For those who have bought or sold a home in the last several years, the Zillow platform has been sure to come up at some point in the process. With over 135 million properties listed for rent or sale on Zillow, it has made itself a household name since first appearing in 2006. But does Zillow cost money? We researched this company so that you'll have a definitive answer about the costs.
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Zillow offers its most basic services for free to the consumer. But there are certain features and services that Zillow will charge money for. These include:
- Listing rental property
- Third-party advertising
- Enhanced real estate agent profiles
Now that we know that some services Zillow offers are free, we'll take a look at what is free and what Zillow charges for. You might also be wondering if it's worth it to pay for Zillow or if Zillow is safe to use. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.
Breaking Down What Is Free (And What Isn't) On Zillow
A company needs to have some stream of revenue to keep itself financially viable. While Zillow offers many free services, there are some that they charge fees for so that they can generate a profit.
Here, we'll take a closer look at what Zillow offers consumers for free as well as what you can expect to pay for.
What Zillow Gives You For Free
If you are trying to find a property to buy, you can peruse the more than 100 million listings on the platform for free. Simply go to their website or smartphone app, enter a geographic location, and you'll see everything listed for sale.
From there, you can narrow down your search based on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, price range, and other qualifiers.
Zillow will also allow you to list your home for sale at no charge. The process to do so is simple and will only take 72 hours to get the information you entered verified and live on the Zillow platform. Zillow also offers detailed tips and tricks for listing your property for sale by owner.
If you are a real estate agent, you will be able to create and post an agent profile on Zillow for free. This will make you visible to potential buyers and sellers and is a free tool for your marketing toolbox.
Zillow Will Charge For These Services
Zillow still needs to make money to pay for the free services they offer to consumers. Though you can list a property for sale for free, Zillow will charge a $9.99 weekly fee for each property you list for rent.
They back this with a Lead Guarantee and won't collect the fee until you get your first lead during the first eight weeks that your listing is live.
The platform also charges for third-party advertising. This is a great revenue stream for the company, earning more than $400 million throughout 2020.
While the basic real estate agent profile is free, Zillow charges a fee for an Enhanced Agent Profile. This elevates an agent's visibility to potential buyers and sellers and gives them more selling tools on the platform.
These fees comprise the largest revenue stream for Zillow, helping them rake in more than $1.04 billion in revenue for this service alone in 2020.
Is It Worth It To Pay For Zillow?
Zillow offers many tools for sellers, advertisers, and landlords. Though you can manage to do these things on your own, you might find it worth the fees.
Landlords are only charged $9.99 a week for their listings. But putting your property up for lease on Zillow gets you more than just a listing. Zillow includes tenant screening processes, including pulling credit reports and background checks, for no cost.
The platform will also have boilerplate leases and the ability to electronically upload your own, allowing for hassle-free e-signing when you find a tenant.
The Enhanced Agent Profile will not only elevate your presence to those perusing the real estate market but will also lead to more sales. Zillow states that those agents who take advantage of the paid profile upgrades will close twice as many sales as agents who only use the basic, free profile.
Like any paid service, Zillow should be looked at as a tool for you to use. What you get out of it will depend on what you put into it and how you use it.
Why Do Realtors Not Like Zillow?
You might be acquainted with a real estate agent that has had some negative things to say about the Zillow platform. Though many realtors use Zillow to both advertise and find potential properties for buyers, there are some complaints about the company that are worth noting from the agents' perspective.
Zillow gets many of its listings on its platform from secondary sources. When this happens, there is a greater chance of misinformation being listed. Real estate agents mostly rely on the MLS for home information, the most reliable source available.
The information on Zillow listings might not be up to date or could contain details that are not factual. Though Zillow strives to have the most accurate information for its users, this is a byproduct of getting listing information from multiple secondary sources.
Does Zillow Hurt Your Credit?
You're probably aware that companies pulling your credit report can impact your credit score. While one or two checks, or hard pulls, every year or two won't lower your score much, multiple pulls in a short period can substantially lower your FICO number.
For this reason, you might be a bit apprehensive about having Zillow pre-qualify you based on your credit bureau scores.
Any time you apply for a loan, a hard pull will happen. Whether you go through Zillow or another platform, the results will be the same.
Zillow does do credit checks for those who apply for rentals on their platform. But this type of credit check is considered a "soft pull" and will not negatively impact a credit score. It gives the same information as a regular credit score pull, but since you are not applying for a loan, it won't have any negative effects.
Is Zillow Safe To Use?
No matter how secure a platform, there is always a scammer or two lying in wait for potential opportunities. Though Zillow takes multiple precautions to protect its users from financial scams, there will always be some who find a way to work around them.
Zillow recognizes that rental scams do happen, and they make solid attempts to educate their users on the potential red flags that con artists will throw up when trying to bilk you out of your hard-earned money.
Zillow dedicates a great portion of its online platform to help its users identify potential scams and how to flag and report them.
Before engaging in any transaction from a Zillow listing, you're encouraged to read through their posts pertaining to online fraud and financial scams. They give helpful information that will help keep you from becoming a victim.
Zillow offers many of its services for free, including the ability to create a basic real estate agent profile and a way to list your home for sale. Zillow will collect fees for listing rental properties, advertising, and upgraded agent profiles.
This platform is a great tool for buyers and sellers alike, though the information listed on properties might not be as up-to-date as the ones on the MLS.
We hope this post on Zillow answered all of your questions about this platform. For additional information, we suggest reading the following posts: