Online estate agency Emoov is the latest organisation but the first agent in the UK to launch a US-style iBuyer service.
This follows the Guild’s launch of a very similar platform in February last year and the launch of Net Ventures-backed Offerpal a few months later.
All three services are unusual – and for same agents controversial – because they step in and buy a vendor’s property if a buyer can’t be found in the traditional way.
Emoov, which is owned by proptech platform Mashroom, enables sellers to list their properties and, if they have not been sold within 30 days, they can request an offer directly from Emoov.
This means that for the first time in the UK an estate agency is offering to get involved directly in the transaction rather than merely facilitating it, a concept some traditional agents are uncomfortable with.
This is also different from the Guild’s service, which enables its member to pass on iBuyer leads rather than directly becoming involved in buying the property.
In the US approximately 5% of homes are sold via iBuyer platforms such as Zillow and Opendoor and but in some states up to 40% of vendors consider using them.
The price Emoov offers will be the market value of the property, minus the cost of buying and reselling it. That cost varies from property to property, typically ranging from 3% to 7% of the value.
Stepan Dobrovolskiy, CEO of Mashroom, says: “Property chains are a pain for the UK housing market: 30% of transactions fall through, people waste hundreds of millions a year on fees.
“The existing solutions capitalise on the huge distress that chains are causing to customers. This is also driven by the short-sightedness of service providers and unavailability of data.”