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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.

The post Making the Next Play: With Instant Offers, Zillow to Begin Buying and Selling appeared first on RISMedia.

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Play By The Rules Or The CFPB Is Coming For You

Jul 17, 2015 by

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the Sherriff of the economic consumer universe and has jurisdiction over all things financial.  This is a good start, but there is much work to do and many broken parts to fix.. Arising from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the CFPB was created as a […]
Mark Greene – Mark Greene – Forbes

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How to play retirement catch-up

Mar 30, 2015 by

I told the story elsewhere of how my wife and I woke up in our late 40s to the fact that our investment cupboard was bare. We were not alone, millions of Americans in their 40s or 50s don’t have nearly enough money saved to retire.

So what can you do if you find yourself in that position? After you shake off the scorn of the self-righteous around you and stop beating yourself up, it is time to get to work because the good news is that there is hope. We managed it. You can do it, too.

The strategy

1. Cut

The first step is you have to cut your expenses to the bone. The key number you’re looking to improve is the difference between your income and your expenses, and the quickest and easiest way to do something about it is to focus on reducing your expenses.

If you are serious about getting caught up, Step 1 is to put together a budget, listing income and expenses. Then you need to put the knife to the expenses, sparing no holy cows: vacations, eating out, movies, hobbies, smartphone, car(s), everything has to come under the knife.

The good news is that you are usually at or close to your peak earning years, so creating a surplus is usually a lot easier than for a 20-something. But still, it isn’t going to be easy. Expect pain. Saving and living on a budget is not pleasant, especially if you are not used to it. Doing it to catch up is even less so.

2. Earn more

Set a target, starting small, like $ 200 a month. Find things to do like moonlighting, selling off collections, or monetizing a hobby — the list of possibilities is limited only by your determination to catch up.

Here is an interesting thing many people discover: Once you start pursuing opportunities for extra income, more present themselves. It’s almost as if they crawl out of the woodwork. Then you can begin to set your target higher.

Many discover that once they begin to turn their hobby into an income, they do better than they expected and it becomes a natural segue into a fulfilling and profitable retirement. But you rarely get there without taking that first uncomfortable step.

3. Save aggressively

Rather than save what is left over between your income and expenses, save first — and force your expenses to match what is left over. If you don’t pay yourself first, chances are you will not get caught up.

Make maximum use of the tax-advantaged funds available to you. My wife and I made our first priority maxing out both our IRA and 401(k) contributions. Easy, it wasn’t; but desperate times call for desperate measures and results trump easy when you are in the position of playing catch-up.

On top of the retirement accounts, pay down as much on your home mortgage as possible. That’s most everyone’s largest expense, and once that is gone, your monthly nut drops significantly.

4. Research social security

I heard from a financial planner that there are 587 ways for married people to file for Social Security. How and when you do it can affect your payout significantly. This is something we didn’t do, and we still haven’t figured out how to do it without involving financial planners who want to sell you annuities.

5. Plan to work past 62

Many people fixate on 62 because it is the youngest age at which one can begin to collect social security. However, if you have a job and can hold on to it, it will be worth your while to plan on staying past 62. The good news is that life expectancy is increasing and improved health means many more people are capable of working well beyond 62.

However, increased health and longevity can be a double-edged sword. It means we all will probably live longer than the generation which preceded us. In turn, that means that whatever funds you have set aside for your retirement will need to last longer than you anticipated.

Working past 62 not only adds to the fund, it postpones the day you begin to draw against it.

6. Change your lifestyle

This might sound the same as cutting expenses, but it is meant to cover a lot more. Think of it as Phase 2. This is where you would explore options like going from two cars to one, scaling down your home to the minimum you can live in.

If you are looking at an underfunded retirement, you know at some point you will have to make drastic changes to your lifestyle. The earlier you do that, the less likely a change like this will be traumatic for you.

7. Stop supporting dependents

It may sound callous or cruel; but if your retirement fund is short, it makes no sense to put the needs of children, their families, or other people who should be taking care of themselves before your own needs if that would result in your ending up unable to support yourself.

Once your finances come into line, you can always resume doing nice things for others. However, continuing to support dependents when you are at financial risk is short-sighted.

8. Become knowledgeable about investing

Warren Buffett’s famous rule for investing is: “Don’t lose it.” That, of course, refers to avoiding unnecessary risk. However, when you are 50 with no retirement fund, you have forfeited to a large extent the luxury of picking investments with modest earnings but high security that you would have enjoyed in your younger years.

There are investments with higher returns than safe index funds, but reaping those requires more than a passing knowledge. You might think of it as another career, and in a way it is. The only way to “not lose it” is to know more than most other people, and that takes time and effort.

The mindset

If this sounds like an uncomfortable topic and strategy, it is. “No pain, no gain” is not just true with exercise. But if you know it up front, you can knuckle down and get where you want to be.

What got my wife and I through the serious sucking-it-up part of getting ready for retirement in a hurry was our view that this was a challenge, a project. We never had a woe-is-me attitude. Instead, we looked at it as a challenge — not easy, but not impossible, either.

Admittedly, we didn’t have to make emotionally tough choices like cutting back on things for kids or grandkids, and we didn’t have health issues, which can wreak havoc with any plan, normal or catch-up.

We also had a few investments work out unexpectedly well for us. Although there is no guarantee that will happen, I suspect it happens to many people; but when it does, they react like I did when I was younger: they celebrate by spending it. When you are in project-mode, those windfalls don’t disappear. They become crucial building blocks.

Is it easy to catch up building your nest egg when you wait till it looks too late? No. But it is possible — and, in balance, that is at least some good news.








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Play By The Rules Or The CFPB Is Coming For You

Jan 30, 2015 by

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the Sherriff of the economic consumer universe and has jurisdiction over all things financial.  This is a good start, but there is much work to do and many broken parts to fix.. Arising from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the CFPB was created as a […]
Mark Greene – Mark Greene – Forbes

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