After several home buyers stopped buying in the early stages of the pandemic, leaving many sellers in the lurch, the real estate market saw a historic gain of 25 percent in home sales from June to July. While iBuyers and Wall Street rushed back in to restart buying, long-time Main Street buyer, HomeVestors®, remained a reliable option for sellers at the peak of their need.
"For over more than 20 years, we’ve been the only nationwide home buyer that has weathered multiple national and regional crises with local boots on the ground," said David Hicks, chief executive officer of HomeVestors, the original and only We Buy Ugly Houses® company. "We have always felt an obligation to make our service continuously available to sellers, and we encountered many last spring who had offers rescinded by iBuyers or saw other buying options altogether dry up. But our over 1,100 independently owned and operated franchises kept buying because sellers and their local real estate markets needed us to."
HomeVestors adjusted during lockdown to purchase homes through virtual consultations and in-person, where allowed, in masks and with social distancing. In addition to closing on existing offers, the company, America’s number one home buyer, kept writing new purchase contracts, maintaining its commitment to sellers that need a way out of their difficult situations. Nationwide, demand for buyers remained strong, and franchises continued selling everything they were buying at slightly higher prices.
"You’d think iBuyers would have kept purchasing since their model requires no human contact, but they are generally buying for a corporate portfolio. Ours, on the other hand, which offers the comfort of a personal visit with someone from town who can extend you a firm cash offer, is what sustained," added Hicks. "The reason? Our buyers come from Main Street and have a vested interest in their communities, not the fickle anonymity of an algorithm coming out of Wall Street. Online buyers offer a seamless digital experience for selling your home, but we believe in the seamless human experience that holds the promise of no hidden fees and no surprises."
When interest rates reached record lows earlier this year, We Buy Ugly Houses® franchises noted many buyers taking advantage to move-up or even move-out. In a conference call the company hosted in July with Mark Dotzour, former chief economist of the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, it anticipated a long-term migration to the suburbs as a direct result of COVID-19 placing pressure on downtown areas. With companies broadly embracing work-from-home arrangements, previous homebuying considerations like concerns about long commutes into downtown fell in importance.
With ongoing demand and such low rates, a housing shortage of the most in-demand homes is driving a continued rise in home prices. This appreciation will be most apparent in the bottom third of the market, which are the houses local HomeVestors® franchisees most often buy. More than 80 percent of houses HomeVestors purchases are less than 1,400-square feet and were built before 1980. Franchises then generally rehab and sell the homes or hold them as investment properties. In creating a valuable supply of housing for first-time buyers, We Buy Ugly Houses local small business owners also help raise Main Street’s real estate values and drive community revitalization.
About HomeVestors of America, Inc.
Dallas-based HomeVestors of America, Inc. is the largest professional house buying franchise in the U.S. with more than 100,000 houses bought since 1996. HomeVestors recruits, trains and supports its more than 1,100 independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisees that specialize in building businesses based on buying, rehabbing, selling, and holding residential properties. Most commonly known as the "We Buy Ugly Houses®" company, HomeVestors strives to make a positive impact in each of its 176 markets. The company ranked on the 2019 Inc. 5000, has appeared for 12 consecutive years on the prestigious Franchise Business Review's "Top Franchises", for eight years on the annual Dallas 100, and ranked 159th on the 2019 Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise Chains by Worldwide Sales. HomeVestors has also been regularly recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine, which most recently ranked it 16th "Top Growth Franchise", named it as one of the top 200 franchises of 2020, and placed it at number 30 on its annual Franchise 500. For more information, visit www.HomeVestors.com.