How to Develop a Property Marketplace Like Zillow?

Property Marketplace

A strong online presence is the number one pillar for businesses, especially for realtors. Through a property marketplace, not only property listings are being displayed but also it builds credibility among potential clients.

The point here is that over 90% of real estate firms have property websites. The global real estate industry market, whose value is $3.69 billion (2021), is projected to reach $5.82 billion by 2030 providing excellent growth opportunities.

But still, brokers and agents exploit the thriving real estate marketplaces in the face of economic downturns and legal complexities as the reason for competitiveness.
Even though today there are so many when it comes to property marketplace, none of them is comparable to Zillow. It has reported 60 million users’ visits last year and 10 million app downloads. Zillow is chasing the lead.

If you want your app to stay alive, it has to step above Zillow in terms of functionality, user groups, regulations, and market dynamics.

Whether of integrating a website into your business or using it as a starting platform, this guide will provide you with all the essential steps to be able to succeed in the real estate world.
Let’s explore the details!

The Story of Zillow Business

In the past, both vendors and purchasers used newspaper ads, buy-and-sell sites, and real estate agents. In 2006, two former Expedia and Microsoft executives, Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink, decided to change the way people search for rental housing in the United States.

Zillow showed up on the scene by allowing direct access to nationwide house listings data, that once was restricted for real estate professionals only. Over time, Zillow expanded into a comprehensive group of companies covering the entire property marketplace and especially its buying process. Its brands include the consumers’ property marketplace and the marketing software for agents and brokers.

This step marked a critical moment of transition for the real estate industry when it equipped both buyers and sellers with analytical tools and data inaccessible beyond the traditional real estate channels before.Their primary goals included
Centralized Property Data, Zillow sought to assemble a list of home listings that is inclusive, wide-ranging, and accessible by incorporating public records, MLS, and user data.

Unprecedented Transparency, where Zillow also provided extensive details about the tax records, past sales data, and neighborhood information, which was previously not available to the public but for the use of commercial real estate agents.

Zillow, the industry leader, launched the “Zestimate,” a cutting-edge technology that shares home values of unsold properties, in addition to active listings. The estimate was produced by a system that calculated the valuation using comparable sales and market trends.

In 2004, Zillow devoted significant energy to populating its comprehensive database and developing the Zestimate algorithm, which was introduced to the world in 2006.

Impact of the “Zestimate”

The buyers had a starting point for their negotiating, thus reducing the level of accomplishment before they met with agents.

The Zestimate was innovative even though there were constraints to its accuracy and triggered a debate on whether it was reliable or if it played the role of an initial guide.

The Zestimate changed the way people and agents hunt for homes. It diminishes the initial role of real estate agents in the home search process.

Zillow Property Marketplace in a nut shell
Zillow Property Marketplace in a nut shell

Zillow’s Top 5 Features.

When it comes to having real estate websites like Zillow, it is necessary to consider the main features that make it unique and successful in the market. Next, let’s zoom into Zillow’s best five features, which make a difference.

1. Intuitive Search and Extensive Filters.

The intuitive search feature and extensive filters on Zillow are composed of several user-friendly elements.

User-Friendly Interface

Zillow’s search interface is created to be easy to understand and simple for everyone, especially those who aren’t professionals in real estate services.

The interface uses icons and text labels to guide users through the search process, therefore making it easy to comprehend each filter option and its purpose.

Granular Search

Zillow enables users to narrow down their property search with the help of a wide variety of filters. These filtering parameters include the location, price range, property type, bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, lot size, year-built, amenities like pools, garages, fireplaces, HOA fees (if applicable), and specific features (e.g., “hardwood floors,” “granite counter.

Saved Searches & Alerts

Users can save their specific search requirements on the Zillow mortgage marketplace. This feature allows users to instantly get notified of the availability of new postings that meet their preferences. In this way, a user spends less time and tracks properties that meet their requirements.

Map Integration

Zillow matches maps to the search effortlessly and easily. The user can view the location of the property, virtually tour the surrounding neighborhood, and find amenities such as nearby schools, parks, and shopping stores on the map.

Zillow heat maps allow people to discover how home values change in different districts, contributing to their ability to choose the best property location. Interactive map ability is a great tool that helps in improving the experience of the users by visually illustrating the property listings.

