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Zillow Is Trying To Unload 7,000 Houses After A Realtor's Viral Video Exposed Their Alleged Market Manipulation Scheme

(Bloomberg) - Zillow Group Inc. is looking to sell about 7,000 homes as it seeks to recover from a fumble in its high-tech home-flipping business.

The company is seeking roughly $2.8 billion for the houses, which are being pitched to institutional investors, according to people familiar with the matter. Zillow will likely sell the properties to a multitude of buyers rather than packaging them in a single transaction, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is private. 

A representative for Zillow didn’t immediately comment. 

The move to offload homes comes as Zillow seeks to recover from an operational stumble that saw it buy too many houses, with many now being listed for less than it paid.

I don't know what's more terrifying: that a billion dollar tech company can snatch up every morsel of real estate from sea to shining sea OR that a single TikTok can shut that shit down in the blink of an eye. Make no bones about it, Zillow would still be moving units largely unchecked if that first video didn't go mega-viral in September. Maybe down the line someone would've written an article about Zillow's business practices and it would have come out in the wash several billion dollars later, perhaps it was never a built to last scheme, but the first domino being a single TikTok is both hilarious and horrifying. It's hilarious because Sean Gotcher woke up one morning just pissed off enough to talk some shit and 45 days later brought a giant corporation to its knees. In the same vein, I find myself awestruck that all it took was one TikTok to halt the flow of billions of dollars. 

I'm not crying for Zillow, they'll be fine after they unload those 7,000 houses at $400,000 a pop. Especially since anyone who can buy a couple thousand houses at the drop of the hat will likely just turn around and do the same shit Zillow was accused of doing. But in terms of watching this play out: from video release to headline news of a fundamental shift in business practice to crying poor and blaming a miscalculation is a firm representation of the dystopian civilization we've entered. Because there wasn't a miscalculation in terms of how Zillow was going about buying these homes, utilizing their data points and reselling them at a markup they knew people could afford. The miscalculation was thinking they couldn't get caught, or, if they did get caught it wouldn't be by a loud enough voice to matter. Never underestimate the power of one well-articulated TikTok.