Website Launches Service to Sell Homes in South Florida

South Florida is one of the hottest and most volatile real estate markets in the country and now sellers have a new option to explore.

"We're responding to what the consumer demanded," said Laurie Reader, a long-time real estate agent.

Laurie is a local broker partner for Zillow Offers – a new service now available in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties that promises to make selling a home easier than ever.

"You are getting an instant cash offer," Laurie said. "Typically within 48 to 72 hours."

To get that cash offer, sellers first need to visit the Offers section on Zillow.com. There, Laurie said, they can type in their address and upload some photos of their home before receiving an initial cash offer. If a consumer chooses to explore it further, Zillow will then send over an estimator who will determine what types of renovations need to be made.

"Maybe change out the carpet, paint, landscaping," Laurie said. "Normal things any seller needs to do to put their home on the market."

According to Laurie, Zillow will then make the seller a final offer that takes into consideration the cost of those fixes.

"You will not make repairs; you don't have to clean the house up," Laurie said. "We're going to purchase it exactly the way we saw it."

If a seller accepts the final offer, they can then choose to close between 5 and 90 days later. Zillow will then make light repairs or renovations to the home and put the house for sale on the open market, Laurie said.

Sellers will have to pay a service fee that Laurie said averages 7.5% nationwide – higher than the 6% sellers typically have to pay in real estate commissions.

And Eli Beracha, director of FIU's School of Real Estate, told NBC 6 Responds he expects sellers to receive an offer from Zillow that is somewhat lower than market value.

"So they're willing to basically sacrifice cost or sell the house for less in order to get the convenience," Eli said.

Still, Eli said this is the future of the real estate industry. He added it could be months, maybe years before the industry will be able to gauge the kind of impact I-Buying programs like Zillow Offers may have on the market.

"This is a pretty new phenomena," Eli said.

Miami is the 16th market to see Zillow's Offers program, which first launched in 2018 in Phoenix. Since then, more than 170,000 homeowners have requested an offer from Zillow to buy their home, according to a company's news release.

Eli said it's likely other I-Buying companies will soon start to offer similar services in South Florida. He said consumers should first meet with a real estate agent they trust to get an idea of their home's market value so they can compare that number with what Zillow offers them before making a decision on how to sell their home.

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