Overview

Zillow.com has commanded a trustworthy consumer following in the online real estate listing market. The platform is user-friendly for the public, allowing customers to freely browse millions of home listings. 

For agents, Zillow is first base in kick-starting their real estate careers and conducting market research. The amount of monthly volume is attractive to newcomers, and Zillow's value promise captures attention of those just starting out.

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So, is it all it's cracked up to be? 

We've got the insider's scoop on Zillow's price for value; plus, ten real estate site competitors that give Zillow a run for their money. Turns out, the grass is greener on the other side.

What is Zillow?

Zillow was founded in 2006 out of Seattle, Washington by Microsoft executives, Lloyd Frink and Rich Barton. Within the first three days, the site amassed over 1 million visitors. In 2011, Zillow went public on the stock market as NASDAQ:Z. 

From 2011 to 2014, Zillow acquires Mortech, Diverse Solutions, Hotpads, Streeteasy, and Retsly before obtaining its leading competitor, Trulia in 2015. Now presenting, the Zillow Group, real estate dominatrixes with a vibrant online platform featuring the best of the best in home listings. Currently, Zillow Group represents: Trulia, StreetEasy, HotPads, and Zillow

Zillow absorbed Trulia in a stock-for-stock transaction evaluated at 2.5 billion. Not bad at all, given it's 140% rise annually. In the 2021 full-year cycle, Zillow Group boasted a revenue of $8.1B.

Zillow gets 29% of real estate traffic. There are 135 million homes listed on the platform as of 2021. Ever since instagram entrepreneurs leaked their get-rich-buy-a-house scheme, listings have increased. 

Zillow Group's leading USIs are:

  • ZRental Estimates: Average cost of rentals within search criteria. This tool is not known for its accuracy, being the subject of hundreds of off-priced memes. 
  • Zillow Flex: Connects Zillow Premier agents to leads at no upfront cost, but with a 35% commission fee on transactions. Check our affordable alternatives and pay fees on your success.

The best alternatives to Zillow for agents

Zillow offers a Premier Agent program, connecting agents to potential clients with a guarantee of a higher ROI rate. Agents who have used the service describe it as "sales oriented" rather than "problem solving" for their business. 

Zillow's Flex program was developed shortly after, offering no upfront costs until agents transact. Nice of them to cut out the expensive initial costs for low-quality leads, but then tacking on a 35% closing fee on the gross commission? It's a bit steep for most agents to swallow.

Third parties report Zillow Premier leads starting from $1 a lead and ranging up to $300. This could be a $20k plot of land or a multi-million dollar home, it's never consistent. The sliding scale is based on zip code, average home costs, and other non-disclosed factors. 

If you don't mind roundabout pricing models, keep Zillow in your bookmarks. But, if you're in the market for a listing service that delivers upon their brand offers, here are ten real estate sites that are the real deal. 

1. Curaytor

One of Zillow's alternatives takes a comprehensive approach to lead sourcing. Instead of funneling traffic to agent's faceless email address, Curaytor does what they do best-- curate high-quality leads. 

It's all in the follow through. From the mobile-friendly site to the web-optimized home pages, attention-grabbing Facebook ads, and email marketing tools- Curaytor is the full-stack hack for growing real estate agency services.

The basic subscription service is a 6-month commitment, with more than half of their registered real estate agents registrars sticking with them long-term. Offering valuable features such as: weekly marketing plans, strategic sales coaching, and a versatile customer management system called Chime.

Curaytor real estate agents don't chase, they attract leads

Signing up to a monthly plan means gaining access to a treasure trove of expert-vetted marketing advice and support. 

Curaytor's SaaS and agent-service communication is rated x2.5 higher than other SaaS tools in the real estate listing niche. No wonder it's such a viable alternative for both small and large scale teams. 

Features and Benefits

Features
Curaytor
Zillow

CRM

Advanced

Basic

Lead exclusivity

Exclusive

Not-exclusive

Agent Support

Phone, Email, Coaching, Community

Phone and Email

Follow-Up

Personalized

Basic

  • Expert curated and designed websites + unlimited landing pages
  • Email blast tools for personalized information outreach
  • A detailed analysis of how your real estate platform site is performing
  • Results similar to a 75% increase in direct calls after just 60 days with Curaytor. Zillow agents have to babysit dead end leads for weeks before getting a follow-through.

Pricing

There are multiple pricing tiers for your business's needs starting from $1200 for all-in-one solutions. Add on Listing Optimization and Google Business Profile services to the marketing platform for an affordable service fee.

