Sell House to Zillow? Our Experience and Reasoning
The idea to sell a house to Zillow might be totally foreign if you’ve never done it. And while it may not be the best option for everyone, I thought I’d share our experiences.
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Quote of the day: “A positive attitude can really make dreams come true.” David Bailey
Moving to a new home is one of the 10 most stressful things in life. And we should know. We had just downsized 4 years ago to the townhouse you see in these photos. So when we were talking about moving again so soon, the whole idea of making it easier was top on the list.
How do you even think to sell a house to Zillow? Well, first my friend, Sherry, posted about selling her house through Open Door last year. There are a handful of companies that will buy your house if you live in a hot market.
And once this idea came about, Rob decided to do some research and see if it would be smart.
First let me start with some history of selling our previous house. You can see the photos of that house, if you’re interested. We only decided to sell the house on Reed Ct because it was so big. My ex and I had purchased it 4 years before our divorce in 2002 because my grandma was supposed to come live with us. Long story…
Needless to say, it was a lot of house (along with an unfinished basement) for two people . So the idea of downsizing was very appealing.
Long story short, we ended up having to sell it three times. The first two times it fell through because of various reasons on the buyers part. And it was stressful on the cats to be locked in the basement every time there was a showing. AND there were lots of showings.
Let me also say it was stressful on me when there were showings. If you haven’t sold a house in awhile, then let me refresh your memory. I’d get a text saying there would be a showing that day from 1-2 pm. So of course you had to pick up and vacuum before the showing (along with herding the cats to the basement). Then I had to leave the house for that hour. Because who knows when they’d really come during that time period. A couple of times we had to stop eating dinner and leave. It’s not convenient.
Why We Decided to Sell the House to Zillow
So why the idea to sell your house to Zillow (or any other third party)? For us it boiled down to the convenience and the certainty of the sale.
Everyone will ask if the price was what you would get if you sold it through a realtor. Honestly, it’s a VERY competitive offer. We figure we might have been able to get maybe $5,000 more the conventional way. But that’s not for sure, you realize.
One thing to consider, in our townhouse, there was no easy place to lock the kitties away while people traipsed through, if we tried to sell the conventional way. Along with a couple of other important details like the fact that my mom had a house to sell also. AND we were moving out of state. That means we were limited in time for finding a place in another state.
Just so you know, my mom sold her house through Zillow also. We basically figured out which company we wanted to go through, and then let her tag along. The logistics of selling two houses at the same time and moving out of state could have been WAY too crazy the conventional way.
Let’s Talk Costs & Details
Most of our friends knew nothing about this kind of service. Granted, it’s only available in certain cities across the US. How would you know if it’s available to you? When you check your address on Zillow, it would say “Get a Zillow offer” under the address.
Yes, the third party charges a fee. It’s different for each service. Our Zillow fee was 5.5% while Open Door was 8%. Now before you gasp at the amount, just think that most real estate commissions are between 4-7%.
We did have Open Door give us an offer too. In actuality, Open Door offered us more for our townhouse outright, but with their service charge and improvement charges, we would have netted less.
Improvement charges? So that’s basically the inspection. You don’t have an inspection service come to your place. But Zillow or Open Door has one of their employees come out to evaluate your place. And then they give you a very fair evaluation.
For example, for my mom’s place they needed to update the paint inside along with ALL of the flooring. They can do these updates for a much lower cost because of the economy of scales as a huge company. Just think if you had to haggle these issues with the new buyers.
Pros and Cons to Sell a House to Zillow
Sure, I’ve listed many of these items in the body of the post, but I thought it might be easier to bullet point them here too.
1-Once Zillow offers you their price, they will NOT back out except if structural issues come to light.
2-They can close and finish the transaction from as fast as 7 days to as long as 60 days. You can name the date you want to close the transaction.
3-You don’t have showings or open houses where you have to be out of your house. And therefore, you don’t have to be cleaning it all the time.
4-Once their inspection is done, you don’t have to do the repairs. Zillow is planning on doing it all themselves.
5- We were able to stay in the house for 3 days after the closing. Sure, they kept a deposit until after we left, but then we got that back.
6-There is no appraisal service needed. While our previous house had no issues with the appraisal value, I know this can be a hiccup for some sales.
1-You don’t get to use your favorite realtor. I always LOVE to support my friends and small businesses. But this is one time that logistics won out.
2-There is no haggling or bidding wars over the price. While I happen to like this aspect, I know many people enjoy the back and forth to get more money.
3-Between the time you get the offer and time you close on it, if the market goes up, you don’t benefit from the increase. Then again, the opposite is true too. If the market goes down, you aren’t docked that cost.
I’m sorry some of these photos seem blurry. I can’t figure out why as I took them from the Zillow site. If you’d like to see them on Zillow, here is the link.
Of course there’s been many times I’ve showed our place as we’ve decorated it or “Jeanified” it (my made up word for having our neighbor, Jean, help us remodel it).
There was the time I hired an online decorator to help with our living room. Then there were the entry way and kitchen projects in 2017. Along with some more kitchen and outdoor projects in 2018. I also recorded a video of our place right before we moved out.
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