Should I let Zillow buy my house?


If you are looking for a quick and painless way to sell your home, Zillow might be the buyer for you. Famous for its property listing website, the company has recently expanded into the world of buying and selling homes.

Should I Let Zillow Buy My House? Selling your home to Zillow can be a quick and painless process. You can choose a closing date of between 7 and 90 days from the date you sign the contract, and there are none of the usual home sale hassles or uncertainties. However, it is by no means perfect, and it is crucial to consider this option carefully.

How Do You Sell Your Home Through Zillow?

Visit the Zillow Offers page and enter your address. If Zillow Offers is available in your area, you are directed to an online questionnaire for some basic information. The questionnaire takes two to three minutes to complete, and Zillow will get back to you within two business days.

Once you receive the preliminary offer, you have five business days to accept, or otherwise, before their offer expires. If you do not accept the offer within the timeframe, no worries. You can ask for another offer at any time; you just have to fill in the form again.

By asking for an offer, you are not under any obligation to let Zillow buy your house. This preliminary offer does not set up any binding relationship between you and Zillow. If you choose not to take them up on the offer, you can still sell by listing with a real estate agent or sell it yourself, without any penalties.

How Does Zillow Arrive At An Initial Offer Price?

Zillow come up with their offer price by looking at several pieces of information. First, they look at your responses to the online questionnaire to give them an idea of the current condition and any recent renovations and updates.

Then they consider the price of comparable properties in your area. This is usually done with the help of a local broker who knows the area well and following this, Zillow will add their Zestimate® of your property into the mix.

Once they have compiled all of this data, Zillow works out how much it will cost to bring your home up to, what they consider to be, a market-ready condition.

Finally, using all of these facts and figures they will come up with an initial offer for your home.

What Happens If I Accept Zillow’s Initial Offer?

If you accept the preliminary offer from Zillow, they will contact you and arrange an in-home evaluation. The evaluation usually takes place within a couple of days and allows Zillow to ensure the information you have given is honest, fair, and accurate.

Zillow will use the evaluation report to decide whether any repairs or upgrades are needed for your home to be in what they consider market-ready condition.  At this stage, Zillow will provide you with a firm offer, and you can then decide whether or not to move forward.

When their offer is ready, the company will appoint a Zillow Offers Advisor. They will arrange to call you and discuss the offer and answer any questions you might have. They will also email a copy of their offer for you to read at your leisure.

Will Zillow Negotiate Their Offer?

To streamline the process, Zillow provides their best offer straight away, and they do not negotiate. They do this to ensure a streamlined process that minimizes uncertainty and unnecessary delays.

What Happens After I Recieve A Formal Offer?

Once you receive a formal offer of sale and discuss the offer with your Zillow Offers Advisor, the offer is valid for five business days.

As with the initial offer, you are under no obligation to move ahead with the sale, and the offer from Zillow does not prevent you from signing a contract with a real estate advisor and selling your home to someone else.

If you decide to accept Zillow’s offer, the next step is to sign the contract, return a copy to Zillow and speak with your Zillow Offers Advisor. They will talk you through the next steps and help you arrange a suitable closing date.

How Long Does Closing Take With Zillow?

Generally, Zillow can be pretty flexible, and you can usually choose a closing date somewhere between seven and 90 days from the date you sign the contract.

Why Might Zillow’s Offer Differ From Their Zestimate?

A Zestimate is produced through a combination of public records, property tax assessments, the recent sale price of nearby comparables, and other readily available data-points. However, it is only an educated guess and cannot reflect the unique nature of your home.

Asking for an offer from Zillow will not affect the Zestimate. A Zestimate is computer-generated using the same algorithms for every home, and the information Zillow obtains from the offer and evaluation process is not part of this calculation.

Benefits Of Selling Your House To Zillow

There are multiple benefits of letting Zillow buy your house.

  1. Speed: The process of selling your home to Zillow can be quick. From the time you make your first inquiry, you can, in theory, have the process complete within two weeks.
  2. Control Over Timing: Rather than have to negotiate a closing and move out date that works for you and your buyers, you have greater flexibility when you sell your house to Zillow. Within reason, they do not mind which date you choose for the closing.
  3. Reduced Uncertainty: When you sell your home in the traditional manner, there is a certain degree of uncertainty, right up until the moment everyone has signed the final documentation.When you let Zillow buy your house, there are no worries about the other party pulling out of the process.
  4. No Viewings: Normally, when you put your house on the market, there will be viewings. Prospective buyers want to come and take a look around your property and may wish to return for multiple visits.You have to keep your home “viewing ready” all of the time in case someone wants to view your home at short notice. This can be a strain, especially if you have children or pets.Zillow requires one home visit, which you arrange at your convenience, and done. No more keeping the place like a show house.
  5. No Discussions: Zillow makes their best offer straight away and has minimal conditions to its contracts. Consequently, you avoid all of the stress of going back and forth between buyer and seller, with each of them asking for changes or concessions.
  6. Zero Repairs: If Zillow determines, for example, the roof needs replacing before they can resell your home, they factor those costs into their offer. There are none of the usual negotiations about whether you are going to replace the roof before the buyers close or if you are willing to accept a price reduction to account for the cost they will encounter.
  7. Opinion Free Offers: Zillow has set standards for the homes they buy and resell, which takes the element of personal opinions out of the equation. They will not ask for a reduction in the price of your home just because the kitchen cabinets are not to their taste or because they will want to redecorate in different colors.
  8. No Last Minute Finance Issues: Even if you have a buyer who is pre-approved for a mortgage amount, there are many reasons why their financing can still fall through and scupper the sale. Zillow has guaranteed financing that will not be turned down at any stage.

Disadvantages Of Selling To Zillow

Of course, it’s not a perfect process, and there are some disadvantages to selling your house to Zillow.

  1. The Zillow Service Charge: Zillow, do not try to low-ball you and then sell at a prophet. Instead, they put a dollar amount on the risk they feel they are taking by buying your house.Your offer will include an item called the Zillow Service charge of between 1.5% and 7.9%. This, like the house price, is non-negotiable.
  2. No Negotiations: While no negotiations can be a good thing, it can also leave you wondering if you could have got more for your home. You do not have the opportunity to do your own repairs or bargain over other terms.
  3. The Price CAN Drop: The initial offer from Zillow is made without having seen your home. Once the evaluation visit takes place, there can be a significant reduction in the offer price if, in Zillow’s opinion, the reality of your home differs significantly from their initial information.

Other Considerations

Selling to Zillow does not cause all of the other costs of selling your home to miraculously evaporate. Although you do not have the costs of a listing agent, Zillow will factor the costs of their listing agent for the resale of your home into the price they offer you. Consequently, you are effectively still paying an agent.

Also, you pay the same closing fees you would in a regular home sale.

Finally, Zillow Offers is only available in specific markets, and they only purchase a particular type of home.

Final Thoughts

Selling your home to Zillow can be a quick and painless process, but it by no means for everyone. There are no costs associated with asking Zillow for an initial offer, so you have nothing to lose by doing so.

However, be sure you seek professional advice and ensure you are doing the right thing for you and your family.

Geoff

Geoff Southworth is the creator of RealEstateInfoGuide.com, the site that helps new homeowners, investors, and homeowners-to-be successfully navigate the complex world of property ownership. Geoff is a real estate investor of 8 years has had experience as a manager of a debt-free, private real estate equity fund, as well as a Registered Nurse in Emergency Trauma and Cardiac Cath Lab Care. As a result, he has developed a unique “people first, business second” approach to real estate.

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