Reviews

Curaytor prides itself on going above and beyond for their customers.

According to the Net Promoter Score, Curaytor is rated much higher than the average SaaS company.

Check out Curaytor's reviews here:

2. Redfin

Redfin's agent mission is centered on saving time, helping their agents increase productivity by 300%. 

Its agent tool software functions as a command center, personal management area, and CRM. The less paperwork the better. 

Unlike Zillow's bare-boned and empty-handed follow up routine, Redfin's Agent Toolkit offers proactive follow-up messages backed by the proper timing. Manage your calendar, booking, and transactions all from a central location on-the-go with a mobile database.

No more pesky zoom calls when you're drinking coffee- observe all your ongoing processes in real time in Redfin's Deal Room. 

This SaaS covers elements you wouldn't even factor into consideration, like live mileage tracking for accurate compensation. 

Their goal mission is to provide high scaling technology that cuts mundane tasks in half, allowing more personalized communication cross-channel for customers. 

Features and Benefits

  • Localized market research
  • Scouting Reports: gather intel on other agents
  • Redfin Fast Offers: no piles of paperwork, just sign on the pixelated line

Pricing

These advanced tools are only available to Redfin agents. 

Reviews

Check out three helpful reviews via g2:

"I like that my listing show up with my name in search results, and even though I try not to use these type of sites like Zillow and Redfin I accept them and try to take advantage of tools they offer."

"I like the ease of search when using their product, both web and native app. I think they have one of the best map searches in the market. The listings do not update as quickly as their competitors, though."

"I had previously set up a search for new listings based on specific criteria. The email would arrive first thing in the morning and I'd be right up to speed on the latest info on the local market. Perfect for beating others out to see new listing properties."

3. LoopNet

LoopNet is part of CoStar Group, a global real estate leader. 88% of investors and tenants search on LoopNet for their next humble abode. 

Just like a perfectly decorated living space, LoopNet works with customers to advertise their home from all the best angles. Their first-rate media team delivers professional work- straight out of the pages of Better Homes and Gardens.

Partnering with Loopnet is partnering with classy virtual home tours,  exhilarating drone footage, and drastically capital-altering exposure. It's a grand scale renovation on marketing strategy.

Similar to Zillow, the site gets a lot of traffic, 268 million visits per year. In 2021, visitors spent 257 minutes virtually touring properties. Loopnet ranks for 136,000+ search terms, so listings are guaranteed a spotlight opportunity.

LoopNet integrated its user platform with CoStar to make listing homes a one-step process for brokers.

Features and Benefits

Popular for its easy to use listing platform and valuable customer base- Loopnet is a worthy Zillow alternative. 

Its mobile application is ready for browsing on the fly, featured advanced search filters to syphon your options. The app syncs to your PC, and all your saved listing will transfer over when you're back in the office. 

Pricing

To advertise your real estate listing on Loopnet, prices start at $129 a month for basic services. The all-in-one media packages range from $1000 up to $2500. 

Reviews

Two informative g2 reviews by agents, for agents:

"Listings are only available to CoStar subscribers unless you pay a hefty price to advertise the Loopnet listing. Competitors do not charge to list the property online for all to see."

"Loopnet is part of CoStar. Our company pays a fee to allow our brokers to have an account to CoStar, and that fee is reasonable and has not increased much in the last few years. The fee for loopnet however, has increased nearly 300% in the last 15 months. Brokerage companies are required to pay per listing they have on Loopnet. It's not required to list there, but suggested as it gets quite a bit of exposure. Our company used to pay $14/listing, and after a second price increase, are now paying $42/listing."

4. Realtor.com

Realtor.com is an empowering online site helping every member of the home buying/selling process confidently succeed. Referred to as "The Home of Home Search," there is everything buyers, agents, and brokers need to make the home experience a positive one.

Real estate agents love Realtor.com for its multi-purpose resource toolkit and leading agent support. They don't gate keep the beginner tools of the trade, you'll know exactly how to use the site for maximum intended benefit. 

There are live chat channels for last-minute questions; help is never more than a click or dial away. 

Realtor.com gives Zillow a run for its listings, amassing 27 million search vies monthly. Another shared similarity is the pricing structure, broken down by ZIP code with a flat monthly advertising fee. 

Features and Benefits

  • Guaranteed eyes on the listing or advertisement
  • Detailed report on performance
  • Reach of 750+ real estate listing platforms
  • Easily reachable agent support

Pricing

Depending on ZIP code, you can expect to pay upwards of $300 monthly.

