I read a few minutes ago that Zillow is rolling out a pilot program called, “Zillow Instant Offer.” I’m not sure if it’s disgust or dismay but this just feels wrong. According to Zillow, this program is targeted at people who aren’t interested in the traditional selling process. It is geared towards all-cash purchases from investors. Presumably, it is geared towards sketchy flippers and slum lords who aren’t interested in disclosing material information as well.
In it’s press release, Zillow says that, “People today expect speed and convenience” when it comes time to make a purchase. There is a reason to move slowly on such a major transaction: due diligence. It takes real time to make sure that a house doesn’t have any defects that a buyer just can’t live with. It takes time to negotiate repairs between both parties. But, and here’s the really important part, it takes time to decide what house you want to buy. You aren’t buying a tent that you can pick up and move anywhere. You are buying dreams and future memories.
Furthermore, offers are only coming from investors who can pay cash. Will this increase the disparity between the haves and have nots? Will this eliminate first time home buyers because they’re directly competing with all cash investors?
There shouldn’t be a “Buy Now” button next to home. It was Thomas Paine who wrote, “That which we gain to cheap we esteem too lightly.” Finding your forever home – or even your “for the next 15 years” home – shouldn’t be easy. It shouldn’t be an impulsive buy. It should be carefully thought out.