PropTech roundup #6: Zillow gives iBuyer model the thumbs up

Adriaan Grové
5 min readApr 13, 2018


Zillow Part 1: Owning the transaction

There has been smart moves from the behemoth Zillow over the years in getting more integrated in the whole real estate experience. Case in point, Dotloop.

They bought Dotloop (deal management system) in 2015 for $108 million. It now supports over one-third of the residential real estate transactions in the U.S. — they’ve also integrated with all MLS’s. That… is control! (this is where portals are moving — trying to be part of the whole transaction and buying up promising businesses and challengers like Trulia).

Now imagine NAR used their $180 million from their walled RPR/Upstream project (Brad Inman says they should shut it down) and invested in Dotloop — picture would have looked different today. Building walls won’t help you grow. Or maybe it will, in the case of KW who ‘likes to take control back of their data’?

More reading: Zillow Shareholder letter.

Zillow part 2: Become an iBuyer

Both Zillow and Redfin has introduced BETA iBuyer programs last year, based on the success OpenDoor, OfferPad and Knock had with their instant home sales model.

It seems Zillow is sold on the idea, and in a statement yesterday said that they will expand their instant offer program into Phoenix and begin buying and selling homes with its own money (plus fixing them up). This is major.

Cutting out agents? Not exactly, surprisingly 90% choose a Zillow premier agents (based on CMA’s submitted) for the 1/3 of sellers who requested an instant offer. Zillow is taking a different approach, and working with agents and making their platform central to the transaction. They give consumers a choice: discounted instant sale, or premier agent at a potentially higher price.

Media houses buying into new real estate models

That’s a whole lotta money to power a real estate brand… Interesting how digital media houses get more involved in portals and new real estate models. Banner space obviously doesn’t pay anymore. But seriously it doesn’t, everyone knows that is how Google makes the bulk of its money (via Adwords). Butterfly effect

Hybrid agency Leadhome is growing

When I first met Leadhome everyone in the company sat around a coffee table to discuss technology trends. Not so much anymore, with a growing team and expansion into Durban and Cape Town, and now claiming to be the 7th largest agency in the booming economic hub of Gauteng, hovering around 1,000 active mandates. Exciting times for them. We are proud to be part of their journey as technology provider, and other new hybrid and online models launching in South Africa.

Smaller teams = better focus?

I’ve spoken about the rise of “super agents” and “super teams”. Technology is leveling the playing field for estate agents, you are the brand, and if you have a good name out there, the technology will simply compliment your efforts. I have huge respect for agents that take the leap to start their own businesses, it is not easy. Running a fully independent company, there are many challenges and if you lose focus, the business won’t work. So it is good to see new real estate agencies launching — our team recently helped Club Real Estate and Bettercall Properties. Does smaller teams have better focus due to less admin etc? Many small agencies and individual agents are some of the top producers in their area.

On the other side of the scale you have large national franchise groups that also need to increase their value offering to franchises and agents, and have to invest in technology. Use established products or develop your own bespoke software? We make it a bit simpler for them with our 3 core products that expose API’s and can for instance be used to integrate Listing Syndication into a bespoke listing management platform.

Hello Base

We’ve done it, after a year of hard work we’ve launched our new Real Estate CRM platform, called Base. It will replaces our existing OMS system used by thousands of estate agents in South Africa and Namibia.

We’ve worked really hard on this and looking forward to expand the functionality, fine tune the system, and provide agents with an alternative, full independent platform.

Interestingly this new system has been developed by our fully remote team, with me focusing on the system architecture (I did the original OMS coding back in the day when dial-up lines were still used). For me, it was good to move into a more product design role: I could research all available real estate CRM products, met with clients to understand their challenges and worked relentlessly with our Base lead developer to come up with this initial version. We also had some very patient clients like Only Realty who helped us tremendously in achieving this goal — thank you.

Base is the 1st of 3 major product announcements planned for the 1st half of 2018. Thank you to all the clever people in Entegral, and all our loyal clients for your patience & ongoing support & feedback. We love what we do, and the biggest compliment we can get, is to see your business grow.



Adriaan Grové

I’m the CEO of, I love working with my remote team to solve real estate problems. Questions everything.