Reviews

A few helpful reviews, courtesy of g2:

"One of my favorite features is that you can purchase non-shared leads that only go to you, so you're not competing with another agent. Their system for following up with and managing your contacts is also superior to Zillow IMO. At no additional cost you can send them market reports and new listing alerts directly through Realtor.com, which is great for any agents starting out that don't have a dedicated CRM yet."

"I received zero leads for the $400/month I spent on advertising. They promised at least 14. Still trying to cancel."

5. Apartments.com

If you're in the rental business, Apartments.com is a key outlier. Focused on rental properties only, landlords, brokers, and agents can post listings with high odds of a catch.

Apartments.com gets over 22.5 million searches monthly, publishing its listings across the four other rental hegemonies: ForRent.com, Apartmenthomeliving.com, Apartmentfinder.com, and Apartamentos.com.

It's free to post listings and manage properties directly on the agent portal. Most listing platforms force agents to edit off-site in an MLS.

Recently, Apartments.com acquired Cozy.com, ramping up monthly search traffic and consolidating listings.

Features and Benefits

  • Online tour capability
  • Simple on-site editing and management 
  • Free to post listings and review performance metrics
  • Built in transactions for landlords and tenants

Pricing

Free for unlimited rental property listings. Landlords may opt for the premium package to manage rental finances for $199. There is a pro monthly package for $399 offering social retargeting ads.

Reviews

Two detailed reviews from g2:

"It has generated leads for my business. It would be nice to post a listing as coming soon for premature traffic."

"We utilize Apartments.com for advertising our available apartment homes. {It} allows those interested to communicate with us directly by sending messages, applying, etc. The management tools allow communication with both prospects and our current residents. The "My Media Library" feature centralizes our prospects in one area that have expressed interest through Apartments.com."

6. Rightmove

A property portal and UK's biggest real estate marketplace is how agents describe Rightmove. Since they capitalized the UK housing market, they command a strong online presence. 

Most of their statistics are outdated, so there's not much to be said about the modern day reach. The last case study from 2016, describes monthly search volumes to be around 120 million. 77% of the view time spent on UK-based property websites, is spent directly on Rightmove.

In London, agents could pay up to 18% of a property's annual rent to manage a property. That's a heavy chunk of change compared to the monthly stipend of £1,088. 

Features and Benefits

  • Public listings on a UK real estate giant's platform
  • Monthly fees rather than listing fees
  • Intro tips and tricks to optimize your listing

Pricing

The most recent pricing was noted to be £1,088; however, third party sites claim this has decreased.

Reviews

The review for Rightmove are a complete mixed bag. You either love it or hate it, but the overall consensus is that its "too expensive for the value offered," and that "they need to listen to their paying customers more."

The properties are not updated as routinely as they should be to correlate the costs associated. 

7. Trulia

Trulia, as you already know, was acquired by Zillow in a stock-to-stock transaction in 2015. It functions very closely to Zillow's real estate functionality, with contrasting pricing breakdowns.

Agents wanting to list property on Trulia must do so with a partner site like Vflyer.com or Listhub.net. There is decreased editing ability within the agent portal. 

Trulia is praised for thinking outside the box, or the house. It reveals a neighborhood map, designating proximity to schools, eateries, banks, and other consumer hubs. For homebuyers, it's ease of mind.

Features and Benefits

  • Able to upload video tours
  • Public client reviews posted to agent profiles to drive credibility
  • Email templates
  • Possible social media integrations, CRM compatibility

Pricing

Trulia, unlike Zillow and Realtor.com, offer a cost-per-lead pricing structure, starting at $30.

Reviews

Three informative reviews, collected by g2:

"Needs to be updated more. Sometimes I'm unable to see the agent's information."

"Lacking of commercial listings, I have a lot of commercial buyers who are always having a difficult time finding properties."

"Places your lead at the top of the list. If an owner posts the property, the previous, optimized listing is wiped off."

8. Homesnap

Homesnap is a nationwide platform showcasing MLS-listings in a mobile application. It offers unique search filters, like proximity to local schools and detailed property histories.

It does well with matching an agent to a buyer, breaking it down by zip code, and whoever pays the most to host their ad. Yes, that's correct- may the higher bidder win. For homebuyers this means you won't be paired with the best agent for you, rather the one who chipped in the most dough.

