Zillow to Buy and Sell Homes in 2 Markets

April 16, 2018 — 1:36 PM EDT

Zillow Group, Inc. (Z) is getting into the home flipping market, announcing that it will buy, fix up and resell properties in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

In a press release late last week, the digital real estate platform company announced that it will partner with West USA in Phoenix, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona & Nevada Properties in Phoenix and Las Vegas, and Coldwell Banker Premier Realty in Las Vegas to compare real estate agents' market valuations of sellers' homes with offers from Zillow and other investors. If Zillow purchases the home, it will repair and/or update it and then list it as soon as possible. The local real estate agent earns a commission on the deal by representing Zillow in the transaction.

[Looking to purchase a home? Check out Investopedia's mortgage calculator to determine how much you can afford.]

In addition to entering the real estate market as a flipper, the company announced that it is expanding its Instant Offers service in which sellers receive an offer from investors as well as an analysis of the market value of the home. The offer typically comes within two business days of providing information about the house's value. The service launched in May in Las Vegas and Orlando, and now Zillow is expanding it to Phoenix. Zillow said that, based on the results of the two markets it is already in, most sellers who request an Instant Offer sell their home through the service.

"Even in today's hot market, many sellers are stressed and searching for a more seamless way to sell their homes," said Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Wacksman in a press release announcing the new business initiative. "They want help, and while most prefer to sell their home on the open market with an agent, some value convenience and time over price. This is expected to be a vibrant line of business for us and for our partners in the real estate industry while providing homeowners with more choices and information."

Zillow also announced that it has hired Arik Prawer to head the new service as chief business development officer. Prawer will be in charge of business operations focused Instant Offers and the buying and selling of homes. Prior to joining Zillow Group, Prawer was most recently chief integration officer at Invitation Homes, a single-family rental owner and operator in the United States. Prawer spent five years prior to that serving in executive leadership roles at large real estate owners and operators in the United States, Zillow said in the release.