2. Detailed Property Listings on Zillow

Zillow’s property listings provide detailed information, including but not limited to basic information, which can serve the interests of buyers, renters, and casual browsers, among others. Apart from the standard features of square footage and the number of rooms/bathrooms, Zillow listings usually feature

High-Quality Photos & Videos

Zillow operates on visuals first by posting pictures that are of high-definition quality and displaying the property’s highlights. Presentations may include professional photography or well-lighted photos taken by homeowners or agents.

In addition to showing video tours and helping property owners how to obtain real estate listings, Zillow makes exploring properties from any location available virtually.

Detailed Property Descriptions

The postings on Zillow incorporate detailed descriptions emphasizing critical features and amenities like flooring type, up-to-date appliances, the presence of a fireplace or balcony, and exclusive features about the property or its surroundings.

Historical Market Research

Zillow gives not only present values for many properties but also information about the properties’ price trends and recent sales. This information together with the assessment data is of great value to both buyers and sellers as it helps with their informed decision making.

3. Several Informational Resources Can Be Found on Zillow.

Zillow’s information resources are there to guide and empower users no matter where they are in their real estate life.

Market Data

Home Value Trends

Zillow informs about average home price fluctuations in certain regions typically in the form of graphs and data visualization. This data allows users to understand the market and make their investment decisions.

Rent Indexes

Through Zillow, renters can get live rental price trend data, which can allow them to analyze affordability in different areas and then adjust their search criteria.

Neighborhood-Level Info

Zillow partners with different sources for detailed neighborhood data such as schools and crime rate.

  • School quality ratings
  • Crime statistics
  • Walkability scores
  • Estimates of the travel time to major employers.
  • Being close to facilities such as parks and shops.

Mortgage Tools

Affordability Calculators

With Zillow’s mortgage calculators, users will have an idea of how much house they can afford given the information about their income, down payment, debts, and dream location. This tool eliminates early home buying uncertainties.

Rate Comparisons

Zillow gives different mortgage lenders’ current mortgage rates and users can then compare the different loan options and terms to get ideal financing.

Pre-Approval Assistance

Zillow enables users to go through the pre-approval procedure by making connections with lenders. Getting pre-approved is proof for sellers that the buyer is serious and is also a strong offer during home purchase negotiations.

Home Buying and Selling Guides

Zillow’s pieces explain step by step, the complex processes of home sale and buying, which even first-time buyers can manage.

It deals with typical concerns about real estate, which helps, advance knowledge and takes away anxiety.

Zillow, as one of the most popular real estate platforms, develops custom content for diverse audiences, such as investors, military veterans, or people interested in specific house styles, providing them with tailor-made advice and resources.

4. User Profiles & Saved Searches.

The user profiles and saved searches feature on Zillow enable both the convenience and personalization aspects.

Users can compile their favorite listings, make additions of comments for quick reference, and get notifications on new listings without spending efforts to re-enter the same search criteria.

This high degree of adaptability will add to the enjoyment of the users and ensure that they remain structured and have information in their house quest journey.


Zillow users can conveniently ‘heart’ listings which automatically add them to a list of preferences. It makes it very easy to return to and compare your favorites, which is particularly useful when perusing multiple properties that might blend while doing so.

Others like Zillow provide users with the option to make remarks to the listings. For instance, users can remark “Needs remodeling” or “Comparing to the house at 123 Main Street.” This feature helps users to remember or compare the specific details of the properties.


Zillow will not forget your search filters, and you will not be required to add those filters every time you land on the website or app. This lets the users save their time, making the whole experience better.

Users can be provided with alerts from Zillow advising when new listings consistent with their home search criteria become available. Zillow alerts buyers via e-mail or app notifications, letting them be proactive and pre-emptively strive to jumpstart newly listed homes that meet their preferences.

5. 3D Home Tours on Zillow

Zillow now uses 3D virtual tours, a high-end feature of its property listings that does more than just regular pictures. Visitors can browse some properties and virtually walk through them with interactive features that have the feel of a real-life tour.


Multidimensional property tours are time-saving for they provide a full picture of a property’s flow and layout. The targeted audience can obtain a spatial feel of the house without visiting other houses that do not meet their necessities from the digital imagery representation.

Touring a 3D home is useful for people with mobility issues and for those who are moving from afar. With VR in real estate, users can gain extensive knowledge of a property from afar and decide if it is worth having an in-person inspection or not.

