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Zillow Will Use In-House Agents for iBuying

Zillow, which heretofore has turned to brokerage partners to represent it in home purchases, has announced it will begin using its own agents in the booming iBuying department. In streamlining this operation by way of Zillow Offers, Zillow promises to make homebuying transactions smoother.

Zillow said it will implement the new practice in January for its clients in Atlanta, Phoenix, and Tuscon.

"Zillow-owned homes in these markets will be listed for sale by licensed Zillow Homes employees," the firm said in a press release. "The company expects to expand these services to additional Zillow Offers markets later in 2021."

Zillow's Errol Samuelson, Chief Industry Development Officer, in a video, said Zillow will encourage its existing employees to secure a license. "Let me address one thing right off the bat," Samuelson said. "We are not recruiting agents from other brokerages.”

Jeremy Wacksman, President of Zillow said he is excited to improve the Zillow Offers transaction chain.

"At Zillow, our mission is to give people the power to unlock life's next chapter and we want to help them on their journey home through a range of services that meet their preferences--whether through Zillow Offers or through a trusted Zillow Premier Agent partner," he said.

Reporter E.B. Solomont at RealDeal.com further explains the significance of the change, "Zillow, which historically made money by selling ads through its Premier Agent program, has bet big on iBuying since 2018, when CEO Rich Barton called instant home-buying a 'moon shot' opportunity. In general, iBuyers like Zillow, Opendoor and others make cash offers for homes for a fee, and aim to resell at a profit after making modest repairs."

The RealDeal added that "Zillow has denied plans to operate a traditional brokerage. Rather, it says some of its offerings require licensing, such as its Flex program, which gives agents qualified buyer leads. Agents pay no upfront costs but get a 'success fee' akin to a referral fee if they close a deal."

Zillow reported that the homes it owns will be listed in MLSs, "with commissions paid to agents representing buyers. The company will also continue to invest in and expand its Premier Agent business and partnerships, including connecting other interested buyers and sellers to Zillow Premier Agents, which is expected to be the preference of the majority of Zillow's customers."

"We look forward to working more closely with our agent, industry and MLS partners to efficiently serve our mutual customers," added Wacksman. "Together, we will push to keep the real estate industry moving forward, and adapt to changing consumer preferences and virtual technologies."

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others.
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