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With revenues of $9.9 billion per year, the United States ranks No. 1 in the 2021 global real estate market. Since market revenue is expected to increase 4.9% per year from 2020 to 2025, several businesses want to develop an app like Zillow. The latter is a service leading in America's digital real estate market, with $3.3 billion in revenue and 245 million users.
Americans today are more dependent on digital tools than ever before, in addition to traditional methods of buying and selling homes. In 2020, more than 60% of home buyers and sellers will use electronic document signing, and in 2021, 79% of Americans will show interest in using 3D virtual tours and digital floor plans. Now, with technology-friendly millennials entering the real estate market, digital tools are needed more than ever.
Today Zillow and Trulia, two of the most popular real estate apps, are moving quickly to meet this growing demand-and so are many entrepreneurs.
But how do you create your own marketplace app like Zillow? Or develop a real estate web platform like Trulia or Zillow?
The Softermii team has lots of cases developing such platforms in our portfolio. We know exactly how to build a real estate website, or develop a Marketplace application like Opendoor, Trulia, or Zillow, quickly, efficiently, and professionally. This article covers this growing digital marketplace and shows how you can build a real estate listing app.
Read Also: Rental Marketplace Platform Development
We'll also look at how much it might cost to develop an app like Zillow or Opendoor and how long it might take.
Millennials are driving the real estate market
Before we learn how to build a website like Zillow, it's worth talking about who drives the market. Today, millennials represent the largest generational group in the United States. According to Opendoor, they're quickly becoming the newest generation of home buyers.
On average, the typical age of a first-time homebuyer is 34 years old – an age that millennials are now reaching. As they approach their mid-30s, they will become the newest generation of homebuyers, which will drive recent real estate trends.
According to Opendoor’s research, 83% of millennials are more likely to purchase a house using an online app or service.
Millennials represent the majority who are in search of their own house.
76% of millennials surveyed believe that now is the best time to sell a home.
Zillow's research predicts that 6.4 million new residential homes will be put on the market by 2025 to accommodate the surge of millennial buyers. As a result, real estate technology will be used more than ever. According to the same research, millennials are comfortable making large purchases over a digital platform. Nearly 60% of millennials are confident enough to buy a home they've only virtually seen. Almost 40% are completely comfortable buying a house online.
Time-saving digital tools will allow first-time buyers to reach their goals in a highly competitive and fast-paced industry. It will also allow sellers to sell their homes faster than ever. Based on Zillow's data, homes with a 3D tour got 29% more views, favored 32% more often, and sold 10% faster than homes without a virtual tour.
As millennials want more digital shopping tools for their real estate experiences, the demand grows, and the market becomes more profitable.
Real estate website, application, or both?
What's the best platform to promote your business: an application, a website, or both? Let's find out.
So, you have decided to build a real estate website like Zillow. What are the benefits for your buyers and sellers?
- Loyal target audience
- Convenient system to find clients and properties
- Opportunities for better targeting
- Interaction between buyer and seller is convenient without intermediaries.
- Search by geolocation for a better real estate search
- Review and Rating System to help you choose your agent or seller
Real estate search websites like Zillow also benefit real estate agents. Such sites simplify the work of realtors and give access to advanced analytics and better targeting. In addition, the sites' marketing tools help agents market their services effectively.
A good real estate site also protects all parties from fraud. That's because properties are heavily moderated.
Another reason users choose real estate websites is convenience. You don't have to install multiple apps on your smartphone to use them to compare offers.
What are the benefits of real estate apps?
A real estate app offers all the same benefits as a website. However, the app's architecture allows for a more thoughtful design, notifications of hot deals, and messages. Sellers and buyers are more comfortable chatting in the app than constantly updating the website. Therefore, when answering the question of how to build a real estate app or a website, it is difficult to choose.
At the same time, if you decide to build a real estate listings app like Zillow, you may encounter some difficulties.
It's not easy to make a complete Zillow clone and not go bankrupt. Since 2006, the Zillow team has spent tens of millions of dollars on development, marketing, market analysis, and other research.
Many real estate apps, especially aggregator apps, don't require unique verification to publish a listing. Often it turns out that photos of properties do not correspond to reality, or the listings are no longer relevant.
