Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Industry Relations Podcast: The Firestorm Around the Zillow ‘Instant Offers’ Rollout

If Zillow thought that the industry would thank them for reworking the Opendoor model to involve agents in the process of “Instant Offers”, they underestimated what Rob likes to call “Zillow Fever”, the intense dislike so many in real estate have toward the company.

Today Rob and Greg are engaged in a rousing conversation about the rollout of the Instant Offers test program and subsequent uproar. They work through the source of the industry’s angst toward Zillow and whether or not it is warranted in this particular case.

Listen in as Rob and Greg discuss the arguments against Instant Offers, how the feature might lend itself to predatory behavior by investors, and how Zillow might have changed their messaging to avoid the blowback.

What’s Discussed: 

The firestorm created by Zillow’s Instant Offers test program
Greg’s take on how a different naming convention would have tempered agent reaction
How the Instant Offers feature works
– Response to consumers looking for easier ways to sell
– Hand-picked 15 private investors
– Seller can accept investor offer and sell directly, accept offer and use agent to complete transaction, or reject offer and move forward with agent to list on MLS
The weaknesses of the argument that Zillow is duping consumers
The hypocrisy/lack of awareness of agents criticizing Instant Offers
How agents can use Instant Offer as a tool to generate seller leads
The importance of establishing a sphere of communication
The vast number of tools available to help agents stay in touch with past clients
Instant Offers as a potential avenue for predatory investor behavior
– Bad actors might target the poor, uneducated
– May require government to step in with regulations
Rob’s problem with the premise that consumers cannot make best decision for themselves based on circumstances
The potential monster success of the Instant Offers feature
The flaws in the argument that Zillow is trying to come between the agent and the homeowner
The way Zillow priorities the consumer over the agent
Whether Zillow has given up on trying to make people happy or if they were caught off guard by the negative reaction to Instant Offers
How other big web operators might respond to this innovation


Greg Schwartz ‘We Come in Peace’

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website
Greg’s Website

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  1. Best Quote from today’s Podcast … (Rob) “Maybe there should only be 100k Realtors” … Zackly!

    Not Discussed Today … Where the hell is NAR on this? Not, to boycott, or some other bullshit. Where are they to show strength? They have everything they need to compete with Zillow! Why don’t they? Something’s wrong.

    Agree on the outcome of Zoffers … “It’s gonna be HUGE”!

    Good show Guys

  2. Zillow, the mother of all red meat issues in real estate. NAR won’t do anything to help agents beyond complaining. Before NAR sold off Realtor.com, they did the exact same thing that Zillow is doing, which is sell leads to agents.

    NAR sold us out long ago. They should have taken the portal road taken by HAR. HAR built a public facing regional portal roughly ten years ago. It was and is member paid. All leads go to the listing agents. Period. They don’t sell leads. They are number one in search in their market. It took time but it can be done. That’s why I advocate for Broker Public Portal – the same concept as HAR’s public portal.

    Check out the flurry of comments at Inman. https://www.inman.com/2017/06/05/nar-comes-out-swinging-against-zillow-instant-offers/

  3. I want to go on record as saying that neither Zoffers or the other Insta-Sale platforms will end up being a big deal. That’s right, I said it! $100 on red. Oddly enough someone does own InstaSale.com.

    Wall Street demands performance. I don’t think these platforms will be able to perform to the hype in the long run.

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