Zillow. Trulia. Realtor.com. Redfin. All household names in the real estate listings world, right?
Well, those companies now have some serious competition from a company that boasts an audience that dwarfs all of those sites put together – Facebook.
That’s right. Facebook is coming to real estate listings.
Now, anyone who’s “friends” with a real estate agent on Facebook is likely used to seeing real estate listings show up in their news feed, but it appears that Facebook has much bigger plans for real estate listings through its own platform.
Facebook announced last week that it is significantly expanding the real estate listings section on its Marketplace, which is Facebook’s attempt to take on Craigslist, eBay, and other e-commerce platforms.
And if Facebook’s previous history is any indication of its future successes, Marketplace will eventually blot out the e-commerce sun, just as Facebook already did with social media – as evidenced by Facebook’s monthly active user count of 2.07 billion.
According to information provided by Facebook, since the beginning of this year, search volume in the Marketplace tab has grown 300% globally.
And now, Facebook is bringing that audience to real estate listings.
Facebook currently allows individual homeowners to list their homes for sale on Marketplace. According to Facebook, the feature is “rolling out gradually” and is currently only available via the mobile app in the U.S.
And while the feature is “rolling out gradually” for home sales, Facebook is going full force into rental listings, via partnerships with Apartment List and Zumper.
Facebook isn’t just dramatically increasing the number of rental listings on Marketplace, the social media monolith is also improving the capabilities of its platform.
According to Facebook, Marketplace now features a revamped experience in the housing rentals category. And Facebook plans to continue upgrading the platform.
The initial phase of the rollout includes custom filters for location, price, bedrooms, bathrooms, rental type, square footage, dog/cat friendly; along with the ability to upload 360-degree photos for individual rental listings.
Then, once a prospective renter finds a property they’re interested in, they simply fill out a short contact form (accessed within Marketplace) and the property manager or agent will then contact them directly.
“Marketplace is a popular place for people to look for a home to rent. Now that we’re adding listings from Apartment List and Zumper, people can search even more options in the U.S. to find a place to call home,” Bowen Pan, product manager at Facebook, said in a statement. “First with vehicles and now with housing rentals, we’re partnering with businesses to bring more ease and convenience for consumers.”
In a post to its website, Facebook said the changes to the housing rentals section are “driven by how people are searching and using the service.”
According to Facebook, the site does not participate in any transaction. It simply connects the listing owner and renter.
Facebook also said that it does not charge to list inventory on Marketplace, but cautions that there may be fees for using a third-party listing partner.
But, according to Facebook, any landlord or property owner wishing to list an apartment or rental house on Marketplace must use Apartment List or Zumper.
Here, from Facebook, is the process for a property manager to get their listing on Marketplace:
1. Create a Facebook Page for their business if they don't already have one.
2. Sign up with one of our listing partners and contact them to arrange for the listings to be on Marketplace.
To sign up with Apartment List, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To sign up with Zumper, landlords representing fewer than 5 homes or duplex/apartment units should post directly at www.zumper.com/pro or email email@example.com. Landlords with multiple buildings should visit www.signup.zumper.com/multifamily or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For property owners and landlords, the draw of listing their properties on Facebook will likely be substantial, and for Apartment List and Zumper, the appeal of serving as the providers of rental listings for Facebook is obvious.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Facebook to deliver our robust network of properties to their expansive and diverse Marketplace community,” Chris Erickson, chief operating officer and co-founder of Apartment List, said. “Together, we will provide renters everywhere a best-in-class experience and powerful resource to help them find their next home.”
Anthemos Georgiades, Zumper’s CEO, agrees.
“Working with the Facebook Marketplace team was like working with a like-minded, rapid growth startup,” Georgiades said. “We got our feed integrated quickly and were able to showcase our accurate, real-time rental listings on Marketplace overnight. By adding Facebook to our network, we are especially excited to expand the audience Zumper’s landlord clients can reach, whether by posting to Zumper Pro or sending us a feed.”
Facebook also said that this expansion of Marketplace will likely not be its last such move.
“Marketplace will continue to explore a variety of new opportunities to partner with businesses, in addition to optimizing the consumer-to-consumer product experience,” the company posted on its site last week.
(Photo credit: gmstockstudio / Shutterstock.com)