US property portal giant Zillow is to participate directly in the market and compete with agents for vendor leads which will soon see it buy homes directly from vendors.
The property portal says it began testing its Instant Offers package in May last year in Las Vegas and Orlando to offer a “growing consumer demand for a faster, more efficient home selling process”, hardly a ringing endorsement of the agents who list their properties on the site.
Vendors who are interested in selling their homes can submit their property’s details and will receive both a non-binding instant offer from Zillow, and a member agent’s estimate of its value.
Although the portal reveals it will now be participating in the market and begin buying and selling homes in Phoenix and Las Vegas, it says the service in effect acts as a lead generator for agents and that the “vast majority of sellers who requested an Instant Offer [during testing] ended up selling their home with an agent”.
“Even in today’s hot market, many sellers are stressed and searching for a more seamless way to sell their homes,” says Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Wacksman (left).
“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 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.”
Zillow also says it will create more business for its member agents. After purchasing a property and making any necessary repairs to it, the portal will then re-list the property for sale with a member agent.