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Zillow is peddling seller leads, not becoming a broker

05/23/2017

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Yesterday, Zillow launched a test — “Zillow Instant Offers.” The fear mongering was deafening. “It is all over now.” “Zillow is in the brokerage business.” “It’s time to either close the doors or go on attack.” Not so fast. Let’s look at Instant Offers a little more closely. Brian Friemel First of all, Zillow plays chess, not checkers. While the introduction of Zillow Instant Offers, on its own, looks menacing, there is more going on here. Could Zillow be both confronting a challenger in the industry while expanding the services it can offer to its customers — agents? Zillow has built a business developing and selling buyer leads. Agent advertising represents 70 percent of Zillow’s revenue. But buyers are only one half of the transaction. Agents work with sellers, too. Unfortunately, seller leads are much harder to identify and close. How can you find the needle in the haystack — a homeseller? Zillow thinks it has found the answer. With…

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