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The growing footprint of iBuyers in real estate has presented challenges that real estate professionals are still trying to address in the marketplace. Rather than shy away from competition, several brokers agreed that real estate professionals should embrace the evolving industry as they look to elevate their firms’ heading and remain competitive.

Four dynamic brokerage executives discussed the topic at length during a break-out session of RISMedia’s “Spring Into Action” virtual event. Co-presented by the National Association of REALTORS®, the event was held on April 8, attracting more than 5,000 attendees.

RISMedia is making a limited number of “Spring Into Action” sessions accessible to the public. Readers may view this dynamic session in the video below:

J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, led the “Elevate Your Business: How to Compete Against Wall St., Portals, iBuyers and More” session, which focused on helping firms lead and support agents against the growing number of digital competitors vying for the attention of “unattached consumers.”

“At stake is being the first point of contact for homeowners who are thinking of selling their home,” J. Lennox Scott said.

According to J. Lennox Scott, roughly 41% of homeowners will use an iBuyer company to determine what kind of a cash offer they could get for their homes.

While iBuyer business models have allowed companies to monetize the traffic from inquiries through home purchasing, companies like Zillow and Opendoor tend to refer clients to an agent to bring the home on the market for a fee.

As part of the event, Scott asked the group panelists for advice on how brokers can remain competitive.

For Josh Harley, CEO and founder of Fathom Realty, the answer was twofold: educating agents and turning a potential negative into a positive by encouraging agents to advertise iBuyer programs to generate inquiries.

“It’s important that we help our agents understand the advantages and disadvantages of the iBuyer programs,” Harley said. “The more they understand, the better they can help their clients navigate their options.”

Harley had also argued in favor of using online advertising platforms like Google Ads to create traffic and get in front of buyers and sellers online versus paying large portals to generate leads.

“We are funding our competition and then complaining about them growing,” he said. “It’s on us to take back that control.”

Each panelist agreed that educating agents and consumers would be essential to a firm’s game plan for the future amid the iBuyer influence.

Gary Scott, president of Long & Foster Real Estate. Inc., pointed out that brokers and owners should maintain the core values and culture of their respective companies as they look to develop potential solutions to compete against iBuyers.

“What we’ve seen time and again is a competitive landscape shift, and companies try to be all things to all people, and they move away from the core competencies that got their company to where they were,” Gary Scott said. “We are laser-focused on our culture and making sure that our sales professionals are very well educated in the space of the iBuyer.”

Michael Saunders, founder and CEO, Michael Saunders & Company, agreed with Gary Scott, stressing the importance of the relationship between agents and consumers.

“I really believe that the majority of the market are sellers who want the trusted real estate advisors that we provide to our market,” she said. “We pride ourselves on not just having ‘sales agents,’ but having trusted advisors to educate people every step of the way.”

“Whoever has the strongest relationships with the consumer at the end of the day wins the day, and we are totally committed to that,” said Bill Keleher, chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties.

Spring Into Action 2021 Sponsors

Diamond Sponsors
National Association of REALTORS® Center for REALTOR® Development
Real Estate Webmasters

Master Sponsor
The Corcoran Group

Host Sponsor
Lone Wolf Technologies
Realtors Property Resource, LLC
Rocket Mortgage

Event Sponsors
David Knox Productions, Inc.
The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing
Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting

Stay tuned to for additional coverage of RISMedia’s “Spring Into Action” virtual event.

Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to