Zillow is making cash offers on houses using its ‘Zestimate’ home value tool

Initial cash offers based on Zestimates are only available in 20 cities

Zillow is using its “Zestimate” to make cash offers on houses.

The real estate listing website announced Thursday that its Zestimate -- Zillow’s home value estimation tool -- could be considered an initial cash offer on “eligible homes” in 20 U.S. cities.

The tool will be paired with the company’s Zillow Offers program, where people in select markets can sell their homes directly to the company.

“This exciting advancement demonstrates the confidence we have in the Zestimate and the lengths we are willing to go to make selling your home truly seamless and easy," Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

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“Zillow is transforming the way people sell and buy homes,” Wacksman added. “Presenting the Zestimate as a cash offer to qualifying homes up front will save time, reduce friction and provide greater transparency - getting us closer to our vision of helping customers transact with the click of a button."

Zillow announced its Zestimates can be considered an initial cash offer on eligible houses in 20 U.S. cities. (iStock)

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Homes that are eligible for Zillow’s initial cash offer using the Zestimate valuation will have the offer displayed at the top of their property information on the real estate website, according to the announcement.

However, the initial cash offer displayed is “before taxes and fees are factored in and is also subject to eligibility and accuracy of property information,” the announcement said.

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According to Zillow’s announcement, Zestimates on eligible homes can be considered an initial cash offering from Zillow in 20 major cities, including places in Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee, California, Texas, Nevada, Georgia and Minnesota.

Zillow said it plans to expand its service as its Zillow Offers grows.

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Zillow first launched its Zestimate tool in 2006. Today, the tool is being used to estimate the home value of almost 100 million homes. According to the announcement, it has a “nationwide median error rate for on-market homes of 1.9%.”

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The tool calculates home value using “data from public records, feeds from multiple listing services and brokerages,” the announcement said. Zestimates also use artificial intelligence such as computer vision and a deep-learning neural network to include information from photographs, according to Zillow.

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