Zillow Rent Connect aims to hold multifamily listings to higher standard

Program intended to boost quality of both leads and listings

Zillow has launched a program for multifamily property management firms that should improve the quality of leads that the listing portal feeds to the firms, and boost the accuracy and timeliness of Zillow’s multifamily rental listings.

“Zillow Rent Connect” is available only to property management firms that oversee a building with 50 or more units. The program guarantees that companies that pay for the service will always receive a name, email address and phone number for each lead, and that Zillow will not send the same lead to property managers overseeing nearby buildings. 

Apartment shoppers image via Shutterstock.
Apartment shoppers image via Shutterstock.

Believe it or not, that’s normally a lot to expect from a listing site in the multifamily lead-generation business, said Zillow Chief Revenue Officer Greg Schwartz.

Sometimes rental websites will route the contact information of a consumer to firms representing nearby multifamily buildings, in addition to the one that the consumer actually inquires about, according to Schwartz. The contact information for such leads is also often incomplete or inaccurate, he said.

Zillow also won’t charge Zillow Rent Connect participants for the same lead twice, and will conduct monthly and quarterly audits to verify that phone numbers displayed with multifamily listings are accurate. Traditionally, close to 50 percent of such numbers on rental sites “lead to dead ends,” Schwartz said.

The lead-generation process part of Zillow Rent Connect has been certified by the accounting firm Ernst & Young. The audit “confirms that we actually comply with the stands that we actually set out in our contract,” Schwartz said.

Zillow will also integrate its listings database with Zillow Rent Connect participants’ property management systems to furnish its multifamily listings with real-time pricing and availability information, and feed leads directly into those systems.

That also raises the bar, Schwartz said. Multifamily listings often do not show such pricing and availability information for individual units, forcing consumers to fill out lead forms that sites may send to multiple property managers, he said.

Zillow is also changing its pricing model for multifamily property management advertisers from a subscription model to a cost-per-lead model.


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