What! Zillow Rental Manager is Charging for Listings?

Listing your rental on websites like Craigslist, Realtor.com, Padmapper, Zumpand previously, Zillow, has been a free service for landlords and agents. Only in broker-dominated markets, such as New York City, would you see a paywall where a landlord would be charged a fee to list their vacant rental property.

Zillow is changing the landscape. Here are some details on the evolution of Zillow Rental Manager.

Why is Zillow charging me to list my rental?

After experiencing over 10 years of growth, the buy-sell market is slowing down. Zillow's revenue and growth has been on the buy-sell market, and this slowdown is making them consider alternative ways to make money. Renter-occupied households make up 36% of the housing market, according to the Census Bureau. This is a huge opportunity.

Rental listings also require quite a bit of customer support and service. With online fraud and scammers increasing over the years, Zillow is responsible for security and safety on their platform. To help support these operational costs, charging for rental listings offsets the expenses. This is completely understandable.

How much is Zillow's fee?

Back in 2019, Zillow started to experiment with a paywall for listings. They started in Oregon, then moved to Colorado, and quickly charged nationwide. If you had one rental property, you didn't have to pay anything to list your rental. After your first rental, they would charge $9.99 per week to advertise. And, they cut off all property management softwares from syndicating for free to Zillow. This really hurt landlords and property managers their rentals through software.

In the summer of 2022, Zillow's model changed for the better. They now offer a Basic Listing package on their website for free. If you want more exposure, pricing and market insights, and listing recommendations, then you need to upgrade to their Premium Lisitng pcakge. This package is a flat fee of $29.99 and gives you premium benefits for your listing up to 90 days. Don't you hate $.99 pricing? 🤔

Keep in mind that Zillow also makes money off the tenant through their tenant screening features. Their tenant screening does not include income verification, and if you're interested in that feature, check out our comprehensive tenant screening.

Zillow is also not playing nice with other landlord or property management softwares, as they only allow for the Premium package.

Will Zillow still dominate listings?

Today, Zillow is still the largest player. Most rental inquiries come from their website. And, Zillow also owns Trulia and Hot Pads. You must list your rental through the Zillow Group if you want significant demand from tenants.

Zillow became the #1 rental listing website, because it did not charge for listings and provided a great user experience with trusted data(shut down fraudulent accounts faster than competitors, like Craigslist). Craigslist became a less popular option as it did not provide these two key features that Zillow had.

With Zillow back to a free model through the Basic listings, we believe it will still be a top leader in rental advertising. However, Zillow may risk its #1 position if it does not allow property management softwares to gain access to its Basic listing functionality. If tenants catch on to the fact that many listings are no longer on Zillow, simply because it doesn't sync with property management software for free, then these tenants may head on over to Zumper or some other listing website.

In the next couple of years, we predict tenants will see Zillow’s inventory decrease and will start to discover other free rental sites with more listings available. This trend will be seen across the nation unless Zillow changes their policy.

Zillow’s new policy is shaking up the market. There could be a huge opportunity here for a new rental listing website to take the #1 position! However, Zillow may be quick to respond to any threat. In the long term, it will be interesting to see whether Zillow can maintain its #1 position as other listing websites offer free services.

What other rental advertising options do I have?

In order to make it easier to advertise on multiple listing websites, Hemlane posts to over 30 rental listing websites with a goal to provide you with the most tenant inquiries. Hemlane offers a 30 day free trial for you to see the results. Rental properties on Hemlane receive an average of 21 qualified leads within the first 15 days, consolidated from all of the top rental listing websites. The other popular place to post your rental property is Facebook Marketplace.

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