Putting 3D home tours into listings increases excitement, and is more visually appealing. This advancement can impress potential buyers and provide a competitive edge to listing agents desiring to market properties well.

How to Develop Property Marketplace like Zillow?

If it begins with conceptualization and ends with post-launch, we are going to discuss essential components, features, and approaches to design a property marketplace that will be ahead of the crowd and will deliver value to all players.

By implementing these measures and relying on best practices you will become an owner of a dynamic platform that makes it possible to sell, rent, and lease houses in the simplest way.
Next, let’s jump into the nuts and bolts of how to set up a real estate website like Zillow.

Market Research and Validation

Market research is an important component of building a property marketplace. Evaluate competitors Redfin, Zillow and Trulia by understanding the essential features and areas to be enhanced.

With the help of narrowing down the target audience- buyers, sellers, agents, or renters choose the appropriate features. Evaluate ways of monetization, e.g. advertising, premium listings, leads, and subscriptions, to pick a good revenue strategy.

By conducting this study, strategical decisions are informed and your property marketplace gets developed with users in mind and to sustain the growth.

Business Model

A business model of the property marketplace like Zillow involves both direct and indirect revenue streams.

Direct Revenue Streams

Real estate agents and brokers oftentimes advertise on the platform through banners, featured listings, or leads generated by Zillow. To agents, Zillow provides premium tiers that come with higher visibility, lead generation tools, data analytics, and advanced features and these are monetized through subscription fees.

Indirect Revenue Streams

The direct purchasing of houses by Zillow’s buying program generated certain issues and was scaled down in response. The mammoth data repository of Zillow is utilized to generate revenue by selling data analysis to investors, developers, as well as government bodies. Such data is mostly anonymized and aggregated to avoid possible privacy infringement.

These revenue streams support the real estate business integrity of Zillow and provide additional value to the stakeholders aside from conventional advertising and subscriptions.

Validate Your Real Estate Marketplace

It becomes important to validate your property marketplace idea before incurring a large sum of investment for the development process. Striking a chord with your chosen audience is one of the most important factors of success.

Methods of Validation

Hold surveys to find out what audiences would like to see, what features they are ready to pay for, and if they have any kind of problems.

Get engaged with focus groups collecting data on prototypes or mock-ups of your marketplace to better identify user needs and preferences.

Build a real estate marketplace or just a minimum viable product (MVP) to test your idea in real-world conditions. Collect contact information and pre-sales to ascertain the level of interest and tailor the offering by feedback received.

Pitch your concept toward individual real estate professionals or agencies to gain some perspectives and chances of initial engagement. A close partnership with real estate industry professionals will contribute to the development of the property marketplace with expert opinion and assistance.

Hence, you will accumulate the crucial information, improve your idea accordingly, and increase your chances of success because you will follow the expectations of and demands of your target market.

Key Features of a Real Estate Marketplace

The sets of essential features combined simplify the process of property search and enable users to evaluate and interact with available properties and agents effectively.

Having such in place guarantees a rich and complete platform that accommodates all the diverse needs of the real estate players.

Property Listings

This is the basis of the property marketplace where we will have fields populated with structured data, for example, price, location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and amenities. Complete and precise property data is pivotal for users to be able to make informed decisions.

Advanced Property Search & Filters

The advanced property search and filters should be presented with a much more precise search by location, price, property type (e.g., single-family homes, condos), and specific keywords. The user experience is improved by the use of advanced search options which further simplify the process of property obtaining.

High-Quality Visuals

The professionally taken photos and videos, as well as the virtual tours in real estate, play a vital role in demonstrating the properties correctly. Visual content boosts interaction directly and allows users to see places and properties realistically before visits.

Maps Integration

The integration of maps with geolocation features enables users to be able to inspect property locations, get neighborhood information, and calculate commutes to important places such as schools and workplaces. Maps increase overall user experience by showing context and facilitating convenience.

User Profiles

Personalized interactions are made possible through the agent, buyer, and seller user profiles that are present in the property marketplace. Users will be able to favorite properties, contact agents or sellers, and coordinate their activities promptly.

Reviews and Ratings

With the inclusion of reviews and ratings from previous buyers or renters on the site, trustworthiness and transparency are created in the property marketplace. User-generated reviews are a form of feedback that contributes to the building of popularity and reputation for the listing and the agent.

