As the aftermath of an iBuyer boom-and-bust continues to play out, market leader Opendoor appears to be pivoting toward closer partnerships with the traditional real estate industry, announcing this week a new partnership with eXp intended to be the “first step of a broader relationship.”
In a release yesterday, Opendoor said it would begin providing an integrated API tool to eXp’s already existing “ExpressOffers” program (which aggregates cash offers from multiple companies), allowing eXp agents to request an Opendoor offer from within the company’s dashboard.
“This partnership gives sellers a simple and certain option, supported by their eXp Realty agent and backed by an Opendoor cash offer,” said Nick Boniakowski, head of Agent Partnerships at Opendoor in a statement. “It’s also the first step of a broader relationship that gives us a trusted partner for future opportunities to better serve our customers.”
eXp agents will have the chance to bring in additional commission dollars on top of client commission “for every eligible transaction that originates and closes on their portal.”
Just over a year ago, Opendoor announced a similar agreement with Zillow, as the real estate correction loomed over the instant buying home market. Zillow had chosen to sunset its own iBuying business, Zillow Offers, in late 2021, after sinking hundreds of millions into the business.
Opendoor’s focus on these kinds of partnerships supports a position long taken by legacy brokerages and the traditional real estate industry: that iBuying is complementary, and not a service that will replace the current mode of real estate transactions.
In Opendoor’s most recent earnings report, CEO Carrie Wheeler said the company had “leaned into our partnerships with homebuilders, agents and online real estate platforms,” with those relationships driving 40% of home acquisitions for the company in Q2.
But that is not necessarily the only path iBuyers are considering in this new, slower market, with rival Offerpad touting a relaunched “FLEX Sell” program that allows clients to list with an Offerpad agent and keep the cash offer as a backup. While Offerpad has also offered agent partnership programs, new CEO Brian Blair continues to emphasize that the company wants to be “a comprehensive real estate solutions center for everyone.”
eXp, for its part, has also struggled to match pandemic-era growth. In a separate statement, the virtual-focused brokerage called the partnership a “significant differentiator” as it attempts to transition its model into a new market.