Another difficulty you may encounter when building a real estate marketplace like Zillow is the database of properties. If you don't have your database, you can integrate the Zillow API into your website and access the houses for sale. However, this doesn't work for mobile applications. For an app, you might want to use the National Association of Realtors (NAR) database and the
Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
These provide access to all real estate in the United States. But in practice, their integration is the most complicated and costly since it requires a real estate license in each state. Keep it in mind before creating your own marketplace app like Zillow.
Nevertheless, back in 2009, Zillow began disrupting the mobile app market. Today, users are increasingly choosing apps because a Web version is not always enough to compete successfully.
When choosing between a website and an app, base your choice on the needs of your target audience, available resources, and finances. If you have an unlimited amount of money, it's ideal to use both: the app and the website.
Zillow And Trulia’s New Features
Zillow and Trulia have been quickly working to accommodate the millennial market. In 2020 and 2021, they implemented the following features:
This feature allows for the automation of the showing, scheduling, and managing real estate process for realtors. Buying agents can book viewings faster than ever and listing agents can easily approve scheduling requests over Zillow. With ShowingTime, it creates a seamless and simple transaction that is both efficient and easy.
Zillow Surfing 2.0
Zillow updated its virtual tour experience and created a more authentic showing by combining different media content and technologies. Interested home buyers can now view specific room dimensions, the exact location of the camera on an interactive floor plan, and get a more in-depth tour.
New Search Filters
Trulia understands that an advanced search engine is essential to a real estate application, so it recently added new filters. Users can now conduct more detailed searches and receive a simple list of apartment types that meet their categories.
In an overly competitive market like real estate, sending and receiving time-sensitive messages can either make or break a deal. As a result, Trulia has simplified its contact forms so interested users can quickly connect with listing agents.
Must-Have Features For A Real Estate App like Zillow
An Expansive Database
It is crucial for real estate apps and websites to have a database that is large enough to store thousands – even millions – of listings. For example, Zillow’s database has over 110 million listings in the United States, which translates to over 110 million potential business deals.
Your database will be dependent on the MLS system for listings, but you can also allow for user contributions. To accept independent listings, you should have a basic form to gather information about the property, such as photos, descriptions, and price.
Advanced Search Functionality
Users should be able to search for listings that fit their criteria. Some must-need filters should include location, property type, price range, and square footage. It is recommended that you also implement the ability for users to save their searches and properties of interest. Not only would this retain users, but it can also benefit realtors, who could suggest listings that are similar to the user’s interest.
It is also advisable to integrate analytics to gather information on the most popular filters and search trends.
Informative and Attractive Listing Pages
Listings should use a combination of text and pictures. You will want to avoid long paragraphs and use graphs or photos to hold the user’s attention. Information such as a monthly mortgage breakdown, home values, and maps should be done visually.
Interactive Neighborhood Maps
A neighborhood map should display information based on important criteria, such as the availability of schools, stores, or other points of interest. It is highly recommended to incorporate a GPS into the app so users can also determine travel times between the listed home and important destinations, such as work, daycare, and family.
Virtual tours are beneficial for both potential homebuyers and for agents. Users can view homes whenever and wherever they want while realtors can avoid hectic schedules. It is also useful for international users who cannot physically see the property in person.
Video tours are similar to virtual tours but are done in real-time. An agent can walk through the home and give a more personalized tour. They can also answer questions and accommodate specific requests that cannot be done over a virtual tour.
Match Users and Agents
Potential buyers and sellers should have the ability to match with a real estate agent who fits their needs. This can be done with users reaching out to agents or vice versa.
Allowing users and agents to communicate with each other will increase engagement and the continued use of your app. Your app should, at the very least, have text messaging, but it is recommended that you also implement voice and/or video chat. Read also: Voice Chat App Development
Features for real estate websites like Zillow and Opendoor
Zillow, Trulia, and Opendoor have become market leaders in real estate thanks to features that make it easy to find and buy property. If you want to develop a real estate web platform like Trulia or Zillow, check out the following features:
- Listing page
- Easy search
- Quick View
- 360-degree online tours
- Online Chat
- Search properties by geolocation
- Instant purchases
Convenient and fast login
Zillow provides the ability to register via Facebook or Google, which speeds up logging in many times. It's incredibly convenient for building a real estate marketplace like Zillow. Users today don't want to waste time registering and making up passwords.
This feature helps you quickly and conveniently filter and see all the objects of interest by price, location, etc. To build your own real estate app similar to Zillow, be sure to include this feature in your project.
Websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Opendoor have a robust search system with multiple filters. This solution allows the buyer to maximize the search customization and find the property of their dreams without difficulty.
Fast property viewing
Thanks to this feature, there is no need to spend hours and days personally seeing all the properties of interest. In just a couple of clicks, the user can study a detailed description of the property, see photos, and decide about the purchase.
View the property using AR/VR technology
A customer can take an online tour using 360-degree videos if photos aren't enough. This solution gives an advantage over competitors and increases the chances of a successful deal.
Instant messaging lets buyers and sellers quickly get additional information on a property.
Searching for homes by geolocation allows you to choose the perfect home in the ideal location. It's beneficial in densely populated areas when there are too many offers.
Before you start building a real estate website like Zillow, note that Zillow experienced troubles with their property purchase solution. And Opendoor has benefited from it. The company recently introduced a new feature, iBuying, which has left Zillow behind.
Unfortunately, Zillow's algorithms allow closing only through extended bidding, selling, and closing process. Opendoor, on the other hand, offers property owners the ability to sell houses and apartments for cash online immediately. Keep it in mind if you decide to build a website for real estate like Opendoor.
The tech stack you will need
When developing real estate websites similar to Zillow, you cannot ignore the tech stack. Creating a real estate listings website from scratch is not simple. To manage large amounts of data, you will need a robust backend. We recommend the following tech stack for building a real estate marketplace like Zillow:
- Developmental Language: Java and Python
- Cloud Ghosting: Amazon EC2
- Cloud Storage: Amazon S3
- Version Control: Jenkins
- Data Management: Real and CoreData
- You will have to determine which platform you will be using for your app for the client-side. For Android, you can use Kotlin or Java, and for iOS, you can use either Swift or Objective C.
For the client-side, you will have to determine which platform you will be using for your app. For Android, you can use Kotlin or Java, and for iOS, you can use either Swift or Objective C.
Additional APIs that you will need to provide geographical and neighborhood information to your users will be Google Places, SimplyRets, CoreLocation, MapBox, and CoreData or Mapkit.
And build your own real estate website like Zillow with trending features, you might want to use the Facebook SDK (social media sharing capability). You can connect Firebase SDK and Apple Push Notification for the push notifications feature.
How much will it cost to build an app/website like Zillow?
The process of developing a real estate website is complex and costly. It is not only because of the different APIs you have to integrate. To build a real estate listings app/site like Zillow, the development team must consider all the user groups: buyers, sellers, and realtors. Think about which features your service exactly needs so that you can save time and money.
How much will it cost to build a real estate website like Opendoor? What will it cost to build a website like Zillow? And what will it cost to create a real estate app like Trulia?
The final costs of a real estate app development can depend on various factors, such as product complexity and the number of overall features.
Furthermore, the size of your development team can also influence the price. However, the typical employees and factors that will determine the final costs are:
- Project Manager
- UI/UX Designer(s)
- Frontend Developer(s)
- Backend Developer(s)
- Android/iOS Developer(s)
- Business Analysis
- Quality Control
- Post-Release Maintenance
A basic and simple solution can be priced from $25,000 to $45,000. However, more complex real estate apps, such as above, can cost upwards of $70,000.
Let's highlight the main stages of building a real estate listings app like Zillow or a similar website.
Discovery, evaluation, and UI/UX design phase
Time: 280 hours
Cost: $11 200
Our business analysts conduct market research, analyze customer expectations, and assess industry trends in the first phase. All this information serves as a basis for project budget calculation.
When creating the app’s UI and UX prototypes, our team assesses to what extent the technology stack, functions, and overall aesthetics meet the client's expectations.
Time: 640 hours
Cost: $25 600
Our experts create an early version of the entire product based on the selected technology stack.
Testing and launching
Time: 240 hours
Cost: $9 600
The testing and launching stage is crucial to develop a real estate web platform like Trulia or Zillow. It is essential to collect user feedback about the product to improve the application's functionality, make it more user-friendly, and exclude bugs.
After all testing and bugs are fixed, your real estate application is ready to go. Remember that any service needs support even after release to compete on the market successfully.
Writing technical documentation
Time: 40 hours
Cost: $1 600
It is the last step in building a real estate listings app like Zillow or a real estate website. It includes creating all the documentation for the application, particularly the product manual.
Let's summarize all of these in the table below.
Estimation, Research & UI/UX design
Creating technical documentation
1 200 hours (5 month)
How long will it take?
