Selling your house to Zillow? Read this before they buy your home.
Considering Selling to Zillow? Get The Facts First.
Zillow is one of the most well-known websites for buying or renting a home. They offer exceptional pictures, live chat, and always have homes on the market. Zillow Offers is an expansion that gives homeowners the opportunity to sell their homes. They have officially joined the iBuyer crowd.
Zillow Offers works in a similar way as other iBuyers. You submit your address and information about your house. They will give you an offer that you can accept. Then, your house will be inspected. Repairs are often deducted from the final offer. You can choose a closing date that is convenient for you, too.
Zillow also sells homes. When browsing through homes on Zillow, you’ll notice a little icon that says “owned by Zillow.” This means that the house you are looking at was purchased through Zillow Offers.
The one thing that makes Zillow stand out from other iBuyers is that they still make most of their money from real estate agents. That means that they aren’t as likely to paint over mold to flip a house as soon as possible. As with any company, particularly iBuyers, there are advantages and disadvantages of Zillow Offers. That’s why we spent the time to write of the Internet’s most in-depth honest reviews of Opendoor for you — so that you can compare which ibuyer is right for you.
Pros Vs. Cons Of Zillow Offers
Several Service Areas
While other companies have limited service areas, Zillow Offers is slowly making their way around the nation. Their expansion into Cincinnati, Ohio makes them one of the first iBuyers to work with that market. Other markets include, but are not limited to:
- San Antonio, Texas
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Austin, Texas
- Houston, Texas
- Portland, Oregon
- Sacramento, California
- Nashville, Tennessee
Zillow Offers continues to expand their market to encompass more of the market than their leading competitors, which means that you’re more likely to be able to sell your home to Zillow.
Low Service Fee
While most iBuyers are becoming known for their high service fees, Zillow is taking the opposite approach. Their service fees are in the 1.5-9% range, with Zillow claiming that a 2.5% service fee is most common for them.
Flexible Closing Date
If you’re not ready to move yet, that’s not a problem with Zillow Offers. They offer flexible closing dates to make things more convenient for you.
Although there are several complaints about a lower offer after the inspection, you’re not going to find a lot of reviews from people claiming that they got robbed by them. Or from customers stating that they tried to hide the final cost when going over the paperwork. Although their prices aren’t for everyone, it’s nice to know that you’re not going to get scammed into only getting a fraction of what you’re expecting on closing day.
On average, houses can spend a couple of months on the housing market. That doesn’t happen with Zillow Offers. You can close in as little as a few weeks, which can be a huge relief to homeowners that need to sell their house fast.
Aside from the inspection and possible repairs, you don’t have to put any effort into selling your home. Zillow instantly assumes that it will need a fresh coat of paint, and they include that in the final cost. There is no prepping your home required.
Fixer Uppers Are Usually Not Bought
Where other companies, such as Offerpad (see our Offerpad reviews here), might buy a house that is a fixer-upper, that is not the case with Zillow Offers. They have a rather slim margin to work with, so they prefer to buy houses that require little work with the exception of a few cosmetic upgrades or items for aesthetic appeal.
Commonly Work With Popular Market Areas
As with other iBuyers, you are more than likely out of luck if you don’t live in one of the more popular areas of the country. They are known for working in markets and buying homes in markets that they trust are going to sell quickly.
Zillow claims that they give the best possible offer in the beginning to eliminate the need for negotiating. That quickly translates into the fact that sellers should not expect them to budge on the price very much, if at all.
Overcharging For Repairs
A common theme among those in the iBuyer category is that they overcharge for repairs that the house needs, and we see these common complaints among those that were interested in working with Zillow Offers as well.
What Customers Are Saying
They Frequently Withdraw Their Original Offer
Quite a few customers complain that Zillow offered them a very reasonable price in the beginning. Then, after deducting money for repairs, fees, etc. they were left with a significantly lower price. This has left some people withdrawing from the deal.
“I had a very similar experience to everyone else. Nowhere on the site can I find where to leave a review. The original market value offer came in at $195k and we were quite happy. But that was short-lived. Once they substracted their “fees” and $8000 in repair costs (BEFORE THEY EVEN INSPECTED OUR HOUSE IN PERSON) the deal was off. All our home needed was a bit of paint and a couple patches of drywall.”
