The world’s largest real estate listings company, Zillow, is planning a further move into the residential real estate space, although they insist they will not be poaching agents from other businesses.
A new division, named Zillow Homes, will aid in the buying and listing of homes for Zillow Offers – the company’s instant-buying division.
Launched in 2018, Zillow Offers flips properties in 25 markets, offering a quick sale to owners wishing to bypass the hassle and uncertainty that come with selling a home.
Or, as the company puts it, “by selling through Zillow Offers, customers are able to eliminate the time and resources required to prepare for and list a home, including skipping open houses and showings and minimising in-person interaction. The service also provides certainty about price and the convenience of selecting a closing date”.
Zillow Homes launches in January, and will only be operating in Atlanta, Phoenix and Tucson, with plans to expand services to further markets throughout the year.
Zillow already offers customers mortgage, title and escrow services through Zillow Home Loans and Zillow Closing Services.
“We’re excited to add another important link in the Zillow Offers transaction chain to offer our customers greater choice and convenience when considering a move,” President of Zillow, Jeremy Wacksman said.
“At Zillow, our mission is to give people the power to unlock life’s next chapter and we want to help them on their journey home through a range of services that meet their preferences – whether through Zillow Offers or through a trusted Zillow Premier Agent partner.”
Digitally-brokered home flipping is also known as iBuying, and is a nascent market, accounting for only 0.5 per cent of US home sales.
As the Seattle Times points out: “Zillow’s foray into residential wheeling-and-dealing competes directly with some of the very people the company has relied on to stay afloat”.
Errol Samuelson, Zillow’s chief industry development officer, was quick to address this in a video circulated to brokerages.
“Let me address one thing right off the bat: We are not recruiting agents from any other brokerages,” he explained.
Zillow’s existing operations and customer-service employees will instead obtain real estate licences.
“If we can make Zillow Offers more appealing as a starting point on your homebuying journey, that’s actually going to grow the pie and create more buyer and seller lead opportunities for our partners around the country,” Zillow spokesperson Viet Shelton told the Times.