Decoding Zillow's Business Model: Lessons for Startups

The Zillow Business Model – How Does Zillow Make Money?

Diving into Zillow's Business Model
Zillow has quickly become one of the leading real estate websites online, providing services for sellers, buyers, tenants, real estate experts, and others who wish to trade or invest in property. Innovative features and tools developed exclusively for Zillow customers have revolutionized how people search and trade the real estate market.

While you may not mind pondering over trending mobile app ideas for startups, it is recommended that you spare some quality time studying Zillow-like businesses to get faster ROI and great returns. Revenue streams of Zillow include subscriptions, advertising sales partnerships, and real estate-related services.

Now, we will discuss what Zillow is and how does Zillow make money.

What is the Zillow App?

The Zillow mobile app allows users to search and explore millions of homes and listings. The app provides an intuitive interface for iOS and Android devices to view photos, virtual tours, property details, demographics, school information, and more. Users can easily save favorite listings, get alerts for price changes, and schedule tours.

The app seamlessly integrates Zillow’s key features like advanced search filters, Zestimates, and mortgage affordability calculators. For serious buyers and sellers, it facilitates connecting with real estate professionals to move transactions forward. The availability of rich real estate data and functionality in a user-friendly mobile experience makes the Zillow app popular. It has become a go-to resource for buyers, renters, agents, and brokers.

History of Zillow and the App

Zillow’s founding team envisioned a real estate platform to give consumers free access to listing data and insights. Launched in 2006, Zillow quickly gained traction with its unparalleled database of 110 million U.S. homes, including valuations and satellite imagery.

A key innovation was the Zestimate algorithm, which provides an estimated market value for any address. Home shoppers could get ballpark figures on any home for the first time. Zillow listings also emphasized listing descriptions and allowed direct contact with sellers’ agents. This transparency was a sea change from restricted MLS databases of the time.

The site soon incorporated mortgages, allowing consumers to estimate payments. Zillow also added data on schools, crime rates, and neighborhoods. By providing objective data directly to consumers, Zillow bridged information gaps and transformed real estate decision-making.

2008, Zillow launched its mobile app, bringing key innovations like the Zestimate and integrated housing data to iOS and Android. The app included search functionality, GPS mapping of nearby homes, and alerts for price changes. This allowed house hunters to search and monitor listings on the go. The app was an instant hit, cementing Zillow’s position as the premier real estate data provider.

Over the years, Zillow continued enhancing the app with 3D home tours, school district maps overlay, and direct in-app messaging with real estate pros. The app also incorporated Zillow’s ancillary services like financing and moving. This evolution underscores Zillow’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology in real estate. Seventeen years since its launch, Zillow has hosted over 200 million users monthly, aided by ubiquitous mobile access through its popular app.

Accelerate Your Business Growth with a Custom Mobile App!

The Zillow App Business Model

Zillow Business Model

Thinking about what is the Zillow business model? Zillow, a prominent real estate platform, employs a diverse business model to generate revenue. It offers various services to both users and real estate professionals.

Advertisement Revenue

Core to Zillow’s business is selling advertisements to real estate agents, brokers, lenders, property managers, and other professionals. Advertisers can pay for prominent placement of listings, contact information, rates, and more. Zillow offers tiered advertising programs, with pricing based on market competitiveness, listing type, and visibility.

This premium advertising generates revenue while connecting consumers to relevant professionals. As Zillow grows web traffic and app usage, advertising has become critical. The company attracts more advertisers by aggregating MLS listings and building brand awareness. With more consumers using Zillow, real estate professionals are more incentivized to advertise.

Zillow Offers Program

An emerging revenue stream is Zillow Offers, the Instant Offers program where Zillow buys and resells homes. Zillow purchases homes directly from interested sellers provides light renovations, and relists the homes for resale. Revenue comes from selling Zillow-owned homes at a higher price than originally paid, less renovation costs. This presents a new real estate Zillow revenue model, providing an end-to-end solution while profiting from fixing up and reselling homes.

Premier Agent Program

Zillow’s Premier Agent program allows agents to pay for prominent placement as the featured “Premier Agent” in their zip codes. Premier Agents get extra exposure and contacts. Zillow generates revenue from the subscription fees paid to participate.

Ad Sales to Mortgage Lenders

Another revenue stream is advertising sales to lenders on Zillow’s mortgage marketplace. To connect with interested homebuyers, lenders can market rates, products, and contact information. This expands Zillow’s advertising model beyond just real estate professionals.

IMT Segment

The IMT segment includes ads on Zillow’s non-real estate sites for rentals, mortgages, loans, and home decor. This further diversifies Zillow’s ad revenues beyond just real estate.

