Have You Heard About Zillow's New Rental Policy?
As the most-trafficked real estate site in the nation, Zillow is a household name and often the first place renters and buyers go to embark on their house-hunting journey. But for renters, Zillow has made some big changes that will surely affect their search process.
Since January 12, Zillow has adopted a new policy that changes the way it displays rental listings. Zillow previously sourced its rental listings directly from MLS feeds, but since becoming a brokerage of its own, it has transitioned to sourcing all of its listings from IDX (Internet Data Exchange) feeds. For the layperson, this is how most real estate aggregators source their listings to display. Now in order for agents to display their rental listings on Zillow, they must manually enter them into the system rather than having them automatically display once they have been input to the MLS.
The caveat for rental agents is that while they can still display their rental listings on Zillow, they must now pay $9.99/week for that privilege. While a handful of agents and brokerages will likely participate in this experiment, most probably won’t. The result could mean that rental listings will continue to be displayed for free on thousands of websites including Redfin and apartments.com, but other platforms like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace could explode in popularity.
Landlords having to cough up a few bucks in order to have their rental listings displayed on Zillow is not new, but the move to bring agents under this rule is. Time will tell how this shakes out, but for now renters will have to look elsewhere for a wider pool of rental listings.