SAN FRANCISCO — Zillow Group will expand Zillow Instant Offers, a pilot program that helps homeowners to sell directly to investors, to Phoenix in mid-September, Zillow COO Amy Bohutinsky said on stage at Inman Connect.
In an interview in front of more than thousand industry professionals, she also left open the possibility that Zillow Group could launch its own “iBuyer,” a moniker for high-tech investors that make quick offers on homes and can close in days.
Two brokerages — Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona Properties and West USA Realty — will receive listing leads generated by Zillow Instants Offers in Phoenix.
Zillow Instant Offers lets homeowners request quick offers from multiple investors. The offers appear in an email alongside a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a Zillow agent advertiser.
Since the CMA is likely to be higher than than the investor bids, some sellers are tempted to list with the featured agent, leading to leads for that agent.
“What we’re finding not surprisingly is that that the investor offers come in pretty significantly below the CMA, and then its up to the seller to decide is it worth it to me to really try to sell this home quickly … or do I want to work with this agent that gave me the CMA?” she said.
In an encouraging sign for real estate agents, the vast majority of Zillow Instant Offers users who take action choose to use an agent, she said.
Because Zillow Instant Offers users are likely to be motivated to sell, agents who receive leads from the program are enjoying “double-digit conversion rates like nothing we’ve seen,” she added.
Gordon Miles, COO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona Properties, said he’s “excited to give my agents the chance to connect with these sellers they might not have had a chance to previously,” in a statement about his brokerage’s partnership with Zillow Instant Offers.
“Our agents deliver superior customer service and I’m confident in their ability to make the most out of the opportunities Instant Offer creates.”
Zillow Group has been testing Instant Offers in Orlando, Florida; and Las Vegas, over the last two months.
The initiative raised concerns among many agents that Zillow Group was encroaching on their turf.
Zillow Instant Offers serves as a marketplace for iBuyers, high-tech investors that use technology to make quick offers on homes and close in days, either reselling the properties or converting them into rentals.
But there have been some rumors that Zillow Group might create an its own iBuyer that could compete in the Instant Offers marketplace.
Asked if Zillow Group might launch an iBuyer, Bohutinsky said Zillow was “super early” in its test of Zillow Instant Offers, but that “there’s a lot of stuff that we’re going to be testing and might potentially test over time.”
“So that’s a ‘yes,'” said Inman News publisher Brad Inman, who was interviewing Bohutinsky.
“There’s a lot of things that we could potentially test,” she responded.
But whatever direction Zillow Group chooses to move in, “our motivations are the same,” she said: to meet the needs of homesellers while creating opportunities for real estate agents.