Just like the final costs, the app development time can vary depending on different factors. Keep in mind that creating a high-quality product includes more than just development. It can also include preparation, planning, testing, and fixing.
On average, it can take anywhere from 600 to 800 hours to develop a
Zillow-like app. As for an app and a website, it can take up to 1200 hours.
This will typically translate to two to six months.
According to Opendoor’s research, 83% of millennials are more likely to purchase a house using an online app or service.
Developing a real estate app is difficult. When creating your own real estate app or website, you can run into many problems. You will need an experienced and talented developmental team who can create a final product that will meet your exact expectations. When you work with Softermii, our dedicated team will ensure that you have a high-quality real estate software development service for creating an app that can compete against market giants, such as Zillow and Trulia. We have also created a mobile app for real estate agents.
Our expert developers and consultants will work with you every step of the way. Whether you need web or mobile development, we will provide you with user-friendly solutions. Receive data-driven products and become a market leader with Softermii.
Real Estate Association
The French Real Estate Association approached us to develop a mobile app used by realtors that can provide real-time information about the properties available for purchase or rental.
We started with market research and business analysis to define the key features and tools that a platform should comprise. Later, we moved to UI/UX design and coding. After the successful launch of the product, we keep providing maintenance services for the company.
For the French Real Estate Association, we developed a mobile iOS application that allows interaction between agents and clients. It helps to improve customer satisfaction and increase the number of successful transactions.
We introduced the following features to the product:
- real-time visibility of the market section with the option to geolocate and filter searches to identify properties that meet customer requirements
- detailed descriptions of property added to the platform
- real-time comparison tool
- collaborations between agents and agencies
- custom zones option
Currently, over 3,900 agencies are using the software. Also, the solution achieved MobileWebAwards Best Real Estate Mobile Application for the 2020 award.
Rently is a digital platform that brings IoT into Real Estate and makes it integral to the property demonstration process. Rently reached us with the request to resign the product.
Analyzing the app, we've determined some of the biggest pains to fix. Complicated registration forms and poor UX maps were among them. Our team worked on the major issues intruding the best practices, market research, and our own experience in real estate apps development.
To redesign Rently, we came with the following solutions:
- building the initial wireframes
- creating new user flows
- redesigning the visual layout
Currently, Rently is widely adopted by the real estate industry. It covers all major US cities and continues to grow demographic scope.
Our dedicated team offers a wide variety of real estate software development services. We adhere to GDPR, local data privacy and protection policies, and regulations. We are up-to-date with legislation to ensure that our apps are secure and ready for use anytime and anywhere.
The market for real estate digital tools is booming and homebuyers are more eager than ever to utilize online searches. Top companies such as Zillow and Trulia have already realized this and are adding new features to their apps every day. Up-and-coming entrepreneurs have also been jumping on board to enter the marketplace, but it’s not as easy as it seems.
Creating a simple real estate app won’t stand out from the crowd. To create a successful app, you will need a high-quality and high-performing app that would appeal to all types of users. You will also need to keep up with real estate market trends and consistently update your business to promote future growth.
With Softermii, we will ensure that you’re ready to enter and stay in the market with a powerful product. Drop us a line and start your journey to success!
Frequently Asked Questions
Let's face it, no. Zillow has come a long and costly way to create its product. No clone will be able to repeat the initial success without making you bankrupt. So before developing a real estate web platform like Trulia or Zillow, focus on the features you and your target audience really need. Do not be afraid to go your way in developing your service.
Recently, customers are increasingly choosing to build a marketplace app like Opendoor. What makes it so unique? Opendoor is a San Francisco-based company founded in 2014. The Opendoor team's primary goal is to make the process of buying real estate as easy as ordering food. To do this, iBuyer uses the Black Box pricing algorithm. The application also features no showings, instant offers, and hassle-free transactions, with the ability to choose a closing date. These features are significant to marketplace apps like Opendoor.
According to EMJ Capital president and Opendoor investor Eric Jackson, Zillow's abandonment of the instant purchase feature is reminiscent of many Internet companies' abandonment of the search engine 20 years ago. That's what allowed Google to become the premier search engine today.
On average, it takes six months to build a real estate website like Zillow or create your own marketplace app like Zillow. Of course, it all depends on what kind of platform will exist and how many features you will want to add.
You can consult with our real estate website development experts. They can give you useful tips and help you through the process of developing a website like Zillow.
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