Online Real Estate Business App Like Zillow: Business Model, Development Cost & Features Explained


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With 245 million users and $3.3 billion in revenue, Zillow is the most successful real estate platform in the U.S.

One of the reasons why Zillow is so popular is that they offer everything to everyone in the real estate industry. They have expanded over the years due to increasing demand and include services like property search with price data, mortgage rate comparisons, and agent ratings.

You can’t afford to have a website for your real estate business, regardless of whether you are a broker or a real estate agent. Over 90% of real estate companies have a website. The National Association of Realtors reports that an estimated 92% of real estate websites offer one common feature: Property Listings. The newest technologies generate faster deals through Augmented Reality, 3D Walkthroughs, and Video Presentation.

What is Zillow?

Founded in 2006, Zillow is a real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to facilitating the discovery and sharing of valuable information between homeowners, buyers, sellers, renters, real estate agents, mortgage professionals, landlords, and property managers. Using its massive database of 110 million U.S. properties, the real estate search engine can provide results on homes for rent, homes for sale, and homes not yet listed.

Zillow also facilitates visitors to find the latest estimates of Zestimates, which lets you find out if homes are currently undervalued, appropriately valued, or overvalued, enables visitors to search through property profiles, and enables visitors to search and look through agents, property managers, home inspectors, and listings of any property.

Do you have an offline real estate business and want to move online? Esferasoft, a Real estate app development company, can help you to make an app like Zillow.

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Zillow Business Modal

Zillow empowers users with the tools and knowledge to make smart decisions regarding their homes, whether buying a house, selling it, renting, remodelling, financing, or leasing. To make it easier for the 36 million people who visit each month, Zillow classifies the properties listed on its website into four main segments:

For sale

Visitors on Zillow can search for properties to sell by filtering them based on criteria like an agent, owner and foreclosure, construction work, and coming soon.

Possible Listings

It comprises an inventory of properties that could be made available shortly. The kind of properties in this category include:

  1. Foreclosed: Those properties in which the homeowner cannot pay the mortgage and the property is being auctioned off for foreclosure.  
  2. Pre-foreclosure: Property in the initial stages of demolition due to the owner’s inability to pay for the remaining mortgage debt.
  3. Make Me Move: Properties which homeowners hire to explore the market and determine interest without listing the property for sale.

To Rent

Rental options range from apartments and apartments to townhouses and homes to villas and estates. And while the service is free for landlords, renters need to pay $29 for an application that includes a background check and credit analysis.

How Does Zillow Make Money?

Zillow has a free service where anyone can list their property for rent or sale to potential buyers or tenants. Additionally, all of the tools in use on Zillow are free, and many apps can be downloaded from it, even though it has an annual turnover of around $1.1 billion.

Real estate in a Digital Age Report 22-08-2019 reveals that 44% of home buyers begin their research online. Their vast majority comprises older millennials (98%) and boomers (89%). Sixty-eight per cent of younger boomers have found a home via a smartphone.

Ad Sales to Property Management Companies

Zillow offers its rental network to property management companies for advertising. The rental network, which comprises Zillow, Trulia, StreetEasy, and Hotpads, maximizes the visibility of advertisers’ property to potential renters.

Zillow sends qualified renters to advertisers, who then respond by paying Zillow for the ads. The company earns a lot of money this way as rental property managers in the U.S. spend $3.5 billion on ads each year on Zillow’s platform.

Premier Services for Real Estate Agents

Zillow’s Premier Agent program offers potential customers a platform to find sellers and their next homes. Any agent that pays Zillow a monthly fee can advertise their listing. Zillow’s Premier Agent websites are available for $10 a month.

Real estate agents can publish listings on the Zillow property portal and get paid through the number of ads users see in a specific zip code. Three levels are available- gold, silver and platinum, which designate its visibility and scope.

Ad Sales to Mortgage Lenders

Zillow also sells advertising space to businesses such as interior designers, general contractors, home organization retailers, etc. Zillow charges mortgage lenders based on CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per thousand impressions).

IMT Segment

Zillow generates revenue from marketing services, software, and other technology solutions under the IMT segment (Internet, Media, and Technology).

Mortgages Segment

In October 2018, Zillow purchased Mortgage Lenders of America and began its operations as a licensed lender. Shortly after, it rebranded the service to Zillow Home Loans. Either borrow money or refinance your home for this segment.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Building an App like Zillow

A great website like Zillow can help your business in so many ways, from increasing search engine ranking and driving more traffic to your business to allowing potential customers to contact you via the site, request additional information about your products and services, and even schedule a time to visit your business or home. A step-by-step guide on building an app like Zillow can help you develop the website that will transform your business.

Validate Your Idea

It’s important to validate your idea before you get too far into it. Validation can come in many forms, such as doing customer interviews, conducting market research or developing a prototype of your product. If you have made it this far and validated your idea, congratulations! You are on the right track! Now that you have a validated idea let’s move on to the next step.

Know the Types of Apps

There are two types of applications for developing a real estate app. The first is an app from a third-party company, and the second is an agency-based app.

The Agency App

As its name suggests, the app for agencies is for specific real estate agencies. The agency’s app acts as the company’s digital face and displays all the homes listed and their agents to facilitate client access.

The agency app lets them track their market performance by determining how many customers interact through the app and the users’ demands. It’s an essential instrument for business management and development.

The Third-Party Model

The third-party model or aggregator is an intermediary between agents and customers. The third-party model is different from the agency’s app in the way it functions.

