Zillow Offers launches in Denver

As of today, Zillow Offers, the real estate tech giant’s consumer-facing program to buy and sell houses using a local agent, is officially live in Denver, its fourth market.

Zillow Offers lets prospective homesellers in selected markets visit Zillow.com, enter details about their property into a form online, and receive an all-cash offer on their home within days alongside a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a local real estate agent selected by Zillow, who can list the property if the seller decides to try the open market instead of Zillow’s cash.

If Zillow closes on the seller’s home, the company makes minor repairs and improvements and re-lists it for sale on the open market, hoping to catch a profit. The program first launched in Phoenix in April and has since gone live in both Las Vegas and Atlanta as well. Zillow says it plans to expand Zillow Offers to Charlotte and Raleigh this winter.

Jeremy Wacksman

Jeremy Wacksman, president of the Zillow brand. (Credit: Ash Ponders)

“We are so excited to bring Zillow Offers to Denver-area homeowners and empower them with more control in one of the largest financial transactions of their life,” Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow brand president said. “The Denver housing market is changing quickly, and many homeowners are trying to time the sale of their home with the purchase of a new one.”

Zillow launched the program to give consumers more control and certainty when selling their home, the company said in a release. An estimated 61 percent of sellers are buying a new home at the same time as they list their old one, according to Zillow’s research.

“Rising inventory can make the timing of a sale more uncertain, making Zillow Offers even more desirable,” Wacksman added. “Zillow Offers aims to alleviate some of that stress, giving sellers the ability to customize their selling experience, and we can’t wait to get started today in Denver.”

That said, Zillow stock has taken some hits since first unveiling Zillow Offers earlier this year and acquiring a mortgage lender (Mortgage Lenders of America), with investors nervous about the risks of the formerly digitally-focused media company acquiring and re-selling physical real estate. Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff has taken pains to express how Zillow is not a home-flipper (the company does not buy distressed homes or make hefty repairs).

Atlas Real Estate Group will represent Zillow as a buyer and seller in Denver. Zillow has not yet disclosed any of the commissions it pays the agents representing it but told Inman in the past that it’s separately negotiated with each brokerage that represents their transaction.

“At Atlas, we have always been forward thinking; constantly evaluating opportunities, market trends and exploring new ways real estate can serve as a long-term investment vehicle,” Jason Shepherd, co-founder of Atlas Real Estate Group, said in a release. “We are excited to use our entrepreneurial mindset in our partnership with Zillow Offers to help improve the consumer experience of buying and selling a home.”

Shepherd called the program unique and said it solves a huge problem in the market right now.

“Homeowners want convenience and certainty when selling their home,” said Shepherd. “We are always looking to add value at Atlas, and this not only adds value to our clients and consumers, but to the entire real estate industry, and that’s a fun and exciting thing to be a part of.”

Zillow will also provide leads to 8z Real Estate, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate and RE/MAX Alliance, in the form of consumers who decide not to accept Zillow’s offer, and instead chose to list their property on the market.

Sue Dolquist

Sue Dolquist. Credit: Sue Dolquist/LinkedIn

Real estate industry veteran Sue Dolquist will serve as the general manager of the Denver outpost of Zillow Offers. She’s been a broker with Prudential Colorado Real Estate, Chief Operating Officer and Asset Management Real Estate and was most recently director of brokerage operations and managing broker for Colorado for Investability Real Estate, Inc.

“I am thrilled to be launching Zillow Offers in Denver today, to provide a convenient service to home sellers that gives them a close date of their choosing and a guaranteed cash offer,” Dolquist said. “Having worked in the industry for so many years, I understand how stressful selling a home can be, with showings, repairs and undefined dates.”

“As a long-time Denver broker, I appreciate that at Zillow we are using local real estate brokers for all our transactions,” Dolquist added. “The combination of the technology and reach of Zillow, with the local expertise and knowledge of Denver brokers, makes Zillow Offers a win for Denver consumers.”

When Zillow announced Denver, it was set to be the first market where it had no other major competition from other similar fast-cash, online-enabled homebuying services (a.k.a. “iBuyers”), however, in August, Opendoor announced it would be launching in Denver by the end of the year.

Email Patrick Kearns

Inman