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Zillow to Start Flipping Homes in California

Tech companies that use algorithms to make rapid offers on a large scale are growing players in the U.S. housing market.
December 19, 2018, 12pm PST | Elana Eden
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Andrew Khoury reports that the online real-estate marketplace Zillow is launching a home-buying program in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Zillow Offers uses an algorithm to make a preliminary offer on a property listing within two days, aiming to resell the home within 90 days—"faster than the traditional flip," Khoury notes. The program already operates in eight U.S. markets, including Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Denver.

Redfin, Opendoor, and Owning are also among the so-called iBuyer companies that buy homes rapidly and sometimes sight unseen, typically in exchange for a lower price and a higher commission. By one estimate, they could represent 10 percent of home sales nationwide by 2021.

For bigger iBuyers like Zillow, Khoury reports, the model is based on the scale and speed of transactions, rather than on earning the most possible on any particular property. Other companies, like Opendoor, have partnered with major builders to ensure that potential homebuyers can sell off their old homes.

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Published on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 in Los Angeles Times
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