This app is available in the IOS and Google Play store, marketed mainly to homebuyers. Agents are able to purchase a premium version of the app. 

Homesnap is smaller scale and more localized.

Features and Benefits

  • Enhanced Google business profile management
  • Branded website
  • Optimized agent profile
  • Customized lead pages for your listings

Pricing

Agents pay $299 for a one-year subscription, and $599 for renewal. For independent ad features, such as social media campaigns, the price ranges between $50 and $500 dollars.  

Reviews 

Here are three useful reviews, collected via g2:

"After six months, I never got a qualified lead."

"Lots of useful features, like the heat map. However, they don't work in our MLS so I haven't been able to see if they would benefit my business."

"The $99 price is a good value, the $500? Not so much. Having them manage my Google profile and post for me makes it appear that I'm always trying to be on my game."

9. Homebay

As of 2022, Homebay has closed its doors for good. Clever purchased Homebay to keep its extensive library of real estate knowledge intact and free for the public.

Before going offline, Homebay operated primarily in California. Homebuyers liked the service for its cheap fees but had an overall distaste since it was very hands-off with customer support.

Previously Homebay promises homebuyers an average of $15,000 on realtor commission, but had homebuyers feeling like they were selling their homes themselves. Alas, the bad reviews and shutdown.

10. HomeScout

HomeScout swings in at number 10 on the list as the underdog. It's a mobile app created for homebuyers to browse country-wide listings. 

The stark contrast to this app is the notifications feature, working like the Google Flights notification system, alerting potential buyers of price changes on their saved listings. 

The mobile app is ad-free, so it's not a go-to resource if you're looking for ad-sourced leads.

Features and Benefits

  • Useful source of up-to-date home listing nationwide
  • Free and easy for on-the-go usage
  • Alerts for price drops on your selected properties

Pricing

Free, can you believe it? But the app lacks a depth of functionality that the other Zillow alternatives utilize. 

Reviews

Users love it, stating it "doesn't show properties that are sold, like how Zillow shows that they're still available."

"Zillow shows only 68% of active listings, this app is Zillow's worst nightmare."

"Loads quick, and it widely accessible, well done."

 FAQs

How does Zillow make money?

Zillow makes money by ad spend and agent commissions. Remember the 35% gross commission fee? It pays their bills. 

To advertise on the Zillow, property managers choose between a free listing or an optimized listing. To be truly competitive in property searches, managers splurge on a one-time listing fee (per property) to track their real estate listings' performance and receive specialized guidance on presentation. 

The main revenue source comes from real estate agents purchasing targeted ads for their locations to push their profile and garner exposure. This only works for established agents on the platform, backed by reviews. Make a decent effort to credibly-back your agent profile before you waste money advertising.

Just as well, Zillow's Premier Agent Program has agents shelling out wads of cash on low-quality leads, only to be left on read. If your team isn't ready to move fast on ready-to-buy leads, Zillow will simply move onto the next agent on their call list. 

Other income sources are ads paid for by mortgage lenders, interior designers, and other home-related experts in cost per click (CPC), or CPM.

Who is the biggest competitor of Zillow?

The top three real estate giants competing against Zillow in 2022 are Redfin.com, Realtor.com, and Hotpads.com. There are multiple second tier real estate websites that don't fall far behind. 

Agents and customers alike approve of these alternatives, reporting them as trustworthy, fair market alternatives to Zillow at a fraction of the cost.

Why do agents not like Zillow?

In terms of pricing, agents feel short changed with Zillow's deliverables. The leads are not exclusive, and hardly ever worth the effort and cost invested.

Zillow's Premier Agents describe the quality of real estate leads as "unscreened, fake, and deceptive." Real estate brokerages feel the same, claiming Zillow neglects its paying customer base. 

Is Zillow accurate?

Recent case studies reveal Zillow's Zestimate tool to be off by an average of 5%. In New York, the sample home sold for 60% higher than the Zestimate. All jokes aside, Zillow's own chief executive sold his home for 40% less than the Zillow estimate.

Agents aren't too stoked on their generated leads either, thinking they were paying for exclusivity when the lead gets broadcasted to multiple agents. More than half the time, the lead is unreachable or doesn't return calls. For independent agents looking to maximize their ROI, chasing Zillow leads are fast way to waste employee resources and time.

Overall, the free online real estate listings platform is the main reason people still flock to Zillow today. It's a useful resource to browse hundreds of millions of properties for sale, but not so valuable when you're a paying customer. 

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