Real estate listings site Zillow is also one of the most popular portals for finding rental homes, in addition to properties for sale. Now, the company is adding new tools for landlords to manage their tenants once they’ve moved in.
On Tuesday Zillow said its new property management tools are designed to bring the landlord-renter relationship online. The company is adding tools for handling rental payments and collection online, as well as an online application process that allows renters to apply to multiple properties at the same time.
Zillow President Jeremy Wacksman explained that customers have been demanding this kind of service for some time, specifically an offering that covers everything from search to application to payments.
“However most landlords don’t have the resources to offer these services,” Wacksman said. “We’re excited to provide the technology to help renters and landlords have a better experience.”
The Zillow Rental Manager service won’t be free of course, as renters will be required to pay a $29 fee to apply online, though this is a one-time fee that allows them to submit multiple applications. Credit checks will be handled by Experian, while a company called Checkr will handle background checks and eviction histories.
"Many renters live in highly competitive markets and are on tight timelines - half of renters have less than three months' notice to find a place to live - so speed is also important," Zillow said in a statement. "In a typical search, renters fill out three applications with an average cost of $40 each, so a feature like online applications will streamline the process and help renters secure their next home quickly, efficiently, while saving money."
The move is just the latest in Zillow’s efforts to expand its services outside of basic listings. The company last year moved into the property business itself with Zillow Offers, a service wherein it buys properties themselves sight unseen before doing them up and selling them on. Zillow Offers is currently available to homeowners in Las Vegas and Phoenix, and is set to expand to Atlanta later this year.
Zillow Offers puts the company in direct competition with companies such as Offerpad and Opendoor.