Zillow Offers: Good Deal or Bad Idea?

Every red-blooded American is familiar with Zillow, the home buying, selling, renting, leasing, and/or ogling-mansions-for-fun website. It can be an extremely helpful resource when looking for a new pad in particular. But with the recent addition of “Zillow offers” — available in 25 U.S. markets including Cincinnati as of late March 2021 — more sellers are asking what exactly is going on with these Zillow instant offers. How does it work? Can you get a good deal through the program? What fees does Zillow offer charge? These are important questions, so let’s dive into each one.

A red "For Sale" sign.

How Does Zillow Offers Work?

Zillow Offers is simply the direct buying arm of the Zillow internet empire. If you’re wondering what direct home buying is, the very basic answer is that direct buying is when a company buys your house from you without a realtor or real estate agent.

But not all direct buyers operate exactly the same. On one hand, you have reputable home buyers and those who will pay all of your costs, bring in a third-party title company, and generally make sure you’re apprised throughout the whole process. We might call these “all-inclusive home buyers.” On the other end of the spectrum, there are outright scammers, many of whom will put up those tacky signs you see on the sides of streets and near highways.

While we really don’t recommend doing business with companies who put up home buying signs, it’s probably true that not every single person who puts up a street sign is going to scam you out of your money. Likewise, not every “reputable” is also going to cover your costs or treat you right.

It’s in that middle ground that Zillow Offers seems to be operating. They may be a reputable company, but they’re also a very large one. Zillow instant offers may sound great, but you have to factor in a couple of things.

  1. A Zillow Cash Offer may not give you the most competitive price.
  2. You’re going to get hit with some fees.

What Fees Does Zillow Offer Charge?

A Zillow cash offer may be instant, but it isn’t free. You’ll pay fees before the process is over. Now, these are mostly all fees you’re going to pay if you sell through a real estate agent too, but you actually could avoid them by finding a direct buyer that doesn’t charge them. They do still exist! But more on that later. Say you trust Zillow and you really want to go with them. I get that. So are those fees worth it? Let’s take a look at what exactly they are so you can make an informed decision.

Closing Costs

Average Ohio closing costs in 2021 are expected to run around 2-3% of your home sale price. That’s not nothing! Again, you’ll pay this in the majority of selling scenarios, but not all. Just be aware of what that percentage will mean for your bottom line before signing anything with Zillow.

Selling Costs

Yup. Zillow Offers make you pay selling costs, unfortunately.

Repair Costs

If there’s anything wrong with your home, a Zillow cash offer will not help to cover those costs. This may not be a big deal if your home is in great shape and market-ready, but some pre-sale home renovation costs get insanely pricey.

Service Charge

Honestly, this one is a little frustrating. They say on their website that there isn’t a charge to get your Zillow cash offer, but admit that there are “fees associate with the offer.” While making sellers pay repair costs, selling costs, and closing costs is pretty standard fare for a lot of direct buyers (we cover ’em for you at UHS though… wink, wink), the high service charge that Zillow Offers reportedly charges is a bit of a slap in the face to home sellers. It kind of feels like you’re made to pay for the name at that point.

Can I Really Get a Good Deal By Letting Zillow Buy My House?

Maybe. Here’s how I see it from my vantage point: Zillow Offers straddles a line in the home buying world. They probably won’t be your best option when it comes to direct home buyers unless you legitimately cannot find anyone trustworthy to give you a cash offer and cover all of your fees. On the other side of things, Zillow Offers also isn’t set up to get you more money than a traditional listing will (although they do claim willingness to work with your real estate agent should you want to use one). It’s a hybrid, quick-sale machine with the built-in, socially perceived trust of a massive corporation. But they make you pay a bit for that safety net.

So Zillow Offers seems to function as a reasonably safe bet; one that is as unlikely to knock your socks off as it is to leave you feeling abjectly cheated.

If you need a fair, cash offer in Central Ohio, give us a call at Upward Homes. We won’t run you through a bunch of hoops or tack on any hidden fees. We’re a husband and wife renovation team that has been working to revitalize Columbus area neighborhoods for over 15 years, and we truly care about finding win-win home sale solutions.

Have you received a Zillow instant offer or even sold? We’d love to hear about your experience.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions about your selling options.

Selling a House During the Pandemic

If you’re wondering what is the best method for selling a house during the pandemic, Upward Home Solutions has a service to help you.

