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Opinion, commentary, and analysis on everything that makes the U.S. housing economy tick -- not to mention the ghosts in the machine, too. Written by HW's team of editors and reporters each business day.
Real Estate

Real estate startup to Zillow CEO: We’ll sell your house for you

Faira guarantees sale of Spencer Rascoff’s twice-discounted house

October 8, 2015

Back a few months ago, Zillow Group (Z) CEO Spencer Rascoff put his money where his mouth is by listing a house he owned for sale – on Zillow.

According to a July series of tweets from Rascoff, the home is an investment property he has been renting out for the last several years, not his primary residence.

Upon listing the house on Zillow, Rascoff said that the house was a “great” home in a desirable area of Seattle, adding that he hoped the listing would attract a lot of interest because of the lack of available homes in the area.

Now, three months later, the listing apparently hasn’t generated quite as much interest as Rascoff hoped, despite the property’s Zillow page being viewed 17,172 times in its history and 11,804 times since it was listed.

According to the listing (which can be found here, on Zillow of course), Rascoff has discounted the list price of the 3,470-square-foot home twice, dropping the price of the house from its original list price of $1,295,000 to $1,230,000 on Aug. 11, and again dropping the price to $1,199,000 on Oct. 1.

In Rascoff’s series of tweets about the home, he noted that a Zillow Premier Agent, Gordon Stephenson, is listing the home.

Zillow Premier Agents are agents who advertise on Zillow, and the program is a major revenue source for Zillow. So it’s not really a big surprise that Rascoff would use a Premier Agent to list his home.

But Rascoff now has another ally in the sale of his house – and an unlikely one at that, a real estate startup that’s guaranteeing the sale of Rascoff’s house and putting its money where its mouth is.

Faira, a real estate startup based in Seattle (of course!), posted an open letter to Rascoff on its website earlier this week offering to sell Rascoff’s house for him.

The letter, which is signed by Faira CEO and Co-Founder Kamal Jain, offers a deal to Rascoff: let us sell your house for you or your next price cut is on us.

The letter reads:

Dear Spencer,

Your home has been on the market for 3 months now and I noticed you have already discounted the price twice and bought a Zillow promotion to help incent buyers. Like most sellers, I'm sure you want to get the highest price for your home.

At your current asking price of $1,199,000, you may be paying $72,000 in realtor’s commission plus an $8,000 credit at closing (due to the Zillow promotion) for a net price of $1,119,000.

Spencer, we have an offer for you:

Sell your home with Faira and we guarantee you will get $1,119,000 in your pocket or the next price cut of $50,000 is on us!

Spencer, are you ready?

Below the letter is a link offering Rascoff the chance to list his home on the startup, which boasts it is a “new way to buy and sell your home,” by eliminating the 6% commission model and providing buyers and sellers with “all the tools” one would need to buy or sell a home.

Rascoff, for his part, said thanks, but no thanks to Faira’s offer. In a statement to HousingWire, Rascoff said that he values the role that a real estate agent plays in the transaction.

“I would never sell my home without an agent,” Rascoff told HousingWire. “I might be the CEO of Zillow Group, but I’m not an expert in marketing a home, negotiating with buyers and organizing the copious paperwork involved in a real estate transaction.”

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