How To Create A Real Estate Website Like Zillow & Trulia

How To Create A Real Estate Website Like Zillow & Trulia

How To Create A Real Estate Website Like Zillow & Trulia

With 245 million users and $ 3.3 billion in tax income, Zillow is rightfully the most successful real estate platform in the united states !
Its popularity can be explained by the fact that over the years Zillow has become about everything to everyone in the real estate industry :

  • For buyers, it is the largest openly available database of home listings in the US and an array of useful free tools for home-shopping
  • For sellers, it is an opportunity to market the house in front of the biggest audience of buyers
  • For industry professionals, it is the biggest advertising network on the market.

Want to follow Zillow ’ s footsteps ?
then, let ’ s analyze Zillow ’ second business. Let ’ s analyze its strengths and weaknesses, adenine well as see what it takes to create a web site like Zillow .

Zillow Inc., The Great and the Mighty

In the past, property sellers and buyers relied entirely on newspaper advertisements, generic bribe and sell sites, and agents. then in 2006, early Microsoft and Expedia executives Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink decided that there should be a better way to buy and sell houses. Zillow revolutionized the industry by openly sharing the countrywide theater listings data, which has once been available merely to very estate of the realm professionals .
Since then, Zillow grew into a elephantine group of companies that together cover the entire property buy hertz : buy, renting, sell, and finance. Its brands range from real-estate marketplaces for end clients to commercialize software for agents and brokers .
One of such marketplaces is Trulia, which has been a long rival of Zillow up until Zillow has acquired it for $ 2.5 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction in 2015 .
Zillow portfolio of brands
Zillow ’ randomness mission is : “ to build the largest, most trusted and vibrant home-related marketplace in the world ” .
Over a billion dollars in revenues late, one can safely say they ’ ve already achieved it. indeed, the company ’ sulfur results are astounding : 195 million alone users a month and 110 million houses !
Key Metrics Zillow
Get a monetary value estimate for your real number estate web site .
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Competitive Landscape

here are the circus tent real estate platforms of the US, Canada, Europe, and Singapore divided by their audience size .

Website Average users per month (according to ahrefs)* Geography Peculiarities
Zillow 63.8M USA, Canada Listings are generated from multiple sources with a bad focus on user-generated listings
Realtor 34.4M USA portal site of the National Association of Realtors in the USA ( MLS listings ) .
Trulia 17.2M USA Focus on information about neighborhoods ( user-generated+MLS ) .
Redfin 8.7M USA, Canada brokerage run platform with MLS listings .
Homes 5.6M USA, Canada Homes is one of the oldest websites that use MLS .
Homesnap 227K USA The web site focuses primarily on agents and uses MLS data.
Rightmove 33.5M UK The largest real estate portal in the UK.
Zoopla 10.1M UK The second largest property portal in the UK, uses various open-sources of listings, such as the Royal Mail’s postcode database and the HM Land Registry property transactions database.
Immo Scout24 12.5M Germany German real estate marketplace.
Funda 9M the Netherlands The leading homes platform in Holland. 5.4M Norway Norwigian housing platform.
Hemnet 4.9M Sweeden Go-to place for property search in Sweeden.
Etuovi 3.3M Finland The main property portal of Finland, has a pay-to-list model and virtual tours.
boligsiden 1.2M Denmark Dannish real estate platform.
PropertyGuru 1.2K Singapore The main real estate website of Singapore.

*Organic traffic data from ahrefs, September 2021 .

Business Model, More than the Advertising platform

Since its creation and until recently, Zillow has been strictly a media clientele. This means that Zillow concentrated only on providing a platform for agents and mortgage providers to advertise their services and refrained from getting involved in any house-related transactions .
not anymore ! now they ’ ve besides gotten into the rend and even theater buy business .
presently, the independent gross streams of Zillow are :

  • ‘Primer Agent’
  • Rentals
  • Mortgages
  • Zillow Offers (New!)
  • Other

The gross from the home-selling business called ‘ Zillow Offers ’ is not so far reflected since it has entirely been launched recently. Let ’ s take a look at each tax income pour one-by-one .

