Online real estate companies Zillow, Opendoor begin buying and selling homes in Denver

Zillow and Opendoor launch new services
Posted at 1:19 PM, Oct 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-22 15:19:25-04

DENVER — Two real estate companies have expanded their home buying and selling services to Denver.

On Monday, real estate listing site Zillow launched "Zillow Offers" in the Denver market, allowing homeowners to get cash offers directly from Zillow instead of listing their home for sale and soliciting offers from buyers. Last week, home buying site Opendoor expanded its services to Denver, the 19th market for the company.

Using the companies' websites, prospective home sellers can request an offer on their home by filling out some details about the house. If the seller accepts the offer from Zillow or Opendoor, then the company will do an inspection of the home and finalize the deal.

Both Zillow and Opendoor say they are not house flipping services. Zillow is working with Denver's Atlas Real Estate Group to handle transactions in Denver.

"What Zillow is solving is the actual experience, the transaction process," says Atlas co-owner Jason Shepherd. "We Buy Ugly Houses, that's a flipper model that's asset-centric."

Zillow seems to be following the model of Opendoor, which first launched in Phoenix in 2014.

Cristin Culver with Opendoor says the goal is not to make money on the property.

"If the house is worth $300,000, we want to buy it for $300,000 and sell it for $300,000," Culver said.

The company makes some money on the 6.5 percent service fee, which is similar to the commission a seller would pay to an agent in a traditional home sale.

Still, some wonder why homeowners in a "seller's market" like Denver would choose to go with this option. Both Opendoor and Zillow says it's all about controlling the timing of your sale and avoiding the hassle.

"The convenience component is enormous," said Ryan Boykin, also with Atlas Real Estate Group. "You’re not going to have to get your home cleaned every weekend. You’re not going to have to deal with a contract that fell through because an inspection didn’t go well or buyers didn’t have their financing together," he added.

Boykin and his partner Shepherd say Denver is still a seller's market, despite recent signs indicating apossible shift. They say this model of real estate transactions can work in any market, but here in Denver, it could help give both sellers and buyers more options.

"I actually think this adds liquidity into a marketplace that doesn’t have much right now," Shepherd said.