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Zillow vs. Realtor.com Leads – Which Are Better in 2021?

Every real estate agent is familiar with Zillow and Realtor.com. But how does each platform’s lead service compare to the other? In this post, we’ll look at Zillow vs. Realtor.com leads services to see which one you should invest in to grow your real estate business.

How Zillow Leads Work

Zillow’s lead service is called Premier Agent. When you sign up to join the Premier Agent program, you can take advantage of several features:

  • Featured ad placements on property listings in your zip code, whether they’re your listings or not
  • Top placement on Zillow Agent Finder
  • Exposure across Zillow’s other affiliated sites, including Trulia
  • Good reviews are highlighted on your profile
  • IDX Website and Zillow CRM

So when an interested buyer clicks on a listing they are interested in, they will see your ad right beside it as the first name on a list of other Realtors. They can then reach out to you if they are interested in working with you.

Cost

Zillow Premier Agent gives you flexibility in how you’d like to pursue your advertising goals. You can advertise month-to-month or sign a six-month contract for a minimum amount each month. If you sign a contract, you will get an ad bonus to fund more advertisements.

The cost of leads from Zillow Premier Agent will depend on the average price of homes in your location and the amount of competition from other agents.

For example, you will have to pay more if your market is New York City, where there is more competition from other agents and homes have a higher value. On the other hand, you will pay less than if your market is a small town in Indiana.

On average, you can expect to pay around $20 to $60 per 1,000 impressions. Zillow recommends you pay for at least 5,000 impressions per month to get the most effective results for your investment. If just 1% of those impressions contact you, and you then convert 4% of them, that comes out to a cost of $100 per lead.

To be effective with Zillow Premier Agent, it takes a larger budget, which may or may not be worth the spend depending on how many leads you can expect to get out of it. It might also be harder for new agents who don’t have a large budget yet. 

To see if Zillow leads are worth it the cost for you, you will have to consider your location, competition, and budget. In addition, it will be up to you to qualify all the leads who reach out to you.

A magnet attracting leads

Zillow Flex

For agents who don’t have a larger budget to work with, Zillow recently began offering an alternative payment structure called Zillow Flex.

This program works by providing agents with leads but only charging if a transaction goes to closing. At the moment, Zillow Flex is only offered in a select number of markets. However, it is likely to be rolled out on a national scale soon.

How Realtor.com Leads Work

Realtor.com’s lead service is called Connections Plus. Zillow vs. Realtor.com leads services work similarly, but Realtor.com has a few key differences.

First, while Premier Agent works by the lead reaching out to you first after checking out your profile, Connections Plus works by sending out a lead to all the agents in a specific area. Whichever agent contacts that lead first has the best chance of working with them.

When you sign for the Connections Plus program, you get a range of benefits for your business:

  • Automated email and text responses to engage your lead until you have time to reach out.
  • Ability to track data from up to 150 different lead sources, all in Realtor.com’s CRM system.
  • Ability to add agents from your team into your database and share leads with them.
  • Connections Plus mobile app.
  • Information about the lead, including contact information, recent searches on Realtor.com, and social media profiles if available.

The program works when a buyer expresses interest in a property and then decides to fill out a form to contact an agent. Realtor.com collects all these different leads and then sends them out to you and other Realtors in the area. Like Zillow, it is your job to qualify the leads and see if they are worth pursuing.

Cost

If you’re comparing the cost of Zillow vs. Realtor.com leads, Connections Plus is the slightly cheaper option. However, similar to Premier Agents will depend on a couple of different factors. 

The cost will depend on what zip code you are in, and whether you choose to pay extra for exclusive leads rather than non-exclusive leads.

Realtor.com sends non-exclusive leads to all agents in a zip code, and they are essentially first-come, first-serve. Whoever contacts the lead first has a higher chance of working with them. Non-exclusive leads are also less expensive.

Exclusive leads, on the other hand, are more expensive. You are essentially paying a larger fee to be the only agent in your zip code. Realtor.com will send all the leads in the area only to you.

On average, the monthly cost for non-exclusive leads starts at $200 per month, while exclusive leads cost $1,000 per month. But to find accurate pricing information and get a quote for your area, contact a sales rep from Realtor.com.

In addition, when you sign up for Connections Plus you will have to commit to a six or 12-month contract. Use your location and desired budget to decide if you can afford the cost. Read my full post on whether Realtor.com leads are worth it.

A tablet on a desk with the words "lead generation"

Which One Is Better?

In early 2021, Zillow had 221 million monthly unique users on its site. In comparison, Realtor.com had 86 million monthly unique users in 2020.

With both sites getting so much traffic, they are both a fantastic source of leads that you can incorporate into your lead generation strategy.

But which one is best? Overall, Zillow is slightly better than Realtor.com. Because the platform gets more traffic, you will naturally get more exposure and engagement. In addition, Zillow has a wider variety of listings compared to Realtor.com.

While Realtor.com only uses listings submitted by agents to the MLS, Zillow also includes FSBO listings on their site.

But ultimately, the answer to the Zillow vs. Realtor.com debate will depend on your unique situation. For example, if you are a newer agent and don’t have a large budget to work with, Realtor.com might be a better fit for you.

Or if you’re a brand new agent just getting started on Zillow, it probably won’t be a good idea to become a Premier Agent because your profile likely won’t have many reviews yet. With no reviews, it will be hard to convince buyers to work with you.

Or if your market is an area that doesn’t get many leads in the first place, then investing in either one of these lead services may not be worth it for you at the moment.

If you decide Zillow and Realtor.com are not the right option for you, check out my preferred lead generation method: Google PPC Ads.  You can generate the same high-quality leads as Zillow and Realtor.com but at a quarter of the price.  It takes more work to get it setup, but the return on investment is worth it over time.  Click the video below to see how I setup my Google PPC ads.

Final Thoughts on Zillow vs. Realtor.com Leads

It’s also important to remember that different agents will get different results, even if they use the same site. For example, success with Zillow vs. Realtor.com lead services comes down to several factors. These include how filled out your profile is, the quality of your profile photo, how many reviews you have, and your response time and follow-up strategy when reaching out to the leads.

Do you have experience with Zillow or Realtor com leads? Which one do you think is better? Let me know in the comments below!

Kyle Handy

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2 Comments

  1. Fantastic post. This is a very fair and objective review. I am hoping to find the same type of review comparing Market Leader and BoldLeads.

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