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Zillow Hiring Agents as Employees for iBuyer Transactions

The company says it will hire real estate agents as employees rather than as independent contractors to work with iBuyers via its new brokerage, Zillow Homes.

NEW YORK – In September, Zillow announced that it was opening real estate brokerages to handle iBuyers through its Zillow Offers program.

As part of that move, Zillow says it will hire real estate agents as employees to represent it in buying and selling homes through its iBuying business, rather than rely on independent contractors.

Previously, a local licensed real estate agent represented the company through a brokerage partnership in each market. But starting in January 2021, Zillow Offers customers in Atlanta, Phoenix and Tucson will work directly with a Zillow employee licensed to act as a real estate salesperson through Zillow Homes, its licensed real estate brokerage.

That Zillow employee will be salaried, and their contract will bar them from engaging in any other real estate activity outside the scope of their work at Zillow.

The homes Zillow sells will be listed for sale by licensed Zillow employees, rather than through the local brokerage and listed on the MLS.

The company says the move is solely for the Zillow Offers segment of the company’s business; Zillow reportedly has no plans to enter the traditional real estate brokerage space to represent consumers in the traditional home buying and selling process. The local brokerages that signed on to represent Zillow in its buying and selling transactions will continue to get the seller leads if a consumer decides not to take Zillow’s all-cash offer, the company says.

Zillow also says it will continue to pay commissions to all real estate agents representing the buyers and sellers in Zillow Offers transactions.

The distinction that Zillow has no interest in representing sellers that have opted not to sell using Zillow Offers separates the Seattle-based real estate tech giant from some of its competitors in the iBuyer space. As part of the change, Zillow says it will also be changing its backend and switching to an IDX feed, which will allow data to flow to and from the company to each local MLS.

Source: Inman (09/23/20) Kearns, Patrick

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