Zillow Adds Rentals

Today Zillow announced the addition of rental listings and search to their arsenal of tools for consumers. Now anyone can list a home for rent, and Zillow users can now search both rental homes and homes for sale in their area. Consumers can do a map search by monthly payment for both for-sale and for-rent homes simultaneously based on a monthly payment they can afford.

According to a recent Harris poll, one in four people who plan to move in the next three years say they will search for both homes for rent and homes for sale. This may be a function of the current economy. Sellers may choose to rent their homes now, rather than sell at a lower price than they could have received a few years ago. Conversely, these same home owners may choose to rent their next home when they move if they can not sell their home now.

Zillow is launching a new “rent vs. buy” comparison search that allows consumers to use a “monthly payment” filter to calculate what they can afford to purchase using the current day’s local mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage. Zillow already has a massive amount of real-time data on mortgage rates built into their “Mortgage Market” feature that they can draw from.

Zillow rental example

Zillow plans to offer landlords and agents a Featured Listing rate of $9.95 for 180 days, whether it is a listing for sale or for rent. Featured Listings can include unlimited photos and links to outside websites. With Zillow’s ZIP code, neighborhood, monthly payment, and map search functionality, I imagine Zillow will give even free Craigslist some serious competition.

9 thoughts on “Zillow Adds Rentals

  1. Pingback: Top 10 real estate posts of the day for 12/15/2009 : Tempe real estate and free home search

  2. “Zillow plans to offer landlords and agents a Featured Listing rate of $9.95 for 180 days”

    Because you have to pay I believe this service will be futile. With CraigsList being FREE consumers will continue to place their rentals there.

    Jim, not sure if you remember what happened to HouseValues.com now currently LEDR. Housevalues would give you a free home value analysis, HOWEVER, you would get kicked to an Agent in your service area. It worked for awhile then the advent of Zillow. Zillow gave the same info but did NOT have an Agent contact you. It was the final dagger to House Values business model.

    Consumers are far to saavy and they know CraigsList for rentals works combined with a FOR RENT sign in front of their home. They know placing a FOR RENT ad in the newspaper is useless along with their car for sale ad. CraigsList has even damaged severely AutoTrader.com.

    Remember Zillow is known quite well here in the PNW but when I travel home to Nevada and Arizona its not. As long as Zillow charges for this service they will meet the same fate as all the others.

  3. Ray –

    You could be right and this feature might not take off.

    On the other hand, Zillow is offering a lot of features and exposure for ten bucks. Many landlords already pay about that that to have the Pro version of Postlets or some other service format rental listings for Craigslist and syndicate them. Charging for rental listings should also minimize the potential for scams that landlords are fighting on Craigslist as well. In most areas Craigslist is still free to list rentals, but it’s scrolling non-map based format is pretty lame. I think the competition with Craigslist and other rental websites is probably good for the consumer and they may even actually prefer it.

    I remember the HouseValues model well. I was a HouseValues agent and paid for their service and leads for a long time. I agree there were some major flaws in their business model. However, I’m not sure this rental listing function on Zillow compares well to that. This is a consumer-driven product that does not have to have an agent contact you unless you want them to.

    I guess time will tell if this business model and format succeeds or not. I suspect most landlords and agents will continue to post rentals on Craigslist as well. That is, as long as they getting traffic and converting them to tenants.

  4. Oh I agree 10.00 for 6 months is a heck of a deal for what you get but I think they should have offered this free for the 1st few years.

    We use Zillow for search on our website because its FREE. Realtor.com as well because its FREE. We also like these guys: http://www.eppraisal.com/home-values.mvc because they are FREE.

    In the beginning we gave FREE listings to everyone and we may resume doing this again at some point. Once people know you have a great product they will use you. However, the minimal amount of money they will make from this 9.95 makes me believe it should just be FREE till they get a sizeable amount of Rentals in their database.

  5. Well, I would love it to be free too. 🙂

    But I guess Zillow has decided that the value is there and they will get enough takers right out of the gate to be able to charge right from launch. I guess we’ll see if they get enough critical mass to make it work.

  6. Zillow is fast becoming my favorite on line tool for Real Estate. An hour after you post to craigslist you’re on page three and they only let you post once a day. The comparison to a purchase is brilliant.

    Ray, you are also forgetting that the search for the renter is free. The land lord pays and I think a land lord who does pay will be a better person for that.

    It makes a lot of sense to have a controlled listing format.

  7. I just checked out Zillow’s “for rent” feature and I have to say I think this is a great addition. I think its a lot more friendly than Craig’s list with the map features and photos and I bet the demographics will be different between CL and Zillow too.

  8. I think this could potentially be a good thing, especially if they create a consitant feed directly from MLS rentals. At this point there are not enough rentals listed to make an realistic assumptions. It’s still in the creation phase. I think it can be a good thing if enough people contribute.

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