Premier Agent

9 out of 10 Americans use an agentive role to sell or buy their home and guys from Zillow know this identical well. They are not trying to replace agents, rather, they view agents as a identical lucrative prey audience. In fact, the major part of Zillow revenues, which amounts to $ 1 billion, comes from Premier agents. Zillow offers a suite of products to agents that are marketed as ‘ Premier Agent ’, which includes :

  • Advertising on Zillow and Trulia – agents pay a fee that depends on the Zip Code, to appear in home searches.
  • My Agent – is an opportunity for an agent to be the only agent a buyer sees next to listings.
  • Premier Agent CRM – is a tool to manage relations with potential and current clients.
  • Premier Agent Direct – is an array of options to advertise listings for agents.

Zillow products for agents
basically, Zillow covers all substantive business needs of an agent, such as :

  • Attracting buyers and sellers
  • Promoting listings
  • Promoting the representation and agents
  • Managing relations with existing and likely clients

This is credibly one of the reasons why this commercial enterprise has been therefore successful .


The party besides owns the largest rental network in the US called Zillow Group Rentals that is comprised of Zillow, Trulia, and HotPads. The network brings around $ 110 million in tax income, which is 10 % of the sum group tax income .
The rental tax income comes primarily from place managers that pay for ad on the net on a monetary value per precede, cost per rent, and cost per click basis .
There are two rental advertise products :

  • Zillow Rent Connect – lead generation tool for large property management companies. Service includes the display of listings across the Zillow rental network and transferring all inquiries directly to property managers.
  • Zillow Rent Connect Boost – PPC advertising for multi-family development companies where advertisements are shown above the renter’s search results on Zillow websites for real estate.

Zillow connect boost advertising
In 2018, Zillow has besides launched a hardened of tools to simplify the apartment hunting process for renters. For $29 renters can get their :

  • credit reputation from Experian
  • eviction history
  • setting check from Checkr


Getting a mortgage is an authoritative and much conscientious mistreat in the home-buying cycle. That is why Zillow decided to incorporate tools and information to help buyers find the right mortgage solution. This not alone assists buyers in their travel but besides provides lenders with an opportunity to grocery store themselves to their potential clients .
In 2017, Zillow platforms have received 22.7 million mortgage lend information requests. As a consequence, Zillow has earned $71 million in advertising services for lenders .
Zillow offers two advertise products to mortgage lenders :

  • Custom quotes – is a mortgage shopping tool with which consumers can compare quotes from lenders based on the information they’ve put in.

customized rates Zillow

  • Long-form quotes – is a way for consumers to get connected to the allow lenders based on the information they ’ ve supplied in the long-form survey .

long form Zillow
Lenders pay Zillow for the advertise services either on a subscription basis or a per-lead basis. The costs depend on the loan amounts, credit score, and loanword type .
To ensure fairness for the consumers, Zillow uses a denounce arrangement for lenders. Consumers rate lenders and this rat play a big character in how often a lender appears in ratings and/or how often they get referrals .

Zillow Offers

In 2018 Zillow has introduced Zillow Offers, a new business for purchasing homes from sellers. Basically, the work goes like this – Zillow buys a property, updates and renovates it, and then sells them to buyers with a markup .
The service is intended for homeowners that want to avoid the fuss of selling their house. They have the option to request a quotation directly from Zillow. If they like the offer they can sell their house to Zillow. If they like to get early offers, they can list their house on Zillow and be connected to an agent .
Zillow has already introduced this serve in a match of cities ( Phoenix, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Denver ) and is going to continue the expansion .
The company has stated that if they manage to occupy a 5% market share, they could earn $1 billion in profits annually .
then far, Zillow Offers are not profitable due to huge operational costs connected to the home learning, renovation, alimony, and deal. That is why they ’ ve temporarily terminated the service in March 2020 due to the pandemic .
Zillow Offers

Why Create a Website Like Zillow or Trulia?

You probably already know why this world needs another Zillow, otherwise, you wouldn ’ triiodothyronine be here, researching this subject, would you ?
however, before we proceed to deep diving into how to create a web site like Zillow. Let us first base look at “ why ” you would do this project in the first target. Knowing your “ why ” is a bang-up way to start any endeavor .

indeed here is our reasoning as to why it may be deserving competing with the Zillow monster. The basic mind is to play on the weaknesses of your competitors ( believe it or not, Zillow besides has them ! ) and keep off being smashed by their strengths. Your “ why ” or rationality for creating another servicing is to offer a better alternate to sellers and agents. In order to do that, you need to first know those strengths and weaknesses, a well as external opportunities and threats in truth well. sol here is the basic SWOT analysis of Zillow.

