The Rise of Paid Rental Listing Sites

Posted on:
August 12, 2021
5 MIN READ

Tenants today are young and tech-savvy using online tools to find a home for rent. This is one of the main reasons why Property Managers today are using rental listing sites to advertise their listings and get maximum exposure for their properties. And with great rental listing sites there is the benefit of getting vacancies filled fast with qualified renters.

FB Marketplace automation tool

Top 10 Rental Listing Sites

When it comes to rental listing sites, its impossible to not talk about Zillow and Zumper listings. As a free rental listing site, Zillow was one of the best sites to list your properties, with an average of about 34 million monthly views across Zillow and its subsidiaries. Everyone rushed to list on Zillow because of the ease of listing units. It was all about convenience and Zillow had capitalized on it really well.

Zillow became popular in the US housing industry as a free rental listing site in 2006, as an unavoidable alternative to Craigslist. However, where Craigslist is still free, Zillow’s CEO, Rich Barton in 2021 announced a new official policy of a weekly fee of $9.99 for each unit advertised on Zillow which instantly impacted their popularity.

Zillow Market share
Monthly Unique Visitors in Millions for Rental Listing Sites (2021)

The Rise of Zumper Listings and FB Marketplace

Zumper listings have been the second best to Zillow since a long time, in terms of lead quality and attracting traffic. But after Zillow’s announcement, many Property Managers switched to free and cheaper alternative rental listing sites and Zumper listings especially became a go-to option for the majority. Zumper's game-changer move was to partner with Facebook Marketplace in 2018. The entire Zumper listings feed would directly get integrated onto Facebook Marketplace, which was new and a huge disrupter in the industry.

Facebook has over 2.7 billion monthly users which includes 800 million on the Facebook Marketplace – which is quickly becoming one of the most popular rental listing sites. Prospective tenants can filter searches by price range, city, type of rental, and a lot more.

Another benefit that came with the Zumper listings and Facebook Marketplace partnership was credibility. Even though Facebook Marketplace is often seen as a little suspicious, this was not the case with Zumper. Facebook Marketplace now has a serious interface for rental properties, and it’s generating a lot of leads and a lot of leases.  

There is a massive difference between listings posted manually as compared to a feed that’s automatically integrated from a credible rental advertising domain. Just like any other online platform, rental listing sites are not safe from scammers either. But Facebook Marketplace requires an additional verification before posting any advertisement - which means you get professional and authentic rental listings.  

Zillow has been at the top for a long time and accounted for 75 percent of leads through Tenant Turner. This number has steadily declined, while the number of leads increased through Zumper listings over the last 2 years and was directly related to their integration with Facebook Marketplace.

Are rental listing sites moving towards paid models?

Zillow already did move to a paid model and to get your rental listings on Zillow, you'll now have to sign up for Zillow Rental Manager. Though the first listing is free, every listing after that will cost you $9.99 per week.

Many small property managers could not afford that price but the paid model still works for Zillow because many in some cases property owners openly insist on listings on Zillow. At the end of the day everyone needs to advertise their properties so those who can afford Zillow still use it.  

Zumper Rental Listing Site

But Zillow is not the only rental listing site to move towards a paid model, according to industry news Zumper is next. Zumper listings came to the rescue when property managers were recovering from post COVID-19 losses and became a safe haven for many. However, it won’t last long as the Zumper listings are also headed towards a paid model and Zumper has started calling property managers with larger portfolios. In the constant war of increasing brand shares and maximizing profits, it seems like gradually all rental listing sites are moving towards a paid model including FB Marketplace.  

FB Marketplace has announced to end its integration with rental listing sites after creating a demand and plans on to take over the industry with the highest traffic generating platform. We reached out to a small community of property managers about the number of leads they get from FB Marketplace, and here’s what we found out from our research.


But with Zumper being the second rental listing site to start monetizing their platform will it lose its appeal? Or with more and more paid models will property managers just have to look for the best deal that works for their business and budget.

This sudden change might lead to property managers moving away from Zumper listings and to other rental listing sites which are either free or at least offer the same or even better Facebook Marketplace integration services as Zumper.

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