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Real Estate

Zillow iBuying program brings real estate transactions in-house by licensing Zillow Homes employees

But Zillow says it won't be using its license to operate as a “traditional brokerage”

The iBuyers are quickly becoming all-in-one-buyers. On Wednesday, Zillow announced that its Zillow Offers customers will be offered “a more simple, integrated transaction experience through added services, managed in house,” starting in January 2021 with Zillow Homes.

Customers in Atlanta, Phoenix and Tucson who sell their homes via the iBuying solution will work directly with licensed employees of Zillow Homes, its brokerage entity.

A Zillow spokesperson told HousingWire that these people are already employed with Zillow, and will be getting real estate licenses. Zillow said it will not be recruiting for these positions.

Zillow-owned homes in Atlanta, Phoenix and Tucson will be listed for sale by Zillow Homes employees who are licensed real estate agents. The Zillow Homes solution will expand into more markets throughout 2021.

George Laughton, a Phoenix-area Zillow broker partner, told HousingWire that this means he will no longer be the broker on record for Zillow Offers transactions, but will continue to partner for all the opportunities that come out of it.

“Usually, when a buyer’s touring a Zillow home, they need boots-on-the-ground support and we will continue to be that support for them,” Laughton said. “Or, should they choose not to move forward with Zillow’s offer and proceed in a more traditional fashion, we have that option there.”

The localized partnership is also available to help the seller move into a new home after Zillow purchases the other home.

Laughton said the mission at his brokerage, the Laughton Team at My Home Group, “has always been very aligned with Zillow in helping streamline the processes for buyers and sellers through creative solutions and innovation.”

Zillow Offers customers can already use Zillow-affiliated mortgage, title and escrow services through Zillow Home Loans and Zillow Closing Services, the company said in a release.

“We’re excited to add another important link in the Zillow Offers transaction chain to offer our customers greater choice and convenience when considering a move,” Jeremy Wacksman, president of Zillow, said in a statement.

Zillow also said it will be simplifying the way it collects listing data, moving from thousands of disparate data feeds to MLS Internet Data Exchange feeds, which are offered directly through MLSs to their members.

Zillow isn’t the only iBuyer reaching into the broker business.

Last month, Opendoor began bringing aboard real estate agents in Phoenix to support its “Home Reserve” iBuying platform, while in June, Offerpad announced that it would allow users to list their homes with Offerpad’s own agents, in addition to using concierge services.

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