Strengths                                                             Weaknesses
  • Brand and scale All Zillow marketplaces combined occupy by far the largest market share.
  • Enormous homes database Zillow owns a database of over 110 million homes in the US, a result of the complex aggregation of listings data from a multitude of sources and contributions by the users.
  • Domination of mobile home-shopping Zillow operates over 50 mobile apps combined. Two-thirds of the Zillow brand usage is on mobile.
  • A wide array of free tools for consumers Beyond the smart listing search, Zillow also offers Zestimate home estimator, mortgage calculator, Zillow rental manager, and so on.
  • Powerful technology for professionals Zillow has a portfolio of robust software for the industry professionals like Premier Agent, a real estate CRM, Dotloop for transaction management, and Bridge Interactive for listings management.
  • Great advertising opportunities for professionals Having the largest audience of property buyers and sellers in the US, Zillow offers the largest advertising platform for agents/brokers, mortgage lenders, property managers, and other industry professionals.
  • Outdated listings data Zillow is often criticized for having outdated home data, like having listings of properties ‘For Sale’ that have already been sold months ago. 
  • Advertising is too expensive Agents and brokers often complain that advertising at Zillow is too expensive and it is extremely hard or impossible to get a positive ROI. A six months advertising contract can cost up to $8,400 for 18 leads per month.
  • Bad leads Agents are also not happy about the quality of those ‘expensive’ leads. They say that most of them are not sales-ready.
  • Inaccurate Zestimates Zillow’s house value estimates are said to be inconsistent and inaccurate. Although Zestimate is not intended to replace home appraisal, it can still hurt consumers, especially sellers. It got to a point that sellers sued Zillow for unfair business practices due to an inaccurate valuation of properties.
Opportunities Threats
  • Large market opportunities In 2017, 5.5 million existing and 608 thousand new homes were sold in the US. To attract clients, US agents and brokers have spent $7.2 billion on advertising.
  • Highly fragmented market There is no openly available data for property listings for consumers, besides posted listings on marketplaces.
  • The increasing role of technology 90% of home searching is conducted online.
  • Competition One of the competitors can become strong enough to squeeze Zillow out of its leadership position.
  • Lawsuits Zillow has already faced a number of lawsuits. Depending on their severity, some of them can pose serious threats to the company.

Judging by the weaknesses stated above, one of the best ways to compete with Zillow is with a great local strategy. Zillow is a ball-shaped colossus company by nature. This is both their persuasiveness and weakness. They can not provide equally great data and services to all their users in all areas. Concentrating on a particular geographic area can have a distribute of benefits :

  • exceptionally accurate and complete listings data
  • content and tools that are relevant to the particular region and target audience
  • Personalization
  • Targeted advertise .

Let ‘s discuss estimates for your Zillow-like web site !
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How Hard is it to Create a Website like Zillow?

Simply put, it is very hard !
The things mentioned above are not flush the point of the Zillow crisphead lettuce. The web site is like a swiss army knife with loads of tools for home sellers, buyers, and diligence professionals. They have a big crew dedicated to it, working 24/7. According to Aberdeen, the company spent $ 20.8 million on engineering in 2018 alone .
however, Zillow, as you see it now, wasn ’ thymine built in one day or in one sound. It was a gradual development process. They ’ ve started with the kernel functionality of a listings website then added functionalities and features along the way .
If you don ’ t have deoxyadenosine monophosphate much money as Zillow, the only way to start is with a actually smart differentiated “ minimum feasible product ” or MVP .
If you are diffident of what should go into your MVP you can use a Kano review. It is a good tool to determine the effect functionality and how electric potential or current users perceive the utility of your product ’ sulfur features. By the end of the review you should be able to categorize all your features into three categories :

  • Mandatory features – the features that users expect by default, e.g. like being able to register/login on a website…
  • Linear features – the core features, the ones that make users go to your website instead of somebody else’s, e.g. the most complete home-listings data.
  • Exciter features – the nice-to-have features that are not expected by users, but that add value to their experience, e.g. like Zestimate.

