Real estate sites like Zillow offer a convenient way for casually interested people and potential home buyers to browse and shop for homes within their budgets. They’re also a powerful tool for sellers to market their homes to those buyers.
Zillow’s popularity is often driven in large part by an extensive database of properties and development features. However, some users prefer different sites, due to perceived weaknesses in Zillow’s user experience and interface (UX/UI) or preferences for the functionality of other sites.
If you’re not completely satisfied with the Zillow experience, for whatever reason, consider these eight alternative sites.
Zillow: Pros, Cons, and Things to Consider
Zillow is a real estate market website that was founded in 2006. With over 234 million unique monthly users, it is the most popular real estate site on the web. It’s still not the only one: here are some Zillow alternatives to consider.
The Zillow Group brand also includes other real estate brands and affiliates, including Trulia, StreetEasy, and others.
👍 Pros of Zillow
Like many real estate sites, Zillow helps sellers and buyers in a number of ways.
One of the primary upsides of Zillow is the way it makes pricing visible and somewhat transparent to buyers, sellers, investors, and interested parties. By giving access to pricing information, Zillow helps users verify and confirm the pricing of both specific homes and similar homes in the area, or comps (short for comparable properties).
Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or rent, Zillow also offers a huge database of homes to browse by location, as well as robust filtering tools. Refine your search to hit a specific number or range of bedrooms or bathrooms, type of home (i.e., house, townhome, apartment, condo, etc.), and a host of other features. You can also sort your results according to price, date of listing, how recently the listing has been revised, and more. And if you’re home shopping with a friend, spouse, or partner, you can tag certain features and share homes with those features remotely.
Until quite recently, Zillow didn’t let users hide a specific property listing. If you had already viewed a particular house and decided it didn’t fit your needs, it would continue to pop up in your results for that search. However, this was apparently remedied in a recent update.
Another useful feature of Zillow is that for some geographical areas, Zillow-owned houses are open for viewing by home shoppers, even without an agent showing up to walk you through them. You don’t need an appointment and can unlock the front door through the Zillow app.
Finally, despite any shortcomings, Zillow has the ultimate benefit for shoppers and sellers of being free to use. You can also use its tools to share listings with others and learn more about tax and mortgage payments, school proximity, and more.
👎 Cons of Zillow
Zillow is popular and effective, but there are still reasons to look for Zillow alternatives.
Among Zillow’s drawbacks is the questionable accuracy of Zestimate, its proprietary valuation tool, which relies on sometimes-inaccurate tax records. The price it displays can make it harder to price and sell a specific property.
Zillow also charges subscribing agents a fairly steep fee for better placement of their listings. The site can also display agents other than the listing agents on a specific property’s page, making users think that the non-listing agent is familiar with the home and is the best choice for requesting a showing. In fact, only one is the listing agent; the others pay Zillow for the privilege of being listed and may know nothing about the home or neighborhood.
Finally, there are reports of limitations to the Android app’s editing functions. If you want to upload new photos to your listing, for example, you’ll have to use an iPhone or the site’s desktop version. This issue might be addressed in future updates.
8 Best Alternatives to Zillow
If you’re looking for Zillow alternatives, you have plenty of options.
|Site||Website||Apps||Buy vs. Rent|
|Zillow||Yes||Apple iOS; Android||Both|
|Redfin||Yes||Apple iOS; Android||Both|
|Realtor.com||Yes||Apple iOS; Android||Both|
|Trulia||Yes||Apple iOS; Android||Both|
|Homesnap||Yes||Apple iOS; Android||Both|
|Foreclosure.com||Yes||Apple iOS; Android||Buy only|
|Xome||Yes||Apple iOS; Android||Both|
Redfin is a top contender among Zillow alternatives. The site offers buyers who shop through the site a reduced 1% fee, instead of the national 3% average. Through RedfinNow, it also operates as an iBuyer—a business or corporate real estate investor that will make an instant offer for your home without the usual protracted process of viewings, negotiations, and financing.
The Redfin app simplifies home searching and even lets users draw a radius on a map for the app to search within. If you find a home that interests you, you can book a tour right from the app. Redfin also offers tools to help you figure out your mortgage, tax, and insurance payments based on your input.
Redfin was originally a brokerage and still employs a group of real estate agents whose compensation is determined in large part by the ratings they receive from Redfin users. The company also rebates part of the agent’s commission to the purchaser.
