It seems to be all about expansion these days for Zillow.
The online real estate giant recently got into the mortgage business with its acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America. Zillow has also been growing its direct buyer business, Zillow Offers, wherein the company is buying houses directly from sellers, making whatever improvements are necessary, then listing the home for sale.
And the company will soon be buying houses in California and North Carolina.
Zillow announced this week that it is expanding its direct buyer program to Riverside, California, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Zillow actually announced earlier this year that it planned to expand to North Carolina, but the service is now officially available to homeowners in Charlotte. And soon, the service will be available in Raleigh as well, Zillow said.
“We couldn’t be more excited to bring Zillow Offers to our first North Carolina market today,” said Zillow Brand President Jeremy Wacksman. “Selling a home can be extremely stressful – it’s one of the largest financial transactions many people will make in their lifetime. Zillow Offers alleviates some of that stress and uncertainty so home sellers can move onto the next stage of their life.”
As of this week, potential home sellers in the Charlotte area will be able to request a free, no-obligation cash offer for their home from Zillow. If the seller accepts the offer, they then pick a closing date that works best for them.
Zillow then takes possession of the home, does some light renovation or clean-up, then sells its, presumably for a profit.
What makes Zillow’s direct buying program different from others in the space is that it does not cut real estate agents out of the process.
According to Zillow, a local agent will represent Zillow in the purchase and sale of each home, which will enable agents to earn commission on the purchase and sale.
In the Charlotte market, The Redbud Group at Keller Williams SouthPark will be representing Zillow in all its transactions, the company said.
“Getting the chance to work with Zillow as they begin buying and selling homes in Charlotte was an opportunity we didn't want to miss,” said Trent Corbin, founder of The Redbud Group. “The real estate market is constantly changing, and Zillow understands the value of working with real estate agents to make the home selling process as simple and stress-free as possible. We’re very excited to represent Zillow in the Charlotte market.”
Zillow is also partnering with several local brokerages to help the brokerages acquire new leads from “motivated” sellers who do not accept Zillow’s offer. Basically, if a seller chooses to reject Zillow’s offer, the site will then connect them with certain agents to represent them in their home sale.
The four brokerages partnering with Zillow in Charlotte to be connected with those home sellers are Premier Team at RE/MAX Executive, Century 21 Vanguard, Stephen Cooley Real Estate Group – Keller Williams, and IDEAL Realty.
Additionally, Zillow announced that it has hired Jeff Gibel to serve as its general manager in Charlotte. In this role, Gibel will run the day-to-day operations for Zillow Offers in North Carolina.
Beyond officially launching in Charlotte, Zillow also said that it will be launching in Riverside in early 2019. That will mark the program’s expansion in California.
Wacksman said the company “can’t wait” to start buying homes in Riverside. The company did not disclose what brokerages will be helping with its California expansion, and will likely announce those when it officially begins buying and selling in the market at some point in the next few months.