Zillow released new tools on Tuesday aiming to make the listing giant the go-to place for Americans to search for, apply to and pay for rentals online.
The tools will allow renters across three of its brands — Zillow, Trulia and HotPads — to apply for multiple apartments through one application and even pay their rent online through these websites after they move in. But the features won’t be available on StreetEasy, Zillow’s popular platform for New York City real estate — at least not yet.
“Renters tell us they want the entire rental process to happen online, from search to application to payment,” Zillow President Jeremy Wacksman said in a statement. “However, most landlords don’t have the resources to offer these services. We’re excited to provide the technology to help renters and landlords have a better experience.”
New features on Zillow will let renters pay $29 to submit a single application multiple times throughout the apartment search process, or the search for any sort of home rental. That application will include a credit report from Experian and an eviction history and background check by the background check startup Checkr.
Property managers and landlords whose buildings have fewer than 50 units can sign up to use this platform. If a renter submits an application through Zillow to a property manager that hasn’t enabled applications through Zillow, that owner will be prompted to begin accepting applications through Zillow.
Zillow hopes that this centralized process will replace individual rental applications and credit checks that can cost renters up to $100 each. The company says that 35 million users visit its rental sites and mobile apps each month. That figure includes StreetEasy, even though StreetEasy home searchers won’t have access to these new features.
After move-in, renters will also be able to pay their rent via debit, credit or automatic payment through a Zillow platform.
For property owners, these features will all be incorporated into the Zillow Rental Manager, the platform used to manage rental listings on Zillow’s sites. Part of Zillow’s pitch to rental professionals is that the new features on its rental manager platform will eliminate the need to deal with outside credit check and background check vendors.
Zillow took inspiration from Zillow Instant Offers, its iBuying platform that allows homeowners to sell their homes to Zillow online, to similarly allow renters to complete more of their home search process online, spokesperson Kelsey Wickman said.
The end goal is for renters to be able to search for properties, schedule tours, apply to apartments, sign leases and pay rent through the same central location on Zillow. Right now, renters can search for properties, schedule tours and now apply and pay rent through Zillow if their landlord OKs it.