These are stressful and uncertain times. First and foremost, I’d like to extend our best to you and your family. Our top priority is promoting public health and safety. Together, we hope you are taking the necessary precautions along with us to stop the coronavirus in its tracks. 

selling a house during the pandemic of COVID 19

Unfortunately, the fear and fallout surrounding this pandemic are not confined even to our physical wellbeing. For many in our community, this situation is also a financial concern.

Many homeowners are realizing that finding a realtor and listing on the MLS has never been more difficult than it is right now.  When you list with a realtor, you are contracting with someone to help you sell your home. Upward Home Solutions works differently. We want to buy your home. We will give you cash for my house.

For homeowners, selling a house during the pandemic presents some unique problems. We buy your house.

Here’s some good news for homeowners:

Home prices remain strong despite a very volatile stock market. Equity in homes has never been higher. Selling real estate is still a viable option, despite it being difficult to find a realtor and go through that whole process for selling a house during the pandemic.

At Upward Home Solutions, we believe that now, more than ever, the first priority of any business should be to lift up its community. We understand the constraints that a tough market can put on a homeowner’s wallet. So if our services can help you with selling a house during the pandemic, we want to hear from you. 

selling a house during the pandemic is tough

What is the process of selling a house during the pandemic?

If you were counting on selling in the near future, you might be wondering how in the world to do that now. Many things have changed about selling a house during the pandemic.

Upward Home Solutions remains in a unique position to buy your home quickly. We can streamline the process and put cash in your hand when you really need it—no waiting on bank approvals or inspections. We’ll close on your timeline, in as little as a couple weeks. 

We are buying houses, and people are still selling a house during the pandemic. New procedures keep you and your family safe while eliminating stress and uncertainty.

Rental Properties

Many landlords have been watching governmental developments. Those relying on rental property income for their own bills may have trouble with the moratorium on evictions. The laws seem to change weekly. It’s a headache keeping up with all the new rules.

We get it. Selling a house during the pandemic is a tricky situation.

If you are a landlord and you’re wondering about selling a house during the pandemic, UHS is in a position to purchase property regardless of occupancy or lease status. We will assume your risk and all that goes with it. 

How we are adjusting our services for selling a house during the pandemic:

As mentioned above, health and safety remain priority number one. Thankfully, UHS is able to limit and do away with the need for close proximity as we fight the spread of this virus. When selling a house during the pandemic, you will want to be extra careful.

If you’re curious about your options with UHS, we’ll get you on a phone call with Amy, who can answer any questions you have and outline our process in more detail to help you with selling a house during the pandemic.

greetings when selling a house during the pandemic

After a quick greeting with Tim at your appointment, don’t be offended when he keeps his distance. We’re being very cognizant of health protocol. Tim’s car will remain stocked with hand sanitizer and wipes, and you have our word that he won’t go on any appointments if he or anyone in his family is feeling unwell. Tim always wears a face mask to every appointment.

Tim will take photos and videos of your house so that we can assess value without sending anyone else to walk through your property. However, we are also offering two alternatives to in-person appointments.

  1. We can make “curb offers” where we don’t even have to come into the house. 
  2. Homeowners can leave keys for us in a lockbox and we can go through when no one else is there. 
Tim Smith headshot photo
Tim Smith

As always, meeting with Tim and getting an offer doesn’t mean you have to sell your house to us. We would never pressure you into doing something that isn’t right for you. Our business has always been based on trust. Meeting with Tim simply gives you one more option that you didn’t have before for selling a house during the pandemic.

If you need a fast house sale, we can finish the purchase of your house in less than a week.

Homeowners do not even have to show up in person to the closing. 

We use digital signatures for the contracts and for closing documents. Recently, Upward Home Solutions purchased a home from a man who lives in the Caribbean. We never met the homeowner in person. Nonetheless, we were able to use a notary in his home country, digital signatures, and a wire transfer for payment.

At the end of the day, selling a house from a remote location is always difficult. Selling a house during the pandemic is even harder. Fortunately, Upward Home Solutions is an expert in non-traditional sales.

We’re In This Together

Stay safe, stay strong. If there’s anything our business can do to help you, please let us know. Selling a house during the pandemic is a unique situation. Nonetheless, we have many ways to help.

We built Upward Home Solutions on a belief in community and on finding ways to serve ours. If we can help in your situation, please let us know.    

Amy is ready to answer your call. She will explain our process for selling a house during the pandemic.


