Zillow’s “New” Instant Offer Is Nothing New

I am always marveled by great marketing and promotion therefore I must give a tip of the hat to Zillow® for their new “Instant Offer” program.   First, it’s getting them tons of attention and press, particularly within the REALTOR® community, which is probably where it is the most beneficial to them since real estate agents are, after all, Zillows’® paying customers. Courtesy of Inman News, REALTOR.com and others, this new program has received the equivalent of thousands and thousands of dollars of free advertising, which is the type of thing I love and dream of getting this type of free publicity for my firm.

Instant Offer concept is not new…

So, why do I say it’s nothing new?  I have nothing against Zillow® (although many in the REALTOR® community are not fans as they see them as a threat) however, I really don’t see anything “new” or revolutionary about their instant offer program.  Basically, according to their website, what their program does is allows you to submit information on your home to them which then goes to a group of national investors who then submit you a cash offer for your home.  Then, an inspection is done of your home (I’m guessing the offer is subject to this inspection being favorable) and if so, then you proceed to closing.  Homes have been sold in this manner for decades, including right here in St Louis, so it’s nothing new.  When I entered the real estate business here in St Louis in 1979, there were many “speculators” in St Louis, including the broker I worked for, that would make sellers a cash, as-is, offer on their home and would offer to close as fast as 24 hours.  So, basically, the same thing as the “new” Zillow® instant offer program with a few exceptions including that our offers were typically unconditional (other than that the seller had good title), truly as-is and we were local, people the sellers could meet, talk with and establish a relationship with as they contemplated whether or not this approach to selling their home was a good decision.  Over the years, I was involved in the purchase of over 2,000 homes in this manner right here in St Louis.  Today, thanks to internet webinars, reality TV shows and just a wealth of information being readily available, there are many, many people, that, in addition to the established “professional investors”, out there trying to buy real estate in this manner.

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