Zillow launches buyer agreement for home tours

Over the years, Zillow has made it clear that it wants to help consumers with all aspects of their homebuying journey. Through the terms of the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) commission lawsuit settlement agreement Zillow is now getting into buyer representation agreements.

Under the terms of NAR’s settlement agreement, agents will have to have a written agreement with a client in order to work with them as a buyer broker. The trade group recently clarified that these agreements must be signed prior to the agent taking a buyer on a home tour.

On Tuesday, Zillow announced that it will be offering a nonexclusive contract for buyers and agents to use for home tours ahead of the rule changes being implemented in July.

In a blog post, Zillow Group’s chief industry development officer, Errol Samuelson, wrote that buyer agreements can “provide transparency, promote open conversation, and foster alignment between the two parties.”

“However, insisting that a buyer sign an exclusive, long-term agreement with an agent, perhaps before even meeting the agent, feels premature. That’s why Zillow has created a non-exclusive touring agreement, and we’re making it available for use to the entire residential real estate industry,” Samuelson added.

According to the blog post, Zillow is not required to offer consumer-facing agreements by the terms of NAR’s settlement agreement. But Samuelson wrote that Zillow views this as “an opportunity to provide tools for the industry to fulfill these requirements in a way that puts the consumer first.”

The agreements created by Zillow are nonexclusive and have a limited duration for the initial tours conducted by the agent with a prospective buyer. The agreements expire after seven days, only cover touring activities and do not require compensation or exclusivity.

“Buyer agreements typically outline exactly what an agent will do for a client. However, requiring a long-term exclusive agreement with a single professional, before the home buyer has an opportunity to meet with multiple agents or sufficient time to decide to work with this agent, negatively impacts the consumer experience,” Samuelson wrote. “To put it simply, most people want to date before becoming exclusive.”

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