Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Has Silicon Valley given up?

Its been something I’ve been sensing for awhile. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, just a feeling. But in the past few months I feel like Silicon Valley (at least for now) has given up on trying to replace the real estate agent/broker. This latest announcement by Zillow that they will begin buying and selling homes with agents really drove it home for me.

Make no mistake, that was Silicon Valley’s goal, to replace real estate agents. Disrupt! But real estate agents aren’t travel agents and it turns out that people want someone to advise them on the biggest purchase/sale of their lives.

There has been some great writing about Zillow’s latest announcement. I would check out Rob Hahn’s post, No Hat, Lots of Cattle: In Which Zillow Transforms. In which Rob argues (among other things) that Zillow is the only organization in the industry that is truly raising the bar for agents.

Drew Meyers (a former Zillow employee) reviews a competitor to Zillow in the iBuyer space, Knock, co-founded by a former Trulian, Sean Black: An Inside Peek at Knock, and Zillow’s Entry into Purchasing Homes

And I also just love Eric Wu’s, CEO of Opendoor, response to Zillow’s announcement, which harkens back to the Apple vs. MicrosoftIBM days.

Then there’s the content that Zillow themselves put out. The videos are great. Amy, Errol and Greg do a fantastic job explaining Zillow’s thought process in an easy to understand manner. Best use of video I’ve seen in this space.

Lastly if I had to recommend one thing to read it would be Ben Thompson at Stratechery: Zillow, Aggregation, and Integration
I’ve been reading Ben for a long time and subscribe to his newsletter. He does a great job outlining Zillow’s model and why they are making a shift. It’s a bit wonky but worth it.

Although I did have a quibble with his main premise Zillow was changing their business model. His response was to say the least, interesting.

  1. You really think they’ve given up? I’m not so sure.
    I still seem discount plays fairly often, though they come and go fairly quickly generally.
    Knock has plans to enable transactions to occur without agents in the future.

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