Around the time of the inspection is when things seem to head downhill when working with Zillow Offers. Another example of this can be found on this Reddit thread.
Here’s another example of this happening to a man that posted his experience on Bigger Pockets.
They Are Known For Giving Your Information To Real Estate Agents
If you don’t sell your house directly to Zillow Offers, there’s a chance that you can get a lot of phone calls from real estate agents that they work with. No one is trying to bash Zillow for that. It’s a known fact that this company is based on them working with real estate agents. However, once those agents have the information, some of them are calling so much it’s almost harassment.
This article details how the Zillow lead system works. They sell real estate agents a person’s name, number, and email address. This information is known as a lead. Then, real estate agents can also receive information such as that the person is interested in buying a home in a particular area.
They Have Become Known For Backing Out Of Sales
Zillow Offers reviews from people that have completed a transaction with them are hard to come by. In fact, it requires quite a bit of digging to find reviews on Zillow Offers at all. This could be because the company is so new, and they suspended their efforts when a pandemic hit, but it could also be because they keep backing out of closing a deal days before it is supposed to go through. For example, check out this Reddit thread.
Zillow Offers Can Be Picky About Buying Houses
While some people don’t see a problem with that, it can be a problem if your home is unique, even if it’s updated. One Reddit user has first-hand experience in Zillow refusing to buy her home.
“I’m thinking of doing a FSBO on my place in the Houston suburbs and I have been mulling over an asking price so I put a request into Zillow offers just to see what they would offer. They responded by saying that they could not make an offer on my home due to no similar recent comps and the uniqueness of my home. It does have a unique floor plan and was built in the late 70s. Have any of you heard of Zillow refusing to make an offer before?”
This is both a good and a bad thing. It can make things more difficult for those that are interested in selling their homes. Zillow is less likely to purchase homes in an area where the market is taking a downturn or if they are not sure that they can sell them quickly.
However, this is because Zillow has such a slim profit margin to work with. They cannot afford to put a significant amount of money into homes. In addition to that, they cannot afford to have houses that are on the market for an extended period of time. When home buyers know that this is the case, it makes the company seem more trustworthy. It means that they are less likely to flip houses with shoddy repairs, which is something that other companies have become known for.
Outrageous Repair Requests
This Reddit user attempted to use both Zillow and Opendoor before posting the results from both of them. There is a long list of repairs that need to be completed, they deducted money from her final cost even though she was supposed to complete the repairs, and she claimed that some of the repairs did not even need to be completed. Here’s the list, complete with their estimate, to let you know what you might be in for:
“Total repair adjustment: $7,470.00
After completing your home evaluation, we found the following items are needed to get your home into the condition we expected when we calculated your home’s market value.
General sales preparation$1,375.77 We make sure homes are cleaned and prepared for the next owner as part of our Zillow service. This usually includes items like cleaning and landscaping that we do for all the homes we purchase.
- ·Remove Tile Floor (102 sqft)
- ·Install New Tile Flooring (102 sqft)
- ·Remove Vinyl Flooring (102 sqft)
- ·Replace Toilet
- ·Replace Bathroom Vanity Faucet
- ·Replace Shower Head
- ·Refinishing Tub / Shower Enclosure Walls
- ·Secure Toilet
- ·Replace Tub / Shower Hardware or Accessories
- ·Paint Exterior (1,689 sqft)
Garage or Carport$153.76
- ·Power Wash Concrete
- ·Remove Tool Racks, Cabinets or Peg Board
- ·Carpet / Flooring Cleaning
- ·Touch Up Drywall
- ·Replace All Outlet / Switch Cover Plates
- ·Interior Paint (1,689 sqft)
- ·Interior Paint (200 sqft)
- ·Install New Tile Flooring (42 sqft)
- ·Remove Vinyl Flooring (42 sqft)
- ·Deep Clean Appliance”
Not only is that quite the list, but the fact that they wanted to deduct money for the repairs, even though she was required to complete the repairs, and pay for them herself, is horrible. It’s unethical to do both.
