Zillow Offers is a real estate investor and an agent referral network that operates across highly specific locations. Where available Zillow Offers mainly focuses on homogenous homes. In determining the offer, Zillow Offers discounts from the estimated retail value after home is fully renovated.
Zillow Offers is almost entirely built to sell consumer’s data to Premier Broker and Premier Agent participating agents. Zillow also makes money with a difference between buying and selling homes, although only about 1% of all requests end up in successful Zillow Offer.
With these few actual buying transactions each year, Zillow makes money with value appreciation between what Zillow Offers buys and seller each home for. Sellers can expect to receive 80%-85% of their home value from this type of sale after any fees, cost of the minor repairs, and resale.
Zillow Offers further looks to push consumers to use its own mortgage company.
Skip the hassle, it is only 1% likely that sellers will accept an offer from Zillow Offers. Instead, Zillow will try to convert seller's request into a lead, sold to random Premier Agent.
Zillow Offers is a classic bait-and-switch sales model. First, consumers are "baited" by Zillow’s magical all-in-one home offer opportunity, but out of tens of thousands requests only a few dozen homes are actually sold to Zillow. Instead, Zillow’s business model aggressively converts consumer requests into seller leads. The interesting thing about this scheme is that Zillow is blatantly open about it.
Here are some excerpts from Zillow Offers website:
Here is how one of these Premier Brokers describes the process:
Zillow Offers will buy a home at a price that is below market value due to necessary repairs, renovation, and other factors. After Zillow Offers buys the home, it renovates and resells it for a profit to other buyers or companies that rent homes to qualified tenants. With low offer price, comes a convenience of an all-cash closing when selling a home. Zillow Offers claims to provide convenience, speed, and certainty of a fast sale.
Dubbed as an iBuyer, Zillow Offers makes an offer on a house within days, but this offer is highly conditional. Each offer Zillow Offers makes is just an estimate until it makes a home inspection. At the inspection, Zillow Offers will often find reasons to lower its original offer when it finds items that need repair or if it has made a mistake in its original valuation. When the company is unable to make an offer, it simply redirects consumers to a random real estate agent in exchange for an undisclosed fee. Zillow Offers only makes offers for select homes in select regions.
The main disadvantage of using Zillow Offers is high losses in homeowners’ equity, this is beside the fact that the program is designed to collect and sell user data instead of actually buying homes.
As any real estate investor, Zillow Offers is susceptible to losing money in any given transaction. This model is susceptible to a number of risk factors, high operational costs and a continued need for higher-than-average Return on Investment (ROI) with each flip. Zillow Offers is not legally bound to represent consumers, its main legal obligation is to its shareholders.
Zillow Offers’s fast transaction and easy move-out experience typically come at an extremely high price because this model incurs “double” transaction costs during the purchase, holding period, rehab work and final sale that includes real estate agent fees.
Zillow Offers pays real estate agent commissions like any other buyer and seller of real estate, so these costs must be accounted for in the company’s fee structure. Moreover, because most homes in the United States are financed, homeowners own only partial net equity in their home. Banks receive the same amount of the remaining mortgage sum regardless of how any given home is sold, whereas only homeowners’ net equity is lost in transaction fees paid to Zillow Offers.
Typically Zillow Offers uses the following factors when determining the offer: existing condition of the home including repairs needed, time it will take to finish needed repairs, value of a home compared to other comparable homes in the area, real estate commission required to resell, costs associated with maintaining a home during repairs, including taxes, payments, insurance, utilities and homeowner dues.
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