In a move that was sure to rile Zillow haters and be defended by Zillow lovers, the company announced a new advertising and seller lead generation product, ‘Instant Offers’. This follows the model that the brokerage ‘Open Door’ has been doing for a year or more now. Essentially, Instant Offers offers sellers a discounted price to sell now instead of listing their home on the open market. In Zillow’s case, they have enlisted 15 investment firms in two trial markets, Orlando and Las Vegas. They are also giving Premier Agents an opportunity to do a CMA to pitch to the seller why they should list with the agent instead of taking the offers. Zillow has traditionally been really good at seller lead generation – after all, that is what the Zestimate was all about. And there are a bunch of other vendors right now trying to get master seller lead generation, i.e. Cloud Attract, Offrs, and Smart Zip just to name a few.
Is it innovative?
My initial takeaway is no; however, they are making something that’s been around awhile easier with technology and the power of a brand. It is very similar to the brokerage model that exists that Opendoor and others employ, and all those ‘Sell your House in 30 days guaranteed’ marketing. In my view, it is a way to get more seller leads. Is this a further decline in the relevancy of the agent in the transaction? I don’t know; I don’t think we have that answer yet. A lot depends on ensuring agents know and can articulate their value in a transaction. No matter how well the technology works, the ultimate bottom line is this: Will your seller take less money to sell today?
Zillow also gave REALTORS® a built-in response when sellers say “but the Zestimate says…” by launching a competition to improve it. You can remind them you are more accurate than an algorithm that needs to pay $1 million to be fixed. It’s about knowing your value in the transaction and articulating your value to the consumer — and having the power of the R.
For some takeaways on Zillow’s Instant Offers and to read the wide variety of the opinions out there:
But, first, the actual news and what the program is: Zillow to test out ‘Instant Offers’ in Las Vegas and Orlando
Zillow fever strikes again with insecure agents