For over a decade, real estate practitioners have worried that their feeding Zillow endless information would empower them to eventually pick up real estate licenses and become their largest competitor. In 2007 and 2008, it was massive blog fodder an an emotional issue for many as agents and brokers rallied against it.
Zillow has always said they will never practice real estate. Ever. They’ve maintained their position that they sell ads, not properties.
But today, the company is one step closer, as SEC filings reveal they will be testing the buying and selling of homes directly in two test markets, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
They’re not the brokers of any of the deals, and this is clearly a play to compete with Opendoor which is already valued at over $1 billion, but it is certainly another inch closer to confirming the fears that caused so many to figuratively flood the internet streets with torches and pitchforks.
The company announced today that they would be expanding their Zillow Instant Offers Program to Phoenix after testing in Vegas and Orlando last year, wherein sellers could solicit cash offers from investors.
In the new test markets, however, they’ll be participants, stating they will be “buying and selling homes with Premier Agent partners.”
Zillow stated that their Instant Offers Program is “an excellent source of seller leads for Premier Agents and brokerage partners,” given that the majority of sellers who requested an offer ended up using an agent from the program.
Fast forward to today, and they’re no longer the matchmakers, they’re also planning to buy and sell investment properties themselves.
In a statement the brand said, “Beginning this spring, home sellers in the Phoenix and Las Vegas real estate markets will be able to compare an agent’s comparative market analysis (CMS) to offers from Zillow or other investors.” Adding, “When Zillow buys a home, it will make necessary repairs and updates and list the home as quickly as possible. A local agent will represent Zillow in the purchase and sale of each home, enabling agents to earn commissions.”
All of this could be one step closer to competing in the real estate market as actual practitioners, or maybe Zillow is just as enchanted with Chip & Joanna Gaines’ house flipping as the rest of us.