In a move that removes the showing agent from the home buying experience, Zillow is testing a program in Phoenix, Arizona that allows prospective home buyers to tour homes by themselves. The self-guided home tours will be branded as the “Tour it Now” function within the ubiquitous app.
Back in April of 2018, Zillow Offers officially launched and Zillow entered into the home buying market. Homeowners who want to sell their property without the headache of a traditional agent-led home sale can request an offer directly from Zillow. If the offer is accepted, Zillow will renovate and resell the property in 90 days or less.
Essentially, Zillow is flipping homes on a massive scale.
According to their recent earnings forecast, Zillow plans to purchase 5,000 homes per month in order to execute its long-term growth strategy. With 60,000 homes being purchased a year, you have to design an efficient system of selling to make it work.
Tour it Now Makes Access Easy
A bottleneck in the traditional home buying process is touring homes. You talk to your agent, the agent talks to the seller, the seller sorts it out with their schedule, then there is back-and-forth until a day and time are set.
With Zillow’s Tour it Now function, the home buyer can simply click the Tour it Now button in the app and accesses the home at their convenience. The Tour it Now function will only be available for homes owned by Zillow. Since Zillow is the home seller, they have the luxury of showing their homes more frequently.
Here is an example of a home owned by Zillow with the Tour it Now button seen at the bottom of the screenshot. Note the “Owned by Zillow” label over the top photo.
Safety and the protection of property is an obvious concern when visitors run through a home without an agent or home seller present. According to Inman, Zillow plans to fit out the homes with motion sensors that capture still images. If any sensors detect movement at a time when nobody should be in the home, the Tour it Now function is disabled and the property will be flagged for investigation.
Another safeguard is limiting Tour it Now available to only be between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm. If someone is lingering too long, that’s sort of sketchy, right? Any tour lasting over two hours also alerts the Zillow team.
Zillow isn’t the first company to offer easy access into homes for sale. Opendoor allows visitors of its home to tour between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm daily without an appointment. You simply use their app to unlock the front door. Zillow self-guided home tours are a direct response to this convenient Opendoor feature. The easier it is to tour a home, the more buyers see the home, which leads to more offers.
This test program is only available on a few homes in Phoenix that Zillow owns. More homes owned by Zillow in Phoenix will have the Tour it Now feature available in the near future.
Have you used Zillow’s Tour it Now or the Opendoor Access a Home functions? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.