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Zillow branching out from real estate data, providing home estimates, to flipping property in Denver

'Zillow Offers' service now available in 6 cities
Posted at 6:51 PM, Jan 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 20:52:06-05

DENVER — Talk about stress.

If you've ever tried to perfectly time the sale of your house with the start of a new job or the purchase of a new home, you know how frustrating that can be.

Zillow, a company best known for real estate listings and home worth estimates, is trying to lessen the stress for sellers by getting into the home buying business.

It's called Zillow Offers.

"We'll pay cash for your property. We'll close the day that you want to close. You won't have to show your home," said Sue Dolquist, general manager of Zillow's Denver operations.

While giving a brief "pre-open house" tour, a home Zillow Offers purchased in Highlands Ranch, Dolquist said real estate transactions could be incredibly stressful.

"They're probably the largest financial transaction most people will ever make," she said, adding that getting and keeping your house in shape for "showing," just adds to the stress.

"I have to clean the house, put the dogs away, or take the kids away, so people can come through during an open house or the real estate agent is bringing someone over in 20 minutes, and I have something in the oven," she said. "All of those things are frustrating to the seller."

Dolquist said in the Denver market, Zillow is focusing on homes in the $200,000 to $700,000 range.

But they're not your typical flipper.

"Zillow isn't really in the market to pop the top on a property, or bump out a kitchen and make a bay window," she said. "We're really doing things to make the home 'sale ready' that the seller doesn't have to do, like fixing drapery rods or repairing sidewalks."

She said the idea is to make it as convenient as possible for the seller.

Many realtors have a different take on the new service.

"They're a terrific choice for some people, but we've heard they're not buying every house," said Matthew Leprino of the Colorado Association of Realtors. "They'll collect data, check out your house and if they decide not to buy it, they still have all your information that they can share with third parties."

"Zillow is very much like Amazon," said Steve Blank, vice president and managing broker at LIV Sotheby's International, Downtown. "They're not a real estate company. They are a collection of information type company."

Blank told Denver7 there is a convenience factor to selling your home to a company like Zillow, but there can also be trade-offs.

He suggests that homeowners who want to sell "first speak with one or two brokers that work in the area, or that they trust, to compare what the numbers will look like at the end of the day."

He said the home sellers could then develop their own opinion of whether they want to sell it at a discounted price for convenience, or wait it out and get market value and come out much further ahead.

Dolquist said there is a very small difference between the purchase price and the sale price.

She added that Zillow works with realtors on the buying and selling side.

"This home is listed by a local real estate agent, Atlas Real Estate Group," she said. "They also represent us when we purchase a property from any seller who's looking. I think the real estate industry, in general, is very appreciative that we use a local real estate agent to make sure all these transactions are don exactly the way they need to be."

Dolquist added that the Zillow Offers service is for those who prioritize a stress-free transaction on their timeline.

"We'll pay cash for your property. We'll close the day you want to close. You won't have to show your home. We'll come through once, take a look and see how every home has a different condition, and the repairs that we're going to need to make, and then we'll make an offer and close on that property when it's convenient for the seller."

The real estate data giant is now purchasing home in six cities: Phoenix, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Denver, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham.

She said Zillow is planning to do the same soon in Riverside, Houston, Dallas, Nashville and Minneapolis.

The Zillow open house will be Saturday at 6506 Silver Mesa Drive, Unit B.

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