However, apps designed to simplify real estate purchases have grown increasingly popular and now provide many useful functions, making the home-buying experience simpler.

IMT segment could be a part of the app feature or can be all separate. Customized solutions can possess diversified facilities as wanted by the business. For specific IMT segmentation, there could be a provision in the app. Apps built with specific scopes and objectives provide benefits to real estate businesses such as quickly providing access to up-to-date properties for buyers to look over custom search filters that let users narrow results based on specific criteria and instantaneous communication between agents or owners and buyers for increased confidence when making decisions.

Features and Functionality of the Zillow App Business Model

Are you looking to buy, sell, or rent a home? The Zillow app makes it easy. Search through listings, get estimated home values, calculate mortgages, and connect with real estate agents from your phone. With tools to help you find, analyze, and finance properties, Zillow brings the whole real estate process into one seamless mobile experience.

Features and Functionality of the Zillow Business Model

Property Listings and Search Filters

The Zillow app allows users to search through millions of homes currently for sale or rent across the United States. Users can filter their searches by location, entering a specific address, ZIP code, neighborhood, city, or county to pull up relevant listings. Other useful search filters include price range, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, square footage, lot size, home type (single-family, condo, townhouse, etc.), year built, special features (pool, finished basement, etc.), and more.

Listings on Zillow contain photos and detailed information about the property, such as amenities, parking, HOA fees, local schools, and past sales history. Users can dig into demographic data for the surrounding area and get walkability scores for neighborhoods. For serious buyers, the app allows you to schedule tours, save listings, follow price changes, or contact the real estate agent, landlord, or seller directly.

Home Value Estimates and Zestimate Accuracy

A core feature of Zillow is providing estimated home values through its proprietary Zestimates algorithm. For homes currently on the market, Zestimates leverages public record information like past sales prices, tax assessments, and the most recent real estate listings. Zestimates relies more heavily on comparable sales, local market trends, and Zillow’s secret sauce for off-market homes.

Zillow has managed to improve the accuracy of Zestimates. They did this through the use of additional data sources. They also incorporated more detailed data. “Zestimaters” are local Zillow representatives. They manually review home attributes. This aids in enhancing the algorithm. It’s important to remember that Zestimates are just estimates. They are not official appraisals. Thus, they may not accurately reflect the true market value. Zillow offers a Zestimate range. They also analyze the alignment of a home’s value with its Zestimate.

Mortgage Calculator and Financing Options

Zillow’s mortgage calculator lets shoppers determine affordability by customizing inputs like down payment amount, interest rate, home price, taxes, insurance, and HOA fees. Users get a personalized estimate of monthly payments. For serious buyers, Zillow facilitates getting pre-approved with local lenders and comparing multiple lenders’ offers through their app.

Users can also connect with and get quotes from lenders for mortgages, refinancing, and home equity loans. Integrated tools like these allow consumers to seamlessly search listings, assess affordability, and finance a home all through Zillow’s app.

However, making a real estate app requires significant investments in engineers and knowledgeable staff. The cost to build a real estate app ranges between tens of thousands and several hundred thousand dollars, depending on its requirements. By teaming with leading real estate app development services providers, developing solid real estate applications at reasonable costs becomes possible.

Empower Your Business with a Tailored App Solution!

Zillow App Business Model Canvas

Zillow is an established real estate market connecting homeowners, tenants, sellers, and real estate agents. Their popular app helps users search for homes they like while also receiving estimations of home values and connecting to agents for real estate deals.

Zillow Business Model Canvas

Key Partnerships and Suppliers

Multiple Listing Services (MLS) – Zillow works closely with multiple listing service databases to access available property listings that feed its search technology. Listings found through these MLS databases play a central role.

Real estate brokers and agents – Zillow works together with real estate agents and brokers to generate leads on its platform, giving agents access to claim listings while paying to improve positioning on Zillow.

Key Activities and Resources

Software development – Zillow employs thousands of developers and engineers who develop websites and mobile applications for user experiences that surpass all expectations. Their efforts offer innovation while improving overall satisfaction among their users.

Market data and analytics – Zillow analyzes market information such as past sales, tax assessments, and user behavior to create Zestimates or estimates of home values – this proprietary data may serve as a foundation resource.

Value Proposition and Target Customer Segments

  • Home buyers – Search listings and utilize tools to find and finance properties
  • Sellers – Connect with interested buyers and agents; advertise homes to increase visibility
  • Renters – Find rentals, apply online, and use affordability calculators and rental tools.
  • Real estate agents – Generate leads, list properties, and gain exposure by advertising on Zillow.

