Zillow expands home-buying program to Riverside, CA

Program allows sellers to get a cash offer from Zillow, who then flips the property

Spencer Rascoff and Riverside, California, skyline
Spencer Rascoff and Riverside, California, skyline

Zillow is expanding its direct-to-consumer home-buying program to Riverside County, making it the eighth market nationwide to see the platform — and the first in California.

Zillow Offers, formerly Instant Offers, lets sellers take an offer from the home-buying giant, which then flips the home after some renovations. The program will launch in the Inland Empire city early next year.

Zillow is among many companies getting in on the large-scale home-flipping game, also called the iBuyer model. Redfin, Zillow’s rival, has also launched an iBuyer program called Redfin Now, including in Riverside. Opendoor, a startup built around the concept, is also active in Riverside. There are numerous other startups that have formed around the industry.

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Such iBuying programs are meant to appeal to sellers who need or want to move their homes quickly for cash. Sellers choose their own closing date after accepting an offer, and Zillow arranges a complimentary home inspection before closing.

Zillow piloted the program in Las Vegas and Orlando in May 2017 and has steadily expanded it to markets around the country. Riverside is the first Southern California city to see the program. It’s also operational in Phoenix, Arizona; Atlanta, Georgia; and Denver, Colorado. Zillow plans to launch in North Carolina and Houston, Texas, before it goes live in Riverside.

The program has ramped up in recent months. In the third quarter of 2018, Zillow purchased 168 homes and brought in $11 million in revenue after selling 36 of them.

The company hires a local brokerage to represent it in the deals. If a seller declines Zillow’s offer, it will refer those customers over to partner brokerages that advertise through Zillow’s Premier Agent program.