Redfin doesn’t offer quite as much detail about the neighborhood and surrounding areas for specified homes as Zillow. And if you take advantage of RedfinNow to sell your home quickly, you’ll wind up paying for the privilege. The service doesn’t charge sellers a broker fee, but it does assess an average service charge of 5% to 13%.
Realtor.com presents a more basic and less fully-featured user experience than Zillow, Redfin, and some other sites. Despite this, the site offers some robust search options.
For example, you can search for rentals in a particular neighborhood from a property’s listing. Each property’s result page also displays the area’s noise level rating, so if finding a quiet area is important to you—for example, if you work from home during the day—you’ll be able to evaluate each potential result accordingly. Moreover, if you keep seeing a home you’ve already rejected, you can hide it so you can focus on more relevant properties.
On the other hand, some users report glitchy experiences when using the Android mobile app. Additionally, if you click on an agent’s name for a particular listing, you’re not necessarily being taken to the listing agent’s contact information. Instead, the site allows any local agent to pay for a listing.
Trulia was bought by Zillow for $1.5 billion in 2014. This site provides a wealth of information for users in search of a new home or apartment, including crime rates, nearby restaurants, and reviews from other users. You can also set alerts for new listings that match your search criteria. Each listing also provides a direct link to the listing agent.
Downsides include a complex process for creating listings for properties being sold by the owner. Some users have reported receiving notifications for properties that aren’t good matches for their specified searches.
Homesnap is owned by real estate data provider Costar, which purchased the site in 2020. It’s a strong offering for realtors, but perhaps not the best choice for users in search of homes to buy or rent. However, where available, the site’s user interface provides strong filtering options to help you refine your search.
Its coverage is spotty or nonexistent in some areas, but the amount of information it provides for each listed property is impressive thanks to direct integration with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Each listing provides the contact information and messaging link for the listing agent. The site also pulls in information from other sources, including property tax records, census results, and more.
Foreclosure.com is a specialized real estate site that—as its name would suggest—lets users search foreclosure properties by city, state or zip code. It also includes properties that are in pre-foreclosure, as well as homes owned by municipalities, in bankruptcy proceedings, and offered as short sales. The site offers a comprehensive user education center, with helpful content on using the site and real estate investing in general.
In addition to homes in foreclosure and other types of economic distress, users can search for “cheap homes” in specific areas. You can filter your search by total sales price—e.g., “under $60K”—and evaluate properties for investment potential as well, including estimated rental prices.
You can sign up for a free seven-day preview of the site. Beyond that, you’ll need to pay about $10 a week or $40 a month.
NeighborhoodScout is a bit different from other sites on our list in that it’s not a real estate market site. Rather, you can use the site to evaluate a particular area based on a number of different factors. That data can then help you further evaluate a specific piece of property in that area and decide whether to purchase or rent it.
NeighborhoodScout can tell you what languages are spoken in the neighborhood you select, as well as what transportation options are available to residents, what residents do for a living, the average value of single-family homes there, and how much tenants pay in average rent, among other data points. A paid subscription will give you access to more granular data including demographics, crime rates, and public school information, among other things.
FSBO.com is a popular flat fee MLS (FFMLS) site for owners who want to list their homes for sale without paying hefty commissions for listing agents. However, you’ll still have to pay to use the site for listing your own FSBO home. Current package prices range from $100 to $400.
The company works by pairing users with different brokers (based on location). Because the broker’s experience and skill level can vary wildly, your experience with the site as a seller might be very different from that of another user.
Users who are looking for homes to buy can find great deals on FSBO.com since owners/sellers using the site might be willing to accept discounted offers in order to close a sale quickly. However, it’s not the most popular site, with one recent survey finding that only 12% of home buyers look at FSBO.com listings.
Xome is a full-service real estate site that is especially valuable for users interested in buying a home through an auction. It provides detailed listing information as well as financing tools and statistical neighborhood information and makes formalizing contracts a breeze with e-signing tools.
Xome offers one of the biggest databases of properties available for purchase through auction. You can view properties first and then receive notifications when other parties submit a bid on the property you’re keeping an eye on.
There aren’t a lot of user reviews for the mobile app version, and while the company offers nationwide listings, there are gaps in coverage.