Zillow asks all the normal stuff: When did you buy it, what kind of floors, how old is the roof, they present you with their data on the floorplan for your verification, they ask you the condition of the floors, etc., etc. Eventually, you get to a menu where you need to add your own photos. This is where I stopped the process, but even after stopping the process their follow-up has been ON. POINT.
When you stop the process short, they ask you why and give you options like “not interested”, “not at home”, etc. If you select not at home, you immediately get a photo upload link in your e-mail and they politely tell you to upload them when you have time. After that they direct you to a guide for selling your house. You can get tips on staging your home, timing the sale of your house correctly, and so on and so forth. Then I received another e-mail with the subject line: “NO CLEANING NEEDED! <Property Address>…”, and then finally this morning I received a text and ringless voicemail from Zillow’s Instant Offer department.
Now, again, I’m not entirely sure how they’re powering this. Could be collaboration with the bigger wholesaling firms, or they could have a team of VAs processing these requests. After photos are uploaded, it does take 2-3 days to get your Instant Offer from them, so there is a little bit of a delay.
As I said, your “Instant Offer” from Zillow comes back in 2-3 days’ time. That gives us local wholesalers a window of opportunity. If you’re new in this business, and doing everything yourself, there is no reason that you can’t get an incoming lead call, pre-screen, go out and see the property, and make them an offer right there on the spot within 24 hours. Boom!
You just made your offer more “instant” than Zillow! You’re a heavy hitter already. In addition to that, you’re forgetting about a very important factor in the business world: relationships, and The Human/Personal Touch.
We live in an age of instant gratification and instant results, but you and I both know that not every single person wants that. I’ll be 32 years old in September. I’m not an old man by any means (although I feel like one sometimes), and I strongly dislike automated telephone messages.
Connect me to a fucking person! (I’m looking at you Bank of America)! It’s for this exact reason that, despite the size of Zillow’s real estate machine, all of us local wholesalers will still be just fine. Play up the personal touch of your business. Switch to live answer if you’re not already using it. If you have inspectors that you know are covering certain areas, give the seller their first name so they know who they’re speaking with right from the jump.
“Alright, Mr. Seller, Jack will be out to your property tomorrow morning. He’s a great guy, and he’ll take some pictures, get us a rehab estimate, and be out of your hair in less than an hour.” Maybe even call out Zillow in your marketing. “Don’t want to work with robots? Neither do I! Call 867-5309 TODAY for a personal, one-on-one consultation with a local home-buying specialist!” (That probably wasn’t my best marketing headline, but you get the drift).
In summary: don’t shit your pants. We’ll all be just fine. Zillow’s size is an advantage, but it’s also a disadvantage. They can’t devote the time and resources to customer service, and deal acquisition, that some of us local wholesalers can. So play up the personal touch, get in where you fit in, close your deals, and make your money. Seacrest: Out!