Zillow boss keeps a cool head through company hardships

March 2, 2020
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Famous for its Zestimate service, Zillow has been the go-to platform when looking to buy and sell a home. Zillow uses proprietary algorithms to create "Zestimates" of current prices of a home.

But Zillow decided to shake things up.

In April 2018, the company announced it was launching Zillow Offers and would purchase homes directly from sellers, doing any necessary repairs before turning around to resell the house itself.

The model, known as instant buying, or "iBuying," marked a major overhaul for Zillow's core business. Up until then, the company had operated in a purely digital realm, removed from the headaches of owning or renovating actual brick-and-mortar properties.

At the company, the dramatic shift is known as "Zillow 2.0," and CEO Rich Barton has laid out a bold vision, painting this moment as a "new frontier in real estate." He wants Zillow's service to eventually transform the industry so that selling a home is as easy as trading in a car. But first, he warns, the company and its shareholders have to be patient.

There's a steep learning curve, and so far, the company is losing millions every month on the new initiative. But Barton believes the big bet will pay off.

Why Zillow is shifting course

Today, more agents use Facebook and LinkedIn to market homes than yard signs and open houses, and the market for online real estate ads is valued at $19.9 billion, according to Borrell Associates, a research group that compiles an annual outlook on the industry.

Read more here

March 2, 2020

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