Zillow Offers adds Portland to direct-buy housing markets


Portland is 12th city in Zillow's expansion into buying homes directly

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There’s a new option for selling your home in the Portland metro area. If you’re a good fit, Zillow will pay you cash for your home through a service called Zillow Offers.

Portland is the 12th market where Zillow now directly buys homes and partnered with Knipe Realty in this area.

Jeff Knipe, the owner of Knipe Realty, partnered with Zillow Offers in Portland, July 15, 2019 (KOIN)

“Zillow is really a market maker and for us, they partner with us. We have a great reputation in town, Zillow has a good reputation with consumers,” said Jeff Knipe with Knipe Realty. “Zillow changed the way people searched for homes. They want to change the way people buy and sell homes as well.

Traditionally, Zillow has been known for its website that helps buyers find homes and “zestimates” its home price estimator.

With Zillow Offers, a seller fills out an online application and within 48 hours the seller gets a free, no obligation cash offer, sight unseen.

“Once you get the offer and you accept the cash offer we then send an evaluation team to come out and look at your home and see what it’s going to take for us to bring it up to market value,” said Jeff Knipe of Knipe Realty, which is Zillow Offer’s broker partner in this area. “Then you actually get to choose your closing date, whether that’s 5 business days up to 90 days.”

Zillow then sells the home.

There are some things to keep in mind. Zillow charges the seller a convenience fee, on average about 7% which comes out of the cash offer.

Zillow handles any repairs using its own construction team — and that also comes out of the offer.

Knipe said Zillow is not a “flipper” and they’re not looking for major reconstruction projects. Sellers don’t have to make repairs, he said, but can “just walk away from their house. Sweep it and walk away.”

Skeptics argue you’re likely to make more money by putting your home on the market.

“As sellers weighing their options of what to do if you have the time, a traditional sale of getting your house fully prepped for the market, getting your house completely right pricing-wise, conditions and terms and exposing it to the vast pool that exists here in Portland, that would still net you the most money,” said Drew Coleman, the president of the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors.

Coleman said he’s seen data from other markets where the direct buyer model has been in place for a while, like Phoenix, and “we’ve seen up to 5 to 10% market penetration in some of those areas. So it seems to be something that’s catching on.”

Convenience is the key factor in this kind of sale, he told KOIN 6 News.

“The direct buyer model is set up so that it’s really right for someone that is moving pretty quickly and needs that equity,” Coleman said. “Typically a traditional sale with a realtor has still netted people more money so far around the country.”

He added the nice thing about the direct buyer model “from the seller’s standpoint is often the certainty they get.”

This is the first day for Zillow Offers in Portland and Knipe said it’s already been busy at his office.

“Zillow’s goal over the next few years is to buy 5000 homes a month nationwide,” Knipe said. “We’re hoping the appetite here in Portland is big.”

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