The State Update - July/August

Geoff McIntosh
By Geoff McIntosh
C.A.R. President

Zillow Group Launches “Instant Offers” Pilot Program

With or without an agent, homeowners can entertain offers and sell their homes quickly.

No doubt you’ve heard about Zillow Group’s “Instant Offers” pilot program for home sellers where, with or without an agent, homeowners can entertain instant offers and sell their homes quickly. This program—which is essentially a new take on another “I’ll buy your house for all cash, below market value” business—is a small segment of the marketplace.

The reactions we have received so far fall into either the camp of strong opposition or strong support. For those who are opposed, the pilot has been the subject of much consternation by REALTORS® since its announcement because it creates a path that eliminates the critical role an agent plays in the transaction—another step toward disintermediation.

Many see this as an antagonistic step against the very industry that fuels the site with listing content and premier advertising money, only to promote the prospect of excluding REALTORS® from the transaction.

Those who see it that way have the option of rethinking their participation with the site. Those holding the other opinion have reported that they see business opportunities to enhance their work through this program.

No matter how you look at it, we can all agree it’s bad for consumers who need to get sage advice, excellent customer experience, and top dollar when they’re selling their home, especially when consumers must pay an exorbitant cost to participate in the program.

The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) has been asked for its take. First, there is no substitute for the tremendous value REALTORS® bring to what is usually the largest, and often the most complicated, transaction a consumer will ever make.

The program seems to be geared toward investors or investment groups who are willing to make more speculative investments. Any move that promotes eliminating REALTORS® from their role as a trusted navigator in this complex undertaking would ultimately harm most consumers, leaving them without a duty-bound advisor just when they need one most.

C.A.R would oppose any such development that eliminates many consumer protections and will always advocate for the unparalleled value of using a REALTOR®.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to discuss with your clients the value proposition that a REALTOR® brings to the table and look at expanding the services you are uniquely able to offer investors and investment groups.

This column is based on and has been excerpted from the Monthly Message by C.A.R. President Geoff McIntosh that was distributed via email on June 7, 2017. It is being reprinted here with permission.