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Why we need to get over our instant offer outrage


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After weeks of listening to the backlash against Zillow Instant Offers, we figured, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

In this multi-part series, we’re going to unpack the realities of instant offer programs and show you all the opportunities you’re missing out on by getting swept up in the drama.

If this is where the industry is going, it’s time for us to step up instead of playing catch up! Why be afraid of instant offers when you can build your own IO (instant offer) program yourself?

We’ll tell you how you can do just that and stay in step with what sellers may soon begin demanding from agents.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that Zillow’s Instant Offers is a wholesale offer program. Its model is to receive multiple offers from investors, based on the comparative sales and the details of the home. It’s no obligation and free.

Does this model sound familiar? The car industry has been doing this successfully already, just look at Carmax. It’s already proven this model works.

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How many people really want to retail their car? Some maybe, but most people just end up turning it over to the dealer for trade or resale — taking less but leaving someone else to deal with the process.

It’s the same idea here with wholesale offer programs.

Agents are fooling themselves if they don’t think that every seller will at least consider an IO program. Why?

First, because it translates to no showings, no staging and no cleaning. That in itself will be a huge draw to those who are weighed down with kids, dogs, elderly live-in parents and other situations that make marketing a home highly inconvenient.

There will be no negotiating, no waiting or wondering when or if the deal will actually close.

No negotiations?

Although that thought may be incomprehensible to some, who remembers when GM’s Saturn made this concept the cornerstone of its brand? It realized there was an entire market of people who hated haggling when shopping for a car. They wanted to know the price, pay it and drive away happy.

Meanwhile, thousands of agents have been crying in their soup, and online movements against Zillow have begun — claiming that we must stop Zillow.

But, should we?

In this free market society, it’s here to stay, and agents need to stop complaining and start preparing to meet this model of doing real estate or risk getting left behind.

During a hot market like this, the demand for creating your own IO/iBuyer programs may seem like a waste of time; however, as the market shifts back, an IO program will be a critical marketing tool to attract sellers.

Let’s stop pretending that things aren’t changing. We’ve already seen the upper-end markets come to a halt in many areas across the country and even some markets in middle America are seeing a slowdown in the mid 300s.

This is indicative of prices and activity that are slowing down, and this is the exact scenario in which sellers are going to be more open to alternative methods of selling their home.

Rather than having blinders on and insisting that the consumer won’t want this because of our own laziness or insecurities, it’s imperative that we make this shift.

Every industry is driven by demand, and if this is what sellers want, this is what they will get. And if they don’t get that option from you, they will find the agent or brokerage that has it.

Subscribe to Tim and Julie Harris’ podcast on iTunes or follow us online at

Tim and Julie Harris have over 20 years’ experience in real estate. Learn more about their real estate coaching and training programs and schedule a free 1-on-1 coaching call at

Email Tim Harris

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