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Zillow announces new tools for renters

By Mike Wheatley | April 30, 2020

Renters can now search, find, apply for and lease a home digitally, all from the safety and comfort of their home and all through Zillow Rentals.

Zillow's new lease upload and online signing tools are now available nationwide on the Zillow Rental Manager. It allows landlords to quickly upload an existing lease form and send it to their tenant to review and sign electronically. This innovation is another puzzle piece in creating a seamless, one-stop online rental transaction.

"Zillow is reimagining real estate to make it easier than ever for people to move from one home to the next, whether they're buying, selling, financing or renting," said Douglas Pope, Zillow's VP of Rentals Product Teams. "That mission has never been more important, and it's the reason we're providing these free tools to landlords and property managers to help renters who still need to move but can't complete the transaction in person."

Lease upload and online signing tools arrive as rental shoppers signal they're eager to return their focus to their search for a new home. Rental visit traffic to Zillow is currently 5% above Zillow's pre-COVID expectations, rebounding in April after rental shopper visits were 26% lower than expected in March.

The new tools enable home renters to perform the following tasks online:

Find their next home: Renters can search for their next rental home on Zillow, Trulia, and HotPads, which combine to form the largest rental marketplace in the industry.

Go on a virtual tour: Some listings offer renters an immersive experience of a home through a Zillow 3D Home tour. Zillow 3D Home is a free iPhone app that allows landlords and property managers to capture and upload a virtual tour of a unit and integrate that tour into their rental listing on Zillow. In March, Zillow Rentals saw a 533% increase in the creation of 3D Home tours for rentals over February, and single family rental listings (homes with less than 50 units) with a 3D tour attracted 40% more visitors and drove 50% more saves compared to listings without a tour.

Apply online: For a flat fee, renters can submit one application through Zillow and use it with an unlimited number of participating properties within 30 days. The online application includes a credit report and background check. Renters can also offer additional context and explanation for any negative items on their rental and credit history.

Sign a digital lease: Through lease uploader and online signing technology, the renter and landlord can complete the lease signing process quickly and easily without ever needing to meet in person. These tools are free for landlords and property managers who use Zillow Rental Manager.

Pay rent online: Landlords and property managers can collect security deposits, rent and utilities payments, through Zillow Rental Manager. Renters can choose the payment type - ACH transfer, debit or credit - that best fits their needs and set up automatic payments.

According to Zillow research, a vast majority of renters (84%) were already using online resources when searching for their new home prior to the pandemic, and many preferred the convenience of digital tools.

Most renters (58%) said they would prefer applying for a rental online and 42% would prefer signing a lease digitally. Nearly half (47%) said they wished more listings offered virtual tours. It suggests while the current climate may speed up the adoption of these new technologies, consumer demand will keep them in place going forward.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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