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The Team at Upward Home Solutions

More About Upward Home Solutions

Upward Home Solutions has been helping homeowners since 2005. We have bought hundreds of houses in Columbus, OH. If you want to sell my house fast, there’s no company with more experience and professionalism. UHS is Central Ohio’s #1 company for buying homes from people who are selling a house during the pandemic.

Maybe you have seen the “we buy houses” signs. That’s not us. Our business is built on relationships. Our best source of houses comes from referrals.

You can read reviews from happy clients.

Selling a house during the pandemic is safest with Upward Home Solutions. So if you’re wondering, How can I sell my house online? we’re here to help.

We specialize in difficult situations. Realtors are wonderful, but they aren’t right for everyone. When selling a house during the pandemic, selling to cash buyers like Upward Home Solutions may be your best option.

My situation is unique

We work with homeowners in unique situations everyday. Tim S is amazing when with working with families or couples who disagree on what should be done with the home.

UHS buys inherited houses that are in probate. We can help with the transition to senior care or a nursing home.

If you owe taxes or have liens, we can help. If your house is messy, you can take what you want and leave the rest. You can sell my house as is fast.

Upward Home Solutions can make selling a house during the pandemic less stressful, emotionally, and financially.

Find A House, Get $$: Our Referral Program

Find A House, Get $$: Our Referral Program

We pay you for each and every referral that leads to a sale.

Upward Home Solutions is looking for people who want to partner with us in our mission to revitalize neighborhoods, one house at a time.

Know of a house in need of a fix-up? You don’t have to own it and it’s easy to submit a lead. Click here to get started.

Columbus’ Own Fixer Upper Couple

Have you ever wondered where the Fixer Upper power couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, find the houses for their business? They have a network of people who are constantly searching for their next flip. Of all those homes, they then choose one that has good bones, lots of potential, and a fair asking price.

The Owners, Tim and Katie

Tim and Katie are the fixer-upper power-couple in Central Ohio, and they’re looking for their next renovation. But they need help.

our referral program is the best
Tim and Katie

Do You Know A House That Fits These Descriptions?

**Do you know of a vacant house in your neighborhood? The windows are always dark, no one shovels the sidewalk in the winter or mows the grass in the summer. You don’t remember how long it’s been since you’ve seen a car in the driveway.

**Maybe you have an uncle who is retired. He lives alone and hasn’t done much to the house since he bought it 30 years ago. There is wallpaper in the hall and a pink sink in the bathroom. Your uncle has been talking about how nice it would be to buy a condo in Florida and be a beach bum, but something is holding him back.

**Or perhaps you have a good friend who owns a rental house. At girl’s night out, she was talking again about how freakin’ hard it is to find a good tenant. Her husband hates spending weekends doing handyman jobs at the property and it’s stressing them both out. They like the income, but there’s just too much going on right now to handle it all.

We want to hear from you!

Upward Home Solutions has services to fit every need.

We buy houses as-is so people don’t have to fix them up. Even better, they can take the stuff they want and leave the rest.

Our company uses technology to help people who have mobility issues or live out of state. We recently bought a house from a man who lives in the Caribbean. He did not have to travel back to Ohio for the closing, saving him time and money. Moreover, our title agency will come to you, even if that means driving to meet you at a nursing home.

We recently had one elderly couple who were ready to move on to the next stage in their lives. We were thrilled to be able to offer a win-win solution, and check out the amazing transformation we put their house through!

And many of these amazing properties come to us from our network of friends, Realtors, and through social media.

How It Works

1. Send Us The Info

You give us as much info as you know about the house. At a minimum, we need a property address. If you know the name, phone number, and/or email address for the owner, that’s even better. But don’t worry if you don’t have the owner’s contact information. We can figure that out.

Email information to Upward@614Houses.com

Call us at 614-705-8066

Submit the information on this form.

Be sure to include your contact information because we will tag the lead with your name. That’s how we know who to pay!

2. We will take it from there.

We’ll contact the homeowner. If the homeowner is interested in selling, we will set up an appointment to visit the house and make an offer.

3. If they accept the offer, Upward Home Solutions will give you $100.

You get your choice of a Cameron Mitchell gift card, an Amazon gift card, or cash. We will get in touch with you and ask you how you would like to receive your gift.

It’s that easy! One email or phone call is all it takes to get the process started.

cash for your referral

Check out our Referral Program FAQ or give us a call if you have any further questions!