Zillow has partnered with property management software provider RealPage to inject real-time pricing and unit availability information into a swath of its rental inventory and provide call-center service and increased exposure to multifamily property management firms.

The move is intended to bolster the new “Zillow Rent Connect” program. Zillow launched the program last month to achieve two goals:

  • To improve the quality of leads that the listing portal feeds to property management firms overseeing multifamily buildings of 50 or more units — who must pay for their listings to appear on Zillow.
  • To boost the accuracy and timeliness of those firms’ rental listings.

“In addition to bringing more consumers to their listings, property managers will have new tools at their disposal to manage their properties more easily,” Zillow Chief Revenue Officer Greg  Schwartz said in a statement. “In turn, this will provide the 15 million rental shoppers who come to Zillow a better experience.”

As part of the agreement, Zillow will offer RealPage clients the option to have pricing and availability for individual apartment units appear across Zillow’s rental network. Schwartz has said that consumers typically can’t view that information on multifamily rental listings.

That could boost the usefulness of Zillow’s rental listings to consumers. Carrollton, Texas-based RealPage claims that its products assist more 9,200 customers managing about 9 million rental housing units.

Under the agreement, all multifamily companies that list rentals on Zillow — not just RealPage clients — will also be able to take advantage of RealPage’s contact center for help with fielding inquiries from prospective renters who find their listings on Zillow’s rental network.

One of the goals of Zillow Rent Connect was to ensure that renters reach the property management firms they are actually trying to reach, Schwartz previously told Inman News. Traditionally, close to 50 percent of phone numbers that appear on rental listings “lead to dead ends,” he said.

In exchange for integrating with Zillow’s rental network, RealPage’s rental website, MyNewPlace, will join Zillow.com, Yahoo! and HotPads as members of the Zillow Rental Network. Multifamily rental companies that market their listings on Zillow will have the option to have their listings appear on MyNewPlace.

“By adding pricing, unit availability and, most importantly, a live agent on the other end of each phone and email contact, we are confident that Zillow users will realize increased lead-to-lease conversion rates,” said Steve Winn, CEO of RealPage, in a statement.

Shares in RealPage were down sharply Friday after the the company announced preliminary second quarter results showing lower than expected revenue from products and services related to leasing activity, including organic lead-generation tools and screening. RealPage said it believes property owners are spending less on marketing and advertising due to low vacancy and resident turnover rates, and that it’s increased its market share by cutting prices.

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