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Making the Next Play: With Instant Offers, Zillow to Begin Buying and Selling

Apr 15, 2018 by

Zillow announced on Thursday it is becoming a buyer and seller through its Instant Offers platform, beginning in Las Vegas and Phoenix with Premier Agents this spring. Arik Prawer, formerly chief integration officer at Invitation Homes, has been appointed chief business development officer to oversee the participation of Zillow on the platform.

On Instant Offers, Zillow is going to be represented by a Premier agent in the area, and make improvements to properties, if needed, to swiftly turn around transactions. Zillow has chosen to enlist help in the process—a distinction from Opendoor and Offerpad—to “enable agents to earn commissions,” according to the announcement from the company.

In a CNBC interview on Friday, CEO Spencer Rascoff discussed the motivation to participate, noting he expects to have held between 300 and 1,000 homes for sale by year-end.

“We’re ready to be investors in our own marketplace, because what we know is that home sellers welcome a hassle-free experience,” explained Rascoff. “We think we have huge advantages because we have access to this huge audience of sellers [and] huge audience of buyers…that’s why we’re doing this.

“We’ve done this a very industry-friendly way, and that’s why the reaction so far in the industry has been welcoming,” Rascoff said.

WHITE PAPER: The Disruption of the Real Estate Industry: A Survival Guide for Brokers and Agents

Instant Offers was introduced in May 2017 in Las Vegas and Orlando; with the announcement on Thursday, it has expanded to Phoenix. For its foray into Las Vegas and Phoenix, Zillow has partnered with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona and Nevada Properties, Coldwell Banker Premier Realty and West USA Realty.

“Even in today’s hot market, many sellers are stressed and searching for a more seamless way to sell their homes,” said Jeremy Wacksman, chief marketing officer at Zillow, in a statement. “They want help, and while most prefer to sell their home on the open market with an agent, some value convenience and time over price. This expansion of Instant Offers, and Zillow’s entrance into the marketplace, will help us better serve both types of consumers, as well as provide an opportunity for Premier Agents to connect with sellers.

“This is expected to be a vibrant line of business for us and for our partners in the real estate industry, while providing homeowners with more choices and information,” Wacksman said.

“We are tremendously honored to have been selected by Zillow as a primary partner in their expanded Instant Offers program,” said Robert Hamrick, chairman and CEO of Coldwell Banker Premier Realty, in a statement. “Coldwell Banker Premier Realty has a decades-long legacy of combining high-touch client engagement with high-tech innovations for fully-serviced home-selling and -buying experiences. Our agents are competing with investor buyers. As Zillow’s partner in the Instant Offers program, we are able to stay in front of changing consumer demands and provide clients an additional option when selling their home. Our brokerage is passionate about empowering our agents to best meet their clients’ needs. We are excited to be a part of Zillow’s program.”

With Instant Offers, homeowners enter information about their property, and, within two business days, get investor offers and a comparative market analysis (CMA) by a Premier Agent. For agents, the benefit is that they can earn listings of presumably ready-to-act sellers.

Eighty-seven percent of agents and brokers in a June 2017 RISMedia survey believed Instant Offers is “a shift by Zillow toward becoming a brokerage.”

“We have always felt, and will continue to maintain, that agents are a crucial part of the real estate transaction and our goal is to find ways to continue to integrate them in the transaction process, even as the process continues to grow and evolve,” said Zillow in a statement to RISMedia at the time.

Stay tuned to RISMedia for more developments.

DeVita_Suzanne_60x60Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Existing-Home Sales Begin 2017 with a Bang

Feb 22, 2017 by

Existing-home sales began 2017 with a bang, growing 3.3 percent and hitting a 10-year high in January, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). With the exception of the Midwest, every region saw gains, with total sales reaching 5.69 million—the fastest pace since February 2007.

“Much of the country saw robust sales activity last month as strong hiring and improved consumer confidence at the end of last year appear to have sparked considerable interest in buying a home,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Market challenges remain, but the housing market is off to a prosperous start as homebuyers staved off inventory levels that are far from adequate and deteriorating affordability conditions.”

The median existing-home price also rose again in January, up 7.1 percent to $ 228,900 from $ 213,700 one year prior, according to the report. The median existing condominium and single-family home prices grew, as well: 6.2 percent to $ 217,400 and 7.3 percent to $ 230,400, respectively.

The report shows that though existing-home inventory expanded 2.4 percent to 1.69 million, supply is still 7.1 percent lower than one year prior. Months supply of inventory is currently 3.6. Existing homes averaged 50 days on the market, down from 64 days one year prior—38 percent of homes sold, however, were on the market for less than a month. Realtor.com® data show the markets with the shortest days on market were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (43 days), San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. (47 days), San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif. (55 days), Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash. (57 days) and Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn., Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., and Greeley, Colo. (58 days).

Existing-home sales in the West, according to the report, soared 6.6 percent in January, while sales in the Northeast jumped 5.3 percent and sales in the South rose 3.6 percent. Sales in the Midwest fell 1.5 percent. The median price in the West was $ 332,300 (a 6.8 percent annual increase); the median price in the Northeast was $ 253,800 (2.5 percent); the median price in the South was $ 201,400 (9.2 percent); and the median price in the Midwest was $ 174,900 (6.5 percent).

First-time homebuyers comprised 33 percent of existing-home sales in January—an uptick from 32 percent in December and one year prior. All-cash sales comprised 23 percent, while distressed sales comprised 7 percent—both dips from one year prior.

“Competition is likely to heat up even more heading into the spring for house hunters looking for homes in the lower- and mid-market price range,” Yun says. “NAR and realtor.com’s new ongoing research—the REALTORS® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score—revealed that the combination of higher rates and prices led to households in over half of all states last month being able to afford less of all active inventory on the market based on their income.”

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Underwriting Guidelines Will Begin To Loosen

Sep 7, 2013 by

The mortgage market has changed. Back in April we were enjoying historically low interest rates and many mortgage companies were leaning on the easy picking of re-financing loans to make money…
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