However, top real estate app trends continue to develop with technological advances, and new apps are unveiled regularly. Keeping up with these latest advances is vital for realtors, investors, and homeowners seeking to remain at the top of their field.

Zillow App Business Model Marketing Strategy

Zillow business model employs multiple strategies to promote its app for real estate and generate leads. It prioritizes brand recognition using user content as leverage; social media outreach provides additional reach.

Branding and Advertising Campaigns

Zillow invests heavily in TV, Internet, and print advertisements to build brand recognition and visibility. These ads highlight Zillow’s services and tools for homebuyers, tenants, and sellers.

User Reviews and Testimonials

Zillow encourages its users to leave reviews of agents they’ve worked with and share testimonials about their experiences using its platform, encouraging user-generated content that strengthens trust between themselves and Zillow as a brand.

Zillow Business Marketing Strategy

Social Media and Influencer Marketing

Zillow engages its users across social media networks and works closely with influential real estate professionals to promote its application. Influencer partnerships allow Zillow to humanize its brand name while broadening its reach.

Nevertheless, today apps deal with real estate that enable customers to browse property listings, search for homes for sale or rent, and connect with prospective homeowners or landlords. By tapping into this growing market, startups are capitalizing on increased needs within this field by creating user-friendly mobile user experiences for real estate services.

Zillow’s Future Growth and Expansion Plans

Zillow has ambitious growth plans that include product innovations and acquisitions as a form of expansion. Their partnerships strengthen its position as an industry leader.

Product and service innovation

Zillow will continue its commitment to innovation by improving its real estate product and service suite, seeing huge opportunities through data, tech, and AI to provide homeowners with a one-step buying experience.

Zillow needs to focus on product development efforts that improve its Zestimates, improve house tours, and provide sellers and buyers with tools for selling homes quickly, pricing properties correctly, and selling properties faster.

Zillow’s Future Growth and Expansion Plans

International Expansion and Partnerships

Zillow has identified international markets as integral to its growth plan. Although established positions exist within Canada, Zillow sees potential for expansion to Europe and Asia-Pacific markets.

Zillow plans on forging strategic alliances with both real estate portals and brokers around the globe to speed its global expansion. Acquisitions could help gain market share quickly in other regions while collaborations between partners would enable Zillow to be more responsive in local markets by merging listing data with market insight.

Acquisitions and Mergers

Zillow will continue seeking acquisition and merger opportunities to accelerate innovation and expand into new market segments. The company has made several key acquisitions recently, including purchasing mortgage lender Mortgage Lenders of America and virtual 3D home tour company Matterport.

Zillow may acquire complementary technology companies to enhance its data and AI capabilities. It may also consolidate market share by acquiring smaller listing portals and real estate brokerages. Zillow’s strong balance sheet provides the capacity to pursue multiple acquisition opportunities as they arise.

Other Essential Details of the Zillow App Business Model

Zillow’s business relies heavily on building its customer base through providing free access to listing data. Now reaching over 200 million monthly users worldwide, this popular real estate listing database capitalizes on this success to monetize subscription fees and transactions related to real estate services.

Zillow charges landlords and property managers monthly to use Zillow Rentals to list rentals. Landlords can purchase premium placement and exposure with this feature to draw tenants in quickly.

Zillow earns transaction costs through their Zillow Closing Services, which assist home buyers and sellers throughout their transaction – from title insurance policies and closing documents to escrow preparation and title search services.

Zillow Homes can also be considered, which works with sellers to facilitate quick and efficient home sales. Zillow offers sellers pre-paid cash deals as they list their property for sale; profits come from Zillow’s fees associated with transaction processing.

Zillow continues to invest heavily in creating innovative home shopping and transaction processes through innovative products, technologies, and services like AI and 3-D home tours to set their platforms apart from others.

Boost Efficiency and Productivity: Develop Your Business App Today!


Zillow generates revenue via subscriptions, advertising, and partnerships. Through an efficient market process that aggregates information about real estate listings and draws millions of buyers and sellers of houses and tenants into its marketplace, Zillow continues to expand and enhance its offering in tech for real estate.

Now, to build a business like Zillow, it is important that the app meets or exceeds expectations; you may grab a renowned startup app development company to design customized apps that provide reliable solutions for all their real estate needs. They can give entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed in their real estate venture.

Our Recent Blog

Know what’s new in Technology and Development

Have a question or need a custom quote

Our in-depth understanding in technology and innovation can turn your aspiration into a business reality.

14+Years’ Experience in IT Prismetric  Success Stories
0+ Happy Clients
0+ Solutions Developed
0+ Countries
0+ Developers

      Contact Us

      Connect With US