Users can sign up as sellers or buyers, or freelancer agents. The app permits freelancers to publish their listings and expand their network.

On the other hand, the buyer may contact local agents, peruse their listings, and look for homes that appeal to them.
Sellers can sign up for an account on the site and talk to brokers about questions about the property they want to sell. The third-party app acts as a place for buyers and agents to interact quickly and efficiently.

Choose Your Platform

The next step is to choose your platform. You’ll need a web design if you’re looking for a website accessible on all devices. If you want your app for iOS and Android, go with native mobile app development. Keep in mind that there are pros & cons to each approach.

For example, a web design can be accessed anytime, anywhere, but it won’t work as well on smaller screens like tablets or phones. Native mobile apps provide the best experience for tablet and phone users but require more upfront cost and time investment because they’re built from scratch rather than using templates.

Design Your User Interface

Designing your user interface is an essential step in this process. How you lay out your website and offer features will separate you from the competition. It is important to know your target audience before designing anything to cater to their needs and preferences.

Start Developing Your App

The next step is to start the development process of your app. If you already have a design for the interface, create mockups that reflect your idea and what you want it to look like. Make sure all the designs align with the app’s project goals and purpose. If you are unsure about how to design, try making a prototype by sketching out ideas on paper or creating a wireframe model. The goal is to understand what will work and what won’t. Once you have determined this, it’s time for some coding!

Monetization Strategy

  1. Promotions – In selling promotional offers, real estate websites are geared towards real estate firms.
  2. Advertisement – The platform can collect the most money by selling ads to other companies because it’s given these companies direct access to potential customers. They will buy up this advertising space for enormous prices because these companies have immense marketing budgets. The platform can charge a fee based on the number of leads produced.
  3. Subscriptions – The mortgage subscription model links custom quotation facilities with the management platform. It can be marketed to brokers and agents.

We at Esferasoft provide Zillow clone app development services to fulfil our client’s requirements who want to Build an app similar to Zillow.

7 Must-Have Features of Real Estate Apps Like Zillow or Trulia

How can you create an app that’s as wildly popular as Zillow or Trulia? Follow these seven straightforward steps, and you’ll be nicely on your way to success in no time!

The ability to search for homes by location

Home search apps are a great way to find the perfect place. The ability to search by location is one of the most important features. You can usually narrow your search by price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage and other amenities such as community features. 

If you’re looking for a Zillow-like app development company, hire Zillow app developer today!

User Profiles

Apps like Zillow target different user segments only via one app, so developers must allow users to create their profiles. Different sets of users can complete different tasks based on their profiles, such as sellers, buyers, and real estate agents.

Interactive Maps

Any property search mobile application must integrate proper maps to give end users valuable information. This is the only way to make sure that property seekers arrive at the right location promptly.

You may also want to consider integrating a smart map feature in the application to provide information about nearby places. Data and statistics about schools, banks, hospitals, the average income of residents, crime rate, and other nearby locations can be displayed on your website.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are an incredible tool in the modern marketing arsenal. The many advantages of push notifications are worth looking into. To stay at the shelter of customers’ minds and to keep them coming back, these features apply just as well to mobile apps as they do to e-commerce websites. Installing the push notification function in the app, users will receive notifications regarding changes in message texts and other notifications, as well as their event-planning schedule.

Pictures & Street View

Since pictures give the audience a more realistic view, they are usually the most liked or appreciated features of real estate websites. 

You can also include 360-degree virtual tours and indoor videos of a building if you can afford it. 

Virtual Tours

One feature that a lot of apps have is virtual tours. It gives home buyers a chance to see what the inside and outside of the house look like before they make an offer. It’s also important to have easy access to all information about the property, including tax records, recent sales prices, square footage, etc. This can be done through an app.

The ability to contact a real estate agent directly from the app

One of the most important features a real estate app should have is the ability to contact a real estate agent directly from the app. With this feature, users can get in touch with agents when they need help finding a home, and someone is there to answer their questions. The agent will be notified immediately, so they can respond and make an offer on the home that suits you best. This way, you can work with someone who knows how to find homes in your price range and understands what you are looking for in your future home. 

Esferasoft, Zillow like app development company, is one of the top services worldwide for developing apps like Zillow.

The Cost to Build App Similar to the Real Estate Business app Like Zillow

The cost of an app like Zillow varies considerably depending on several factors. The most important ones include the complexity of the project, the size & location of your development team and other performance-making tools or services.

If your property search app includes all the same features and technical specifications as shared below, it should cost about USD 85,000 to USD 95,000.

Before investing your budget in app development, get a quick, bare-bones prototype created and test it with users, so you can know what app people want to use. And when you’ve created your app, be sure to get your strategy to monetize the app well.

Final Words

We hope you now have a realistic overview of the real estate app development process and its associated costs. Whether your app is for Android or iPhone, it’s always tailored to be useful for buying, selling, or renting properties.

Whether you’re buying a home, selling your home, or peeking for a new place to live, real estate apps like Zillow and Trulia are excellent resources for getting the most up-to-date information about homes in the area. These apps also make it easy to find listings that meet your needs and preferences. The best part is these apps have all sorts of awesome features!

If you’re considering creating an app for real estate purposes, we would love to help. We’re a Zillow like app development company that specializes in building functional and beautiful apps. Our developers have created over 2000 apps in the past ten years – so we know what it takes to create something special. Hire Zillow app developer now.

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