Zillow has debuted a new feature that will allow consumers to request tours of newly built homes simply by clicking a button on its website.
The new feature, called On-site Tour Booking, is available to homebuilders who use Zillow’s Promoted Communities — a service the company says can help boost exposure for newly constructed houses. After Promoted Communities homebuilders opt in, their homes will appear on Zillow’s website with buttons that let consumers request tours on an upcoming date.
Zillow declined to say how many homebuilders are participating in Promoted Communities, or how much they pay to use the program. However, a company spokesperson told Inman in an email that On-site Tour Booking is available to all Promoted Communities clients for no additional cost.
The spokesperson also said that the new On-site Tour Booking launched a couple of weeks ago after initial tests with a few different builders.
Promoted Communities first launched in 2016 and is geared toward high-volume homebuilders with 150 or more closings per year. The builders pay a fee to post their newly constructed properties on Zillow’s website. The company says the service can help ” level the playing field” as new construction competes for buyers against existing homes.
After its debut, the Promoted Communities program generated some controversy because it meant Zillow was charging to display some listings that it had previously posted for free.
In 2018, Zillow also rolled out a handful of discounted tools for top homebuilders.
Zillow’s spokesperson told Inman that the new On-site Tour Booking is similar to a feature for existing homes that lets consumers book tours with Premier Agent members, or those real estate professionals who pay to be a part of the company’s lead generation service.
Online brokerage and Zillow rival Redfin also lets homebuyers book tours with the click of a button. Redfin launched its tour request feature in 2015.
In Zillow’s case, the company believes the new On-site Tour Booking feature should be a boon to builders. In an email, Zillow’s spokesperson said that 64 percent of buyers consider new construction but only 9 percent actually end up buying a a newly built house.
“On-site Tour Booking adds to Zillow’s efforts to encourage more consumer interest in new build homes,” the spokesperson added. “In early tests, this feature led to builders receiving more leads overall.”
Update: This post was updated after publication with addition information from Zillow.