Zillow Attempting to “Streamline” Home Buying By Offering Title Insurance

An aerial shot of an upper class neighborhood in Florida.

If you work in the real estate industry, you’ve probably heard of a little company called Zillow. A favorite for casual home browsing, Zillow is quickly becoming its own real estate service. In addition to helping buyers search for homes, it now helps them sell their old home quickly, apply for a mortgage, and might even be offering its own title insurance and escrow services too.

Here’s what you need to know about all of Zillow’s ventures into the real estate industry.

From Digital Giant to House Flipper

For most of its existence, Zillow has operated as a digital media company that allowed home buyers to casually search homes for sale in any given area. Buyers could access all kinds of housing data on Zillow, including price, square footage, special features, neighborhood information, and more.

In 2018, however, Zillow decided to take it a step further by actually helping users sell their homes. They launched their home-selling program, Zillow Offers, in April of that year.

While they don’t explicitly claim to “flip” homes, that’s essentially what they’re doing. Users can quickly sell their home to Zillow for a cash offer, and Zillow will then make necessary repairs and sell the home for a profit.

In addition to selling homes, Zillow also offers another service to aid buyers in securing their dream home.

Zillow: Your New Mortgage Lender

Zillow only keeps adding to its real estate empire. In August 2018, Zillow acquired brokerage Mortgage Lenders of America. Earlier this year, it unrolled its newest offering: mortgage lending.

Rebranded as Zillow Home Loans, this service is expected to be at the heart of Zillow’s real estate services in the years to come.

So, now Zillow is an agent and a mortgage lender. What’s next?

Title Insurance

Really? Well, according to their website, Zillow’s goal is to make the home-buying (and -selling) process easier for consumers. This game plan could include helping buyers with title insurance in the very near future.

While it hasn’t yet been confirmed, Zillow is currently searching for a number of title insurance specialists. This hints that the digital giant is poised to add “title insurance agent” to their long list of professions.

What Does this Mean for Agents?

Some real estate agents, and other professionals within the industry, are worried that Zillow is trying to displace them. However, as convenient as Zillow’s services may be, they will never be able to replace the role of a true real estate agent—or a title insurance agent.

Agents are people, so they hold a number of advantages over a digital company. As experts in their field—whether its buying and selling homes or title insurance—they also have a level of expertise that’s difficult to communicate online.

Real Estate—and Title Insurance—is Constantly Evolving

That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of the latest trends. As a title insurance agency, we work with professionals from every side of the real estate transaction. We know the ins and outs of this industry, and we’d like to share our knowledge with you.

Have a question about title insurance in North Carolina? Need someone to discuss the current state of the market with? Please don’t hesitate to contact Tryon Title.