Zillow offers the largest online database of homes and is the most visited real estate destination on the web.
- Zillow Group
- Seattle, WA
- Annual revenue:
- $2 Billion (2022)
- Number of employees:
- About 5,700
Expedia founder Rich Barton and Senior VP Lloyd Frink founded Zillow to give the public easy access to information about buying and selling homes. When the website launched in 2006, it was the first and only way consumers could search online for homes nationwide and see an estimate of their — and their friends' — home values.
After expanding into rental and mortgage markets, Zillow went public in 2011 and quickly extended its presence in the marketplace by acquiring StreetEasy and HotPads in the next two years. In 2015, Zillow acquired its nearest competitor, Trulia, and announced the formation of Zillow Group.
Zillow entered the iBuying business with an initiative called Zillow Offers in 2018. The company hoped to leverage its vast data resources to buy and sell houses in bulk. By November 2021, however, the company began shutting Zillow Offers down, saying they had not been able to accurately forecast home values. This shift also led to significant layoffs: 2,000 people, comprising 25% of employees.
Zillow remains the largest online database of homes and is the most popular real estate site on the web, offering not just a glimpse of home values, but access to virtually every component of a residential real estate transaction. Originally positioning itself as a media company and relying on advertising revenue alone, Zillow now also provides real estate services in-house, from mortgages to closing.
Zillow Group brands include: Zillow, Trulia, StreetEasy, HotPads, Out East, Zillow Rentals, Zillow Premier Agent, Zillow Home Loans, Zillow Closing Services, Dotloop, Mortech, Bridge Interactive and ShowingTime.
How they describe themselves
"Today, the millions of people who rely on Zillow to start their home search can now rely on Zillow and its affiliates to help them finish it — with the same transparency, reliability and confidence they've come to expect from real estate's most trusted brand. We are early in this expansion, but we are well on our way."
What others are saying
Despite forays into iBuying and mortgages, Zillow's profit center remains its Premier Agent program. "This aspect of Zillow's business has never been the sexiest part of what it does," Fortune Magazine notes. "After all, lead generation has been around for decades, going back to telemarketers and even door-to-door salesmen. But its financials might get you going: In 2021, the division that includes lead gen was the company's second largest — and the only profitable portion of its balance sheet."
Despite criticism of the Zestimate among some in the industry, the site and the Zestimate are ingrained in the public mind, and the sheer size of the database helped Investopedia name Zillow as the best real estate website for anyone looking to buy or sell. "Zillow offers the most robust suite of tools for buyers, sellers, landlords, renters, agents, and other home professionals. Zillow's power and flexibility make it the best overall real estate website in our review."
Zillow focuses its charitable giving on groups working in the areas of housing security, economic opportunity and equitable industry, giving more than $8 million to over 190 nonprofits.
Did you know?
When the website featuring the Zestimate launched, Zillow wasn't prepared for the intense interest. Within three days, millions of visitors swamped the servers, crashing the site.