. Sometimes we're catching them a little bit early and they need a little bit more seasoning to understand what's out there or find their next house. 

In this moment, we're seeing most people wanting to move because of life moments, not because they're wanting to trade up for one more bedroom or a nicer kitchen. 

How do you plan to keep growing in this market?

This is a moment in time in real estate that is tougher than most, so there are challenges across the board. But I think there's a lot of different ways to get market share. Our cash offer business is key, and we're going to continue to grow that. 

There are also opportunities where people who are locked into a three and a half percent mortgage just want to renovate their home and use the efficiency of our renovation teams to remodel their current home. We're going to get them the end result.

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