Unique value proposition for the real estate marketplace.

By having the USPs (unique selling points), your property marketplace will be able to distinguish itself from the competition, will be attractive to the target users, and will bring to customers and industry professionals excellent quality and utility.

These propositions play as separate but intertwined elements that contribute to users’ engagement and satisfaction.

Zestimates (or similar)

Think about a home valuation algorithm, like Zillow’s Zestimate, to be implemented. This application element gives users estimates for property values with the assistance of market data, which supports smart decision-making and drives user involvement.

Focus on a Niche

Provide differentiation to the market through specializations in a particular area, property type (like luxury homes or vacation rentals), or meeting special needs (such as greenhouses). Having a niche market as your market allows you to engineer the features and supplies of the platform to satisfy the unusual needs of a specific group of people.

Advanced Analytics/Reports

Provide cutting-edge analytics and reports as a “premium” add-on to agents and investors. 0 This entails a thorough market trend analysis, comparative market reports, and investment performance figures. High-level analytics give professionals the ability to use empirical data for decision-making and to be on top of trends in the market, contributing greatly to your market space.

Key Features of Property Marketplace
Key Features of Property Marketplace

Do You Know?

Internet Data Exchange or IDX in real estate is the reason we are browsing MLS listings online today. It is a set of rules licenses, and technologies that allow agents to access Multiple Listing Service in real estate, integrate them on their websites, and make them publicly available.

Tech Stack Concerns in Creating an Online Real Estate Platform

Select web frameworks (Frontend, such as React, Angular, or Vue.js; Backend, Node.js, or Django) accordingly. Use MySQL and PostgreSQL for data storing and management purposes.

Also, look into cloud hosting platforms such as AWS (Amazon Web Services) or GCP (Google Cloud Platform) which provide scalable and reliable infrastructure. AI in real estate business is getting more attention and you can utilize the technology well.

Include scalability in your property marketplace plan as the traffic and the user base grow. Incorporate scalable architecture patterns, implementation of caching mechanisms, and utilization of cloud services to scale resources on demand.

Emphasize the importance of implementing security measures for user data and transactions. Let’s use HTTPS, data encryption, secure authentication mechanisms (e.g., OAuth), and regular security audits to look for and deal with possible threats. Adherence to data protection laws (for instance, GDPR or CCPA) to guarantee user data privacy.

Make sure your property marketplace is responsive and fast on all devices, and more especially on mobile devices. Go with a mobile-first approach to design and development by using the responsive technique and way (like Bootstrap or Tailwind CSS) to deliver an excellent user experience on any screen size and device.

Thus, you can make a strong and adaptable mobile application that will conform to the latest innovative technologies and standards.

Also Read: How IoT Technology is Changing Real Estate Industry? What are Smart Buildings?

Software Development and Launch

Going agile way, launching MVP and marketing will be the basis of running a good real estate platform. Improvement will be ongoing.

Use agile development for the ability to be flexible and also to make improvements iteratively on real estate software development.

Launch with core functionalities, receive user inputs and make improvements by adding more features and adjustments to provide a pleasurable user experience.

Carry out SEO, content marketing, social media plans, and PR efforts to raise awareness and bring users to the website.

Consistently collect and keep up with user’s reviews, put out plenty of changes, and add new features to help the property marketplace keep up with users’ needs.


Building a Zillow challenger needs detailed research, superior features, and an exemplary user interface. For success in such a competitive market, one must strive for more and keep improving.

It is necessary to be attentive to user feedback, follow market movements, and constantly perfect the platform to adapt to changing user requirements and industry standards.

To achieve the best, the budding developers could benefit from collaborating with a well-known real estate app development company.

By the side of experienced professionals, we can improve the quality of the property marketplace taking advantage of industry knowledge and technical skills, turning Zillow into a more favorable alternative.

Through this strategic move, the probability of creating a platform that is highly effective, user-friendly, and unique gets doubled.

Starting as an iOS developer and moving up to lead a mobile team at a startup, I've expanded my expertise into Project Management, DevOps and eventually becoming a COO in the IT sector. As a COO, I excel in team leadership, technical advice, and managing complex business functions, focusing on combining technology and operations to drive growth. I'm keen to connect for collaborations or to exchange insights in the tech world!



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