“IBuyer” buys on the Richmond residential real estate scene
Richmond’s vibrant real estate market has attracted a new player who has started buying homes here as part of a nationwide expansion.
House Buyers of America, a 20-year-old company that offers an on-demand approach to selling a home, launched in Richmond over the summer as part of one of multiple expansions this year, notably in Atlanta, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Philadelphia. .
The Chantilly-based company had previously focused on DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia, but growth fueled by the pandemic, as owners reassessed their living conditions and work-from-home options, has positioned the ‘company to act on a long-planned expansion, said CEO Nick Ron.
Ron said the company’s entry into Richmond, which followed an expansion to Hampton Roads in the spring, was one of its most successful this year.
“It was one of the best market launches we’ve had,” said Ron. “We bought a lot of good properties there, we got a lot of good feedback. People are very interested. Our market research has worked well.
House Buyers is a so-called “iBuyer”, or instant buyer, who buys homes “as is” directly from homeowners who want a faster and easier turnaround than the traditional selling model, without paying a real estate agent. nor invest in improvements to be made. their house more salable.
Sellers request a quote online or over the phone, and the company uses its own internal process to appraise the property and make an offer within minutes, later followed by an in-person inspection.
Once the sale is accepted, House Buyers then renovates the property and sells the house through its in-house brokerage, leveraging its volume to fund improvements at lower costs than individual owners could realize.
Because the process is largely virtual, the company did not open a physical office in Richmond as part of its local launch. Rather, it was about positioning staff in the field and aligning contractors and title companies to get to work.
Ron said requests to buy properties here started coming in ahead of its official launch in July, which was pushed back by a month.
“We actually bought a house or two before we even started in Richmond, just because of the buzz that was going on there,” said Ron, referring to the company’s pre-market efforts.
Its website lists five refurbished or move-in ready homes available from Hanover to Petersburg, ranging in price from $ 112,000 to $ 250,000.
While similar companies exist in the market, Ron said House Buyers stands out for its two decades of business and the technology it has invested in and developed in those years.
“Before all of the HGTV shows that you see now, we were doing this in 2001. Experience is really key,” Ron said. “Our biggest competitor isn’t really another home buying company. Our competition is as follows: either people accompany us or they put their house up for sale with an agent. These are usually the only two choices.
The company weathered the housing crisis of the late 2000s, which Ron said further added to her experience and prepared her for all market developments during the pandemic.
“We have decided to go ahead and gain market share, and even if the market collapses, we will be the biggest player in town and be able to significantly increase the percentage of homes we have. we get in the market, ”he said. “It was kind of a bet, but we had enough cash reserves to allow us to do this bet, and it paid off really well.”
“Fortunately, the housing market has done quite well. After the initial fall it bounced back, and the rest is history, ”he said. “I think we made the right decision, and after going through this 2008 crisis, we were prepared for a stock market crash. There are always ups and downs in any market, so we didn’t panic.
With the company’s focus on lower prices and start-up homes, Ron said House Buyers is well positioned for the Richmond housing market in particular.
“There is a very high demand there and the supply has been limited for years,” he said. “Builders have yet to find a way to build affordable homes. All the building you see is in luxury homes, upscale homes. I believe that luxury (market) homes are going to have a day of accounts because there are only a limited number of people who can afford a luxury home.
“We are in the best space, because right now we are buying existing and affordable homes. This is our sweet spot, ”he said,“ and this is the market where everyone wants to be. This is where the demand is.