Zillow Group will start buying and selling homes for the first time later this month, expanding its real estate business and creating new competition for real estate agents and real estate companies that pay for ads on their real estate website.
Starting in the Phoenix and Las Vegas markets, Zillow announced yesterday that it will partner with local brokerages and agents to buy and sell homes. Homeowners in Phoenix and Las Vegas will be able receive an offer directly from Zillow, which will get the home ready to list on the open market and sell it with a local brokerage. The homes will be listed in the local MLS and on Zillow.
This is an expansion of Zillow’s Instant Offers program, which launched last year and connects homeowners to offers from investors, as well as a comparative market analysis from a local real estate agent. Instant Offers launched this past May in Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla.; it will expand to Phoenix later this month.
“Even in today’s hot market, many sellers are stressed and searching for a more seamless way to sell their homes,” Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Wacksman said in a statement. “They want help, and while most prefer to sell their home on the open market with an agent, some value convenience and time over price. This expansion of Instant Offers, and Zillow’s entrance into the marketplace, will help us better serve both types of consumers as well as provide an opportunity for Premier Agents to connect with sellers. This is expected to be a vibrant line of business for us and for our partners in the real estate industry, while providing homeowners with more choices and information.”
Speaking about Instant Offers last year, Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff said the service was a way for listing agents to get leads.
“There are several startups and real estate brokerage websites experimenting in this space, but Zillow is the only one that has designed a product to keep the agent involved in every part of the transaction, most notably by giving them the opportunity to secure new listing agreements,” Rascoff said. “Ultimately, Zillow Instant Offers has the potential to deliver the highest intent, highest quality listing leads at scale to our Premier Agents.”
Rascoff has shifted his rhetoric about Zillow over the years as the business expands. Speaking on Bloomberg TV in 2013 about competition from Redfin and others, Rascoff said “we sell ads, not houses,” and repeated that again in 2015.
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