Zillow’s new president and other promotions show it’s serious about Instant Offers

By June 12, 2018 No Comments
Zillow’s new president and other promotions show it’s serious about Instant Offers

Zillow Group has handed out some new titles for key executives. It has appointed Jeremy Wacksman as president of the Zillow brand, and Arik Prawer as president of Zillow Group’s Homes division, both in key roles overseeing the growth of Zillow Instant Offers, the portal’s year-old program to give homesellers an instant cash offer on their home, which they can accept or refuse in favor of listing on the open market with a Zillow Premier Agent.

And executive Greg Schwartz has been promoted from Zillow Group’s chief business officer to president of its Media and Marketplaces division, overseeing “Premier Agent, real estate, rental, mortgage and new construction marketplaces.” Schwartz will become even more active in developing relationships in these sectors, according to a Zillow spokesperson.

Wacksman will oversee strategy, product, engineering and customer engagement for Zillow Instant Offers along with Zillow Group marketing. Prawer will oversee Zillow’s buying, renovating and selling of homes through Instant Offers in his role as president of the Homes division. All three are at the president level within the Zillow Group.

New Zillow President Jeremy Wacksman | Credit: Zillow

Zillow didn’t post a press release announcing the news, which was first published in a GeekWire article. But the company updated its leadership team’s web page to reflect the promotions.

“This isn’t some big reorganization. It’s expanding and making more formal the definitions [of what the three executives have already been doing],” Wacksman told Inman.

Zillow shocked the industry and Wall Street in April by announcing that it would expand Instant Offers into a whole new line of business: buying and reselling homes directly with its own money, a completely new strategy for a company that to-date has positioned itself as a media or tech giant, not a real estate iBuyer (the nickname coined for the broader category of startups that provide homesellers with instant cash offers online).

The move caused Zillow’s stock price to briefly plummet as investors worried about potential risks with Zillow starting to add expensive assets — physical houses — onto its balance sheet, in its quest to not just facilitate real estate transactions, but become part of them.

Arik Prawler

Arik Prawer | President of Zillow Homes. Credit: Zillow

However, some tech analysts cheered Zillow’s move as a major new potential force of disruption for an industry whose transaction fundamentals have remained more or less the same despite the internet and new technologies.

The move also caused blowback from iBuyer competitors including Opendoor and even Zillow’s former Instant Offers partner Offerpad, which severed its business relationship with Zillow as a result (Offerpad previously was one of the investors that made cash offers to homesellers through Zillow Instant Offers).

The new series of promotions reflect Zillow’s commitment to the growth of Instant Offers and show that the company views it as a major strategic initiative and future area of business growth.

Wacksman’s role as president is limited to Zillow, not encompassing the rest of the Zillow Group, which includes Trulia, StreetEasy and other brands. Wacksman has served as Zillow’s chief marketing officer since 2015 and has been at Zillow since 2009.

Greg Schwartz, President of Zillow Media and Marketplaces | Credit: Zillow

Before joining Zillow in 2009, Wacksman worked for Microsoft on Xbox Live and consumer mobile efforts. Along with his role at Zillow, Wacksman now serves as a board member for the dog-sitting platform and an adviser to GoFundMe and Dollar Shave Club, according to his LinkedIn page.

Prawer only joined Zillow this year as chief business development officer working with Instant Offers. Prawer came from a background in single-family rentals. His new title as president of the Homes division reflects his focus on Zillow’s footprint in physical real estate.

Schwartz joined Zillow in 2007 from CNNMoney and previously worked at Yahoo and DoubleClick.

Email Emma Hinchliffe

Updated after publication to clarify that all three executives are president-level at the Zillow Group. 

The views and opinions of authors expressed in this publication do not necessarily state or reflect those of WFG National Title, its affiliated companies, or their respective management or personnel.

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