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Zillow Offers set to change the real estate game in the Denver metro market

Ever since Zillow instituted its Zillow Offers service, allowing homeowners in select areas the ability to request a cash offer from Zillow rather than wait around for the home to sell, many in the industry have praised their venture.

While the service was initially piloted in Phoenix, it’s now also live in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Denver, with three real estate companies/brokers partnering with the service.

The program provides real estate agents an opportunity to acquire new listings by connecting them with motivated sellers who have inquired about the Zillow Offers service, but instead elect to sell their home in a traditional way.

Lane Hornung, founder and CEO of 8z Real Estate, which has 147 REALTORS® in its 16 Colorado offices, has seen sales volume exceed $1.06 billion on 2,393 transactions over the last 12 months. Having partnered with Zillow in the past on the Premier Broker and Premier Agent front, Zillow Offers seemed like a logical next step.

“We’ve enjoyed working with Zillow Offers, and they’re good partners,” says Hornung. “I think a lot of people are going to be curious about this process, and the number of folks who go down this road is yet to be determined. That being said, I think a lot of them will decide to list traditionally with a REALTOR®, and that’s where we come in.”

By partnering with Zillow Offers, 8z Real Estate is providing its agents with a way to take advantage of the iBuyer trend—and they’re excited about the partnership because they expect it to be a good source of seller leads.

“Here in the Denver market, this is the first time an iBuyer has gone into a really tight inventory market, and the biggest problem we have in our market is a lack of listings,” says Hornung. “I’m optimistic that Zillow Offers will actually unlock some new listings and bring some sellers to the market that otherwise wouldn’t be there. I think that’s good for everybody in our market.”

Chad Ochsner, broker/owner of RE/MAX Alliance (No. 387 in closed transactions in RISMedia’s 2018 Power Broker Report) in Arvada, Colo., recently made the decision to partner with Zillow Offers—and is looking forward to seeing what comes from it.

“There are a lot of moving targets in the iBuyer space, as well as a lot of uncertainty, but I felt a comfort level in Zillow guaranteeing that they’re going to keep the REALTOR® at the center of the transaction and do what they can to make sure the REALTORS® get paid.”

Ochsner has a long history with Zillow, having a number of agents who purchased zip codes years ago, loan officers in their mortgage companies who partnered with his firm’s REALTORS®, and he himself working on the company’s broker advisory council.

“It’s always been a good relationship,” he says. “I expect that to continue with this program.”

While Ochsner understands that the iBuyer offers won’t be for everybody, he knows there are different motivations when it comes to selling, and having another option like this will speak to some people.

“The program [launched] in Denver [recently], so we need to wait to see what sort of activity our agents will get with the program, and the listing opportunities that will come out of it,” he says. “Plus, right now, we don’t need to pay anything for these opportunities.”

Scott Nordby, CEO/co-owner of Berkshire Hathaway Innovative Solutions, has worked with Zillow on zip codes since 2011, and was excited to see the Zillow Offers program begin this fall.

“It’s been a very productive relationship,” he says. “Zillow Offers is an interesting opportunity for a consumer, be it one who wants to sell their house or someone who needs to sell their house, even though the property isn’t in great shape. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but I think there will be a number of people who will be interested in it.”

Nordby has always looked to align with where the market is going, and he sees the “instant sell” as something that’ll trend in the years ahead, setting the stage for Zillow’s service to be successful in the Denver marketplace.

“If the consumer doesn’t accept their offer for one reason or another, we hope to be able to partner with Zillow and the consumer and bring a full-time REALTOR® in and help them achieve top dollar for their home,” says Nordby. “We had a client not too long ago who had lived in their home for a long time with a bunch of kids and pets and was simply looking for a way out. That would have been a perfect iBuyer situation.”

Another example, he says, would be if someone passes away and they have a number of kids who share in the inheritance of the house. If those family members don’t want to take the time to fix the property up and simply want to unload it without a hassle, taking a discount and not worrying about staging the space and getting it in shape to sell makes sense.

Those working with agents can still request an offer, or an agent can request an offer on their client’s behalf.

All three companies/brokers believe that Zillow Offers will be a game changer in the Denver market, and are excited to be among the first to partner with the service.

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Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.

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