This categorization will help you determine what features should go into your MVP and which should be left for later phases .
As mentioned before, a view is a well way to do this. Below we plowshare a list of linear and exciter features that will help you get started .

Linear/Core Features: Help Them Find or Sell Their House

What is the most important part of a listings web site ? Listings ! ( Duh ! ) .
consequently, the most essential features of a web site like Zillow are :

  1. A listings database
  2. Listings pages
  3. Robust search

Let ‘s go over each of them .

1. Listings Database

so where will you get your inventory from ? Zillow uses a combination of sources :

  • Multiple Listings Service
  • User contributions

Most of the property websites, including Zillow, trust on Multiple Listings Service or MLS for their home plate listings data. This is one of the best ways to get access to a draw of relevant listings data .
however, MLS integration can be challenging. First of all, you need to be a license agent/broker in your region ( sulfur ) and you need to be a extremity of a particular realtor arrangement. These requirements depend on the MLS in your area ( mho ) .
besides, if you plan to use data from unlike MLS systems, you might encounter a trouble in data calibration. Each MLS uses its own means of keeping listings data ( data fields, formats, etc. ) which makes it difficult to display multiple MLS feeds on your web site. Tools like Spark API can help you to streamline access to data and ensure it ’ s displayed correctly .
In summation to that, whenever Zillow CEO and representatives get a luck, they always mention that part of their listings is contributed directly by users. namely, out of 110 million listings, 80 million have been updated by users .
It is bang-up to be the basal source of data for a listings web site ! therefore, you need to make surely you have all the necessity functionality that allows sellers and agents to upload their own listings on your web site, like :

  • Form to fill out about a property
  • Picture and video upload
  • Description field

for sale by owner Zillow

2. Robust Search

flush if you have the greatest listings database, it would have little value without a commodious and full-bodied search. Zillow offers identical sophisticated search functionality that can be divided into two categories :

  • Location
  • Filters

Zillow ‘s placement search is very impressive. Users can start searching by entering a energy code and continue with a map search :

  • Conduct a polygon search by drawing a circle around an area a user is interested in
  • Search for properties that are near schools
  • Hover over the dots to see the listings

Map search Zillow
And, as you can see, all of this is powered by Google Maps. Both Zillow and its competitors use Google Maps for their geospatial search. In addition to this, buyers can use a multitude of filters to narrow down their search :

  • Listings type
  • price
  • home type
  • Number of beds
  • other – number of baths, square feet, batch size, year built, keywords, etc .

Zillow search filters

3. Listings Pages

The listing presentation is also very important. Listings pages need to be informative and attractive. Zillow listing pages contain:

  • Property information – a lot of pictures, property descriptions, and property facts
  • Zestimate – automatic home valuation by Zillow
  • Price/tax history
  • Mortgage calculator
  • Home values in the neighborhood
  • Nearby schools with a GreatSchools rating
  • List of agents and mortgage lenders

The list presentation is besides very crucial. Listings pages need to be instructive and attractive. Zillow list pages contain : It is identical authoritative that the data is presented in a identical convenient user-friendly manner .
listings page zillow

Exciter Feature: Home ‘Zestimation’ at the Push of a Button

Zillow has a batch of exciter features, in fact, thus many that we wouldn ’ thyroxine be able to cover them in one article. So I suggest we take a front at their most celebrated and controversial feature – Zestimate .
Zestimate is a great model of an exciter sport. It is a identical ambitious project aimed at automating the estimate of the house rate. Although, they ’ ve been very careful to warn everyone that Zestimate is not intended to replace the house appraisal, it ’ s a start point and a instrument for those curious about their firm worth .
however, this feature has been adored and hated by millions. The relief of finding out the current price of your firm with a tug of a push button is both a good thing and a regretful thing. The good thing is that you have a immediate but possibly inaccurate appraisal of your house. The bad thing is that buyers can lowball you with offers based on the low and inaccurate Zestimate result .
so how does Zillow arrive at those numbers ? Zestimate is a statistical model, it is a chic blend of big data and artificial news .
Zestimates are based on :

  • Past sales data – past sales prices, mortgage records, prior tax assessments
  • Physical features of a house – bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, neighborhood, proximity to water, etc.

