Here’s how Zillow Offers will buy and flip homes in South Florida

Zillow is working with broker-partner Laurie Reader on all sales and resales

Zillow Offers launched in South Florida this week, leaving potential buyers, sellers and agents with questions about how the iBuying program works.

The Seattle-based listings giant is making a big push into home buying and flipping, having already expanded to 15 other markets with plans to nearly double that in the coming months.

In South Florida, it’s working with Laurie Reader, broker-owner of Laurie Finkelstein Reader Real Estate, as its broker-partner. Reader will represent Zillow on all acquisitions and resales in the tri-county area under the Zillow Offers program, she told The Real Deal.

The way it works is simple. Zillow will unlock certain ZIP codes as it expands throughout South Florida, (but Reader would not disclose which ZIP codes). Homeowners can type in their address on Zillow’s website to see if their property is eligible. Sellers whose homes fall within eligible ZIP codes are then prompted to answer questions about the home and possibly add photos of the property. Within days, Zillow will present a no-obligation cash offer. If the seller accepts the offer, they can choose their closing and moving date, between five and 90 days after acceptance.

Zillow then prepares the property for resale, making whatever repairs are necessary, and puts it on the market. Zillow’s staff will arrange light repairs, like painting, installing new carpet, roof tiles and more.

Reader said that Zillow is looking to acquire different properties, including houses and condos, in South Florida. She expects that the homes will be mid-priced, largely between the high $200,000s into the mid $300,000s. But she said the prices could go higher or lower.

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Sellers could also potentially trade their homes for other properties and vice versa.

Reader, whose independent brokerage is not affiliated with any of the big brokerage brands, said she already had a staff selling over 600 homes a year. Once she signed a deal with Zillow, she added to her staff, which currently consists of about 30 employees and 40 agents.

While Reader declined to provide a specific number of houses that Zillow plans to buy, she said she “would love that to be around 100 homes a month, 1,200 homes a year.”

“That will all fall back on consumer demand,” she said.

The iBuying model targets sellers who are looking to sell their property quickly and receive cash, and could be viewed as a more viable option as a recession looms.

Since Zillow Offers launched in April 2018, the company has said that more than 170,000 homeowners have requested an offer from Zillow. Next, the listings giant plans to begin offering its home buying program in Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida; Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Sacramento and San Diego, California; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Tucson, Arizona.

Zillow is the first of the big iBuying companies to expand to South Florida. Keller Williams launched its iBuyer program, Keller Offers, in Dallas this May. Keller Williams in July said it was teaming up with Opendoor.

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