Zillow Should Treat iBuying as a Marketing Expense

iBuying is a Marketing Expense

In theory, Zillow’s Homes Segment could make money flipping residential real estate. Zillow leadership claims each deal will one day make a small profit according to a preferred metric that omits an actual cost (interest) and all of the overhead. However the target per-deal profit appears uncertain due to structural profit limitations on flipping homes, and is dwarfed by the overhead of building, operating, and marketing the iBuying platform. Zillow Offers, the public brand of

Zillow’s iBuyer Activities

Zillow Q2 2019 Homes Economics Exhibit

Zillow has an iBuying operation. Zillow is also a public company. Therefore they regularly disclose their financial results to the investing public. Their Shareholder Letter and Supplemental Financial Tables contain interesting details about their flipping activities. (Note: There are other iBuyers who are private companies, and the expense analysis likely applies to them too.) Overall iBuying Revenue For the 2nd quarter of 2019, Zillow’s Homes Segment (iBuying) reported revenue of $248.9 million and a loss

The iBuyer is the Newest Type of Flipper

Flipping Houses

The practice of buying and quickly reselling real estate is well established. It generally goes by the name of “flipping.” There are different business models under the broad umbrella of flipping, with different risk and return profiles. At one end of the spectrum Wholesalers try to buy super cheap by finding private deals. At the other end of the spectrum Renovators focus on adding value to a property through construction. Despite the easy profits shown

180 Whitney Street, Hartford’s West End

180 Whitney Street, Hartford

Don’t miss this well-maintained and spacious three-unit building in the West End of Hartford. Each floor is a separate unit, each with their own power, gas, hot water, and heating systems. Live in one and have your tenants pay cover your expenses or operate it as an investment property! The first floor has a living room with fireplace, dining room, and den overlooking the covered front porch. The kitchen includes a pantry, and there are

155-157 Beacon St, Hartford’s West End

155-157 Beacon Street is a West End brick multi-family looking for its next owner. The floor plans of the first and second floors are similar, currently set up as 2 bedroom apartments with large living rooms, formal dining rooms, and a kitchen with pantry and laundry hook-ups. The bedrooms are both oversized, with a full bathroom between them, and the front-to-back center hall separating them from the living space. The units have hardwood floors throughout.