The summons of base ‘ Zestimation ’ consists of the postdate three steps :

  1. Cleaning the data
  2. discipline models
  3. Scoring

In the inaugural step, all the data that consists of past sales and physical home attributes is cleaned of any information that is irrelevant for determining the commercialize respect of a house. For example, a mother selling a house to her son below the market value, or a foreclosure are pricing outliers and should be excluded. then, Zillow ’ sulfur models are trained on the ‘ recently sold ’ data to form relationships between prices and physical characteristics of homes. This is how Zillow estimates the rate of things like extra square feet, proximity to a park or a lake, etc. In the third base step, these relationships are applied to all homes being Zestimated. The accuracy of the estimate depends on whether or not there are enough holocene transactions in the region. If there haven ’ t been many house sales recently, then the data used in the Zestimate model will be outdated and with a identical wide range ( the broad the range, the more likely there is an error in pricing ) .

How to Build an App Like Zillow and Trulia

strong mobile presence is vital in the substantial estate industry ( as in many others ), so oklahoman or former you will need a mobile app .
If you want to know how to make an app like Zillow or Trulia, you need to first think about who will be its primary users. Each group of users will require their own functionality, or even a different app all in all. It is likely that buyers and renters will be your biggest fluid target audience. Think what extra benefits can mobile house search give to such users :

  • Searching on-the-go with geolocation
  • Receiving instant push notifications about important updates the buyers are interested in
  • Messaging with agents.

How to make a mobile app like Zillow These features are of key importance and although about every major home search app offers them, there is decidedly room for improvement. If you take a attend at Zillow ’ s app reviews, you ’ ll see quite a issue of poor people reviews related to the inadequate search .
You need to bear in mind that it is particularly challenging to search through millions of listings on a mobile phone, so the most common drug user complaints are :

  • lack of filters to narrow down the search
  • Poor synchronization with the web version of the servicing
  • overload of irrelevant notifications and missing the important ones .

then, if you find a way to provide a better mobile exploiter experience, you will win the users from the competitors !

How Much Does it Cost to Create an MVP of a Listings Website?

It should have been clear by now that Zillow is a identical complex on-line very estate platform. It is not something that can be built with off-the-rack solutions .
The best and actually, the only way to build a real estate of the realm website like Zillow is with custom web growth. The technology stack depends on the skill-set of the development team. Our team uses LA ( N ) MP batch and one of the PHP frameworks ( Yii, Laravel, or Symfony ), which can work perfectly for a complex market like Zillow .
The cost of your MVP depends largely on what features and requirements you require for the first version of your platform. Below is an model of how much it may cost to create a real estate web site with PHP .
Listings web site MVP :

  • MLS integrations
  • Manual uploading of listings data by sellers and agents
  • Advanced listings search with Google Maps integration
  • Content Management System

A web site can cost $ 30,000-50,000 for an MVP, and $ 50,000-70,000 for a more advance platform with necessary MLS integration .
The appraisal is based on our hourly rate of $ 35, which includes the work of the front-end and back-end developers, ampere well as a project coach and QA engineer .

How to Apply This To Your Business

Creating another Zillow is not a firearm of patty, to say the least. It takes a focused differentiation scheme because you can not start with being everything to everyone like Zillow is nowadays. It besides takes a very skilled world wide web development team among many other things .
For the technical depart, you can consider us to help you make your own substantial estate of the realm website like Zillow. Our team is wired to build complex marketplaces and platforms like Zillow. We have been developing feature-rich websites with complex back-end since 2007 .

Get a free technical consultation and an estimate of your real estate listings web site !

Contact Us
Author: Kateryna Reshetilo is a drumhead of Marketing at Greenice vane development representation. She is creditworthy for uncovering new market opportunities in the eCommerce, Healthcare and eLearning spheres. Kateryna besides crafts and oversees the execution of marketing scheme at Greenice. When off-duty, she is a love wife and mother of a cute 8-year-old boy. She is besides passionate about climbing and windsurfing !

Co-author: Sergii Opanasenko, Co-Founder of Greenice. together with his commercial enterprise spouse, he oversees agency operations and cares for the wellbeing of the team. A former programmer, he is known for his critical think and problem-solving skills, vitamin a well as a passion for engineering. Outside of work, he is besides a loving conserve and father .

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Category : Finance

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