The U.S. real estate portal company Zillow has announced that it has entered an agreement to acquire Spruce, a tech-enabled title and escrow company.
The move aims to address the challenges in the real estate transaction process, particularly the critical closing stage.
Zillow and Spruce envision collaborating to develop a digital-powered closing services offering for Zillow's customers which will be an integral part of Zillow's much-talked-about 'housing super app'.
Matt Daimler, Zillow's Senior Vice President of Product, expressed the ambition behind the acquisition:
"Title should never be a blocker to a great transaction and our goal is for our customers to see and feel how much better the real estate transaction can be when they work with Zillow… With Spruce, Zillow is building a tech-forward, high volume title company for the future."
Spruce, founded in 2016, is described in a press release as a leader in the title and closing ecosystem. It leverages proprietary software and a seasoned team to provide end-to-end experiences for clients. Its technology and operations have power title insurance, coordination, escrow, and recording services for real estate companies.
Spruce CEO and co-founder Patrick Burns shared his perspective on the acquisition:
"Real estate transactions often fall short of buyer and seller expectations… We’re excited to join Zillow in the ambitious mission to create the best closing solution for the modern home-buying process."
The Spruce acquisition comes hot on the heels of Zillow's decision to shutter its Title and Escrow business division with the loss of 80 jobs. Zillow said at the time that it believed that Title and Escrow was still "a critical component" of its core strategy and now, in Spruce, it seems to have been able to find the "integrated product" that its customers needed.