Things To Keep In Mind Before Using Zillow Offers
Zillow Offers is a relatively new company. It is the parent company of Zillow, an extremely popular website that connects buyers with sellers in the real estate market. They also have quite a few agents that they work with. While using Zillow Offers can be a great idea, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
They Aren’t Selling Moldy Houses
It was difficult to find a review about houses that are owned by Zillow. While this might seem like a bad thing, it isn’t. When a person moves into a home that the owner knew had mold and painted over, they are more than likely going to write a review about it. So, positive reviews would be better, but no negative reviews about their homes is a great thing.
More Repair Costs Than Competitors
While it’s great that they aren’t selling horrible houses to people, this doesn’t always work out well for the person that wants to sell their home. In fact, it can make it more difficult to sell your home to Zillow Offers. They don’t have the extra money to throw into making drastic repairs, and they also don’t want to sell a home to someone that isn’t ready to move into. Those that are trying to sell their home might run into some problems when it comes to repair costs.
The First Offer Is Too Good To Be True
You know the old adage that claims if something is too good to be true that it usually is. This also applies to your Zillow Offers first offer. The first offer will often be above market value. Then, once the home is inspected, you’ll receive a final offer that you can either take or leave. Often, the final offer is significantly less than the first offer.
Some individuals have heard that this is because the market changed. It could also be due to repair costs. Actually, it’s because they use the first offer to get you on the phone, and then try to close the deal at a lower price so that they can still make money.
You Will Always Make Less Than You Would On The Market
Most people that are interested in selling their homes are well aware of the market value of their house. However, this isn’t going to make Zillow money, and they are a business. Because of this, they will buy your house at a little less than market value, and then re-sell it.
Reviews Are Mixed In With Zillow.com Reviews
Because these two are parent companies, you’ll have to sift through quite a few Zillow.com reviews to find reviews for Zillow Offers. There are no specific Zillow Offers reviews on popular review sites or consumer websites, such as Yelp, YP, or even the BBB. Most of the reviews that you’ll find will be for the website that sells houses.
Should You Sell Your House To Zillow Offers?
Zillow Offers seems more trustworthy than the competition. There are certain areas where they tend to outshine other popular iBuyers, but certain situations that will call for you to walk away.
Home Owners That Are Trying To Get Rid Of Their House Hassle Free
If you’re willing to take a loss, and are trying to hurry up and get rid of your house, this is a great idea. While Zillow Offers often requires more repairs and can make the process a few days longer than the competition, they typically pay out a little bit more than them too. Because of this, it’s a great idea to give them a shot. If they back out of the deal, you can always use Offerpad or another iBuyer as a back up plan.
You don’t have to deal with any of the prep that you normally would to sell a home, which is a huge bonus of working with an iBuyer. Instead, you can focus on preparing to move into your new home.
Buyers Can Trust Zillow Owned Houses
While the process might seem to be a bit much for homeowners, it works out well for the houses that are owned by Zillow. Because the inspection process is so thorough, and they don’t buy fixer upper houses, you can trust that you aren’t likely to get scammed into paying for a house where mold was covered with a quick coat of paint.
Owners That Want To Maximize Profits Should Work With A Real Estate Agent
Selling your home, preparing for open houses and selecting a buyer can seem like a hassle, but that’s where the high payout is. If more than one person is interested in your home, you can expect them to negotiate at a higher price as they compete with each other. You also don’t have to pay the high fees that iBuyers charge. Homeowners will make more money because they are able to sell their home at market value instead of accepting a price that is below market value, which is the case when working with an iBuyer like Zillow Offers.
While working with Zillow Offers might not be for everyone, the primary problems that homeowners are likely to run into are overcharging for repairs and Zillow Offers backing out of the deal. While they might seem a bit flaky, they do appear to be trustworthy when it is time to disclose the final offer. Repairs are in an itemized list so that it is obvious how they reached their final price. Agents do not attempt to rush through paperwork to scam people. That makes this a great option for individuals that would like to try working with an iBuyer, and for those that are interested in buying a Zillow owned home.