Real Estate Industry April 3, 2022

Zillow News

Zillow® announced this week that it will cease its iBuying business and lay off a quarter of its staff. The CEO said, “The unpredictability in forecasting home prices far exceeds what we anticipated.” The company reportedly overpaid for houses it ultimately had to sell at a discount. 

Some of my fellow agents are rejoicing because Zestimates have become a dirty word in our industry. They cringe when clients say, “The Zestimate says the house is worth….” as if Zestimates are THE authority and not to be countered or questioned.

For me, the Zestimate narrative is an easy one: researching a Zestimate is a good place for end users to start. But then they should follow up with a local agent to learn more. After all, we are the ones who know the area, homes, neighborhoods, trends, and specifics of our market. I enjoy having Zestimates start our conversation about pricing which then organically morphs into a discussion on local specifics.

As a Zillow Premier Agent, Zillow has been very good to me and many of my best quality clients come from Zillow. My heart breaks for the Zillow employees who will lose their jobs because of a failed business plan. I do not rejoice over this week’s announcement.

What does Zillow’s news mean for us? Locally, this news means nearly nothing. The Pullman area was not a part of their iBuying program. The rest of Zillow is still functioning as normal.

Without question the real estate industry will continue to evolve. And I strongly suspect agents’ roles will change. Will we go away altogether? Will we be the local branch of a bigger entity who confirms computational outputs?  Whatever the path, I will stay aware of industry news, lobby our legislators for homeowners’ rights, and advocate with other important outside influencers that affect my clients. That’s where I bring my worth and why my role is relevant now and in the future.