Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Business

Need a buyer for your Tampa Bay Home? Zillow enters the market with cash offers

It joins Opendoor and Offerpad in making "instant'' offers.
Tampa Bay homeowners are now able to sell their homes to Zillow. [Zillow]
Published Oct. 21
Updated Oct. 21

Click here to read this story in Spanish

The online real estate giant is launching its Zillow Offers program in the bay area, the 22nd U.S. metro market in which sellers can enter their information online and get an initial cash offer within 48 hours. Following a home inspection, they can close in as little as seven days. Or if they don’t want to sell to Zillow, they’ll still receive a free analysis of what other homes are going for.

"It’s a great platform but it’s not going to be for everyone,'' said Joe LoCicero, whose Land O’ Lakes firm, 54 Realty, will be Zillow’s exclusive agent in the Tampa Bay area. "If the seller wants to go the traditional route, they’ll get a market analysis by a licensed professional to show what they can get on the open market.''

Zillow is joining an already crowded field of ‘iBuyers'’ (the “i'' stands for “instant”) that includes Opendoor and Offerpad. All of the companies tout the convenience of quickly selling a home without the need for open houses, frequent showings and the risk that a sale will fall through at the last minute.

Records show that the iBuying market remains small in the Tampa bay area. Since 2017, Opendoor and Offerpad have purchased a total of 958 homes in Hillsborough County; last year alone, nearly 27,000 homes were sold in the county. Zillow could have an advantage over its competitors, though, because its name is much better known thanks to its popular online "Zestimates'' of home values.

Andy Baxter decided to try Zillow Offers this year when he had to sell his three-bedroom, two-bath pool home near Orlando because of a job relocation. He said he instantly got an offer for what he thought the house was worth— about $375,000.

"I equate it with CarMax,'' he said, referring to the nationwide company that buys used cars. "You go in, they give you a price, if you’re offended you leave. If not, you walk out with a check.''

Baxter said the Zillow inspectors found "the usual things'' — some holes in the walls from pictures and gutters that needed cleaning. They also wanted to power wash the deck.

"They didn’t try to pick the house apart,'' he said, "and when they made their original offer, they put some money in for repairs. They were very upfront, they don’t bait and switch.''

Sellers have complained that some iBuying companies chisel down the initial offer by thousands of dollars due the alleged need for extensive repairs.

Baxter, who works for an educational nonprofit and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, said his sale closed in August three or four weeks after he first contacted Zillow. "That was my choice: it could have been sooner, he said.

Zillow charges a "convenience fee’' that averages 7.5 percent, similar to what other iBuyers charge but slightly more than the typical real estate commission. That’s because iBuyers "are going to manage all the risks for you,'' LoCicero said - "the time on the market, the holding costs, anything to get the home prepped for sale.''





ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Frances Werner-Watkins Julie Rinaldi
    News and notes on local businesses
  2. Left to right: Oak Hill Hospital Anesthesiology residents Daniel Eskander, Wayne Simmons, Jeffrey Huang and Benjamin Segil. Katie Stacy/Oak Hill Hospital
    News and notes on local businesses
  3. A total of 131 employees are scheduled to be laid off in January as Locale Market and Farm Table Cucina close at the Sundial to make way for a new food hall created by the developers of the Heights Public Market at the Armature Works in Tampa. CHRIS URSO   |   TIMES
    In a notice to the state of Florida, Sundial owner Bill Edwards said the layoffs are expected to take place the first week of January.
  4. WeWork is opening Tampa offices at 501 E Kennedy Blvd. despite company struggles, including $1.25 billion in losses over 2019. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    WeWork has 200 planned coworking space openings as leadership tries to manage $1.25 billion in losses.
  5. Florida's unemployment rate was unchanged in October at 3.2 percent, according to numbers released Friday. LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP
    The latest numbers were released Friday morning.
  6. Apollo Global Management has offered $130 per share for Tech Data's stock in an acquisition worth $5.4 billion. If regulators shareholders approve, the home-grown company will remain based in Pinellas County, where it employs 2,000 of its 14,000 workers. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Private equity firms like Apollo create wealth for pension funds, financial institutions and individual investors by buying assets that typically are sold later at a profit.
  7. Some of Tampa Bay's largest companies are being sold or are up for sale. Times files and Bloomin' Brands
    Tech Data is just the latest in a growing list of public companies bought up by out-of-state firms.
  8. Hillsborough Community College solicited "non-binding letters of interest or intent” last month from developers interested in purchasing the Dr. Gwendolyn W. Stephenson District Administration Center on Davis Islands. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Developers have eyed the 3.7 acre waterfront parcel for years, but recent interest has prompted the college’s trustees to finally start the conversation.
  9. Tampa International Airport looking north. The Wall Street Journal ranked it the best midsize airport in America. [Times files]
    TPA took first place in the Wall Street Journal’s annual survey of U.S. airports.
  10. Tech Data's CEO Rich Hume (left) shares a moment with former CEO Bob Dutkowsky during a send off celebration for Dutkowsky earlier this year. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
    A private equity firm has agreed to buy Tech Data.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement