Overview

The real estate industry is oversaturated with dead-end leads and real estate next-generation lead generation technology.

Consumers want to speak to a real estate agent, and Zillow patches them through as a "paid lead."

Where's the vetting process? Are agents paying to be left on read?

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Real estate technology is the modern-day wild west; instead of cowboy boots and saloons, it's full of profit-starved real estate databases chipping away at agent commissions. 

Zillow Flex claims to connect potential clients with real estate agents for a 35% referral fee. Is it worth it?

Perhaps it's time to consider a Zillow Flex alternative.

We've compiled everything you need to know about Zillow Flex for you to make an informed decision. 

What is Zillow Flex, and how does it work?

 Zillow offers unique lead generation options that allow agents to pay only when they close a sale, not for leads upfront. The leads are generated by zip code, just like Zillow Premier Agent's leads.

Additional features of Zillow's Flex program are the personally optimized bio and contact page hosted on Zillow's real estate listing platform.

It's a huge boost for brand awareness across a high-traffic site.

When a consumer lists a property or expresses interest in purchasing, Zillow Flex makes the agent-to-consumer connection free of charge. Depending on your location, you'll have to pay a higher percentage of your gross commission.

The insider scoop is the larger cities have lower commission rates.

For example, real estate agents will pay a 25% commission on a $145,000 Fort Morgan transaction and a more expensive, $390,000 Los Angeles transaction.

Referral-Style Lead Generation Prices

Zillow Flex offers a payment structure that differs from the Zillow Premier Agent. Rather than pay upfront, Flex users pay 30-40% of the gross commission from the referral.

Companies like HomeLight, Agent Pronto, and OpCity (acquired by Realtor.com) offer similar referral-style lead generation services:

  • HomeLight charges 12.5% of the total gross commission
  • Agent Pronto is between 25-35%
  • Opcity requires payment of 33-38% commission.

As noted, Zillow Flex's commission fee is on the expensive end of the spectrum. Other referral-style companies, like Clever, charge 1% of transaction prices or a flat $3000.  

How can agents use Zillow flex?

To use Zillow Flex, real estate agents have to match two criteria:

1. Be a member of the Zillow Premier Agent service.

2. Get their broker agency's written permission to engage in a lead generation service.

Just as one can be granted access, it can easily be stripped away. Real estate agents report losing the Zillow Flex lead-generation privilege by:

  • Failing to keep an active profile on the CRM database.
  • Not following through on leads. Agents must interact within the Zillow Premier Agent CRM to track progress. 
  • Not confirming transactions.

Zillow Flex is not and shouldn't be known as the revolutionary solution to closing leads. Listing agents find exposure on Zillow, but not the high-value experience as promised.

Although Zillow Group advertises high ROI for Zillow Premier agents, the conversion rate is only 5%. Agents using the Flex program have been invited after performing well with Zillow Premier Agent, so credible reviews back their profiles. This is very important when showcasing your profile as it attracts more attention.

Leading industry experts that have dropped the listings service found more success with more comprehensive alternatives, like Curaytor. 

What are their fees?

Zillow Flex agents get hit with closing fees up to 35% of gross commission. This rate varies by zip code and transaction prices.

For real estate agents in their early days, you're paying for exposure-- no more, no less. The leads aren't always as ready to convert as Zillow claims; it will likely take work, work, and more.

Operating independently, you'll need teams and people to nurture these leads. 

If your business has legs and decent exposure, skip the exaggerated closing costs and opt for a cost-friendly alternative with better functionality. 

Pros

  • Connect with potential buyers to transform leads into clients.
  • Join a community of other Zillow Premier Agents sharing valuable resources.
  • Enjoy the exposure of hosting your profile with a real estate market leader.
  • No upfront costs until you close a transaction.

Cons

  • High referral fees of up to 35%.
  • A 5% conversion rate across the platform in all service areas.
  • Lead generation filtering is outdated and not properly vetted.

Are there any alternatives?

Curaytor

"Curaytor is my secret weapon."

Well, it's no secret; we don't believe in gatekeeping.

Curaytor offers a range of services tailored around the pain points in your current lead generation strategy. Their Google PPC service targets ads at potential buyers, currently searching in your local area. Buyers and sellers engage with the personalized ads to arrive at your optimized landing page with high intent of closing a deal.

Did you know Zillow Group takes 40% of its leads from Google? It's true, except once it comes to your inbox, it's been marked up x100. These same leads cost an average of $15 when you cut out the middleman.

Are you picking up what we're putting down? 

Maximize your reach with a full-scale real estate marketing strategy, complete with Facebook ads, retargeted online advertising, and other valuable features.

It's the all-in-one strategy for actual sales.2

Less hassle for you, and fresh, ready-to-close leads for your business are just a simple phone call away. 

Join the Curaytor community now for results like:

  • Doubling your annual sales. Carla increased her annual sales volume from $8M in 2019 to $16M in 2021 after partnering with Curaytor. #Soloagent
  • Establishing a powerful online presence. Josh uses Curaytor to optimize his web presence, social presence, and 24/7 business storefront. #smallteam
  • Scaling in a business-conscious community. Samuel loves Curaytor for the peer-to-peer feedback, helpful suggestions, and Accelerator program that propelled his small business into a brokerage. 

Zillow Premier Agent

Being in the Zillow Premier Agents program is essentially the same as the Zillow Flex program but has a cheaper price tag and slightly more risk. 

Zillow Group's real estate lead generation occurs similarly to Flex and Premier, filtered and matched by zip code. Instead of agents paying an exaggerated closing fee, they pay per location-competitive, generated lead.

Generally, it will be more expensive in high-demand zip code areas or where there's a lot of competition. Shop around zip codes to determine what location will reap a better return on investment for you.

Keep in mind that these are not exclusive leads.

What about paid leads? Nope, you share those too.

You have 30 days to sign an exclusivity agreement with potential buyers until they're recycled into the agent lineup.

Since most high-intent real estate leads take between 30-90 days to close, that doesn't leave enough time to nurture leads and form a valuable customer-agent relationship comfortably. Not very Flexible of you, Zillow.

Real estate professionals use the Zillow Premier Agent Program to:

  • Supplement their lead generation strategy.
  • Be seen on a high-traffic real estate listing platform.
  • Purchase a bulk amount of leads to assign to teams.

The final say: should agents use Zillow Flex?

The reviews are in-- Zillow Flex is out.

We're not discounting the entire Zillow Group, but after careful analysis, agents don't find a stark selling point in Flex that they don't already have with Zillow Premier Agent.

For numbers, Zillow Flex has a rough ratio of 4 buyers to every seller. There's an average 30-35% commission on closing, dependent on location, so watch your return on investment. 

There's no doubt they've racked up a trustworthy customer pool, but let's not forget- 40% is driven in from Google. With a 5% conversion rate, you'll need around 20 leads to close a deal.

If Flex offered a wider range of services and responsive agent support, it might be worth its price tag. But funneling Google leads? You might as well do that yourself or connect with a Zillow Flex alternative like Curaytor or Premier Agent to maximize your benefit for the cost.

Zillow is a hegemon in the real estate business, being considered the first point of reference for housing estimates, real estate professionals, and making connections. Nevertheless, tides change, and just like their Zestimates, their value price is drastically out of touch. 

Conclusion

Do you think you'll give Zillow Flex a spin or one of the alternatives? 

If you invest in the Flex program, get acquainted quickly with all the resources available to you to get the most bang for your buck. Build your exposure and brand awareness so you can fly the nest and capitalize on your return on investment.

Or, cut your losses and amplify your investments with programs like Curaytor's Accelerator or Zillow's Premier Agent.

Does any other honorable Zillow Flex mention? Let us know why you love them below.

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