Real estate platform Zillow changed up its business model this week, announcing that it plans to purchase and sell homes in Las Vegas and Phoenix. Zillow will be working with Berkshire Hathaway and Coldwell Banker to make offers on homes before it finds a buyer. Zillow will pay commissions and also make necessary repairs and updates and list the home as quickly as possible. Calling it Instant Offers, Zillow says, the program gives real estate agents the opportunity to acquire new listings by connecting them with motivated sellers who have taken a direct action to sell their home. Across all testing, Zillow found the vast majority of sellers who requested an Instant Offer ended up selling their home with an agent, making Instant Offers an excellent source of seller leads for Premier Agents and brokerage partners. Shares fell 7% on Friday, following the revelation. This is a marked business change for the website, which is mainly a hub of information about real estate properties. Buying up homes will provide added costs and risks, so some investors didnt like it. Yet Zillow says it has been testing out this program for about a year and that it is optimistic about its future success. In an interview with CNBC, CEO Spencer Rascoff said, were ready to be an investor in our own marketplace. He believes Zillow has huge advantages because we have access to this huge audience of sellers and huge audience of buyers. Rascoff acknowledged that Zillow will be taking on debt to execute on its new mission. This will also put it in competition with Opendoor. CEO Eric Wu provided us the following statement. We are genuinely excited, having invented this new category in 2014, and its invigorating to see a host of others in the industry recognize the importance of removing hassle and time from the transaction. We are proud to have served over 15,000 customers, to be expanding to dozens of markets, and to be reaching market share numbers that demonstrate the significant demand and love for our experience and product. We continue to be focused on building technology to remove friction from the transaction through a world-class pricing model, a suite of vertically integrated applications, All- Day Open Houses, our Buyer Guarantee, and a few new products we will be launching shortly. Most importantly, we are here to service our customers, buyers and sellers who crave and deserve a best-in-class experience as they transition from one home to their next. Game on.
It's starting with Phoenix and Las Vegas. Zillow is no longer just a real estate marketplace that can help find your next home -- the company has decided to become an active participant in the field. In an announcement today, Zillow has revealed that it'll flip houses in Phoenix and Las Vegas starting this spring. The company has teamed up with local brokerages in those areas to offer sellers money for their homes. If they accept, Zillow will make repairs and then list those houses on its own marketplace as quickly as possible. By choosing to buy and sell houses, Zillow is now officially an OpenDoor competitor. "We are genuinely excited, having invented this new category in 2014," OpenDoor chief Eric Wu told TechCrunch, "and it's invigorating to see a host of others in the industry recognize the importance of removing hassle and time from the transaction. " It doesn't sound like everybody's happy that Zillow has launched a new business model, though. As TechCrunch noted, its shares fell 7 percent after the revelation, probably because flipping houses has a whole other list of risks a simple real estate marketplace won't have to face. In fact, Zillow chief Spencer Rascoff has admitted that it's taking on debt to fund its new venture.