Zillow has launched a new technology tool to help smooth the renting process during COVID-19. Now, renters can search, find, apply and lease a home entirely via Zillow Rentals.
For a flat fee, renters can submit an application through Zillow and use it with any properties participating within 30 days. This also includes a credit report and background check, and renters can explain the reasons behind any negative items on rental and credit history.
Landlords can upload an existing lease form and send it to the tenant to sign electronically, creating a one-stop rental transaction. These tools are free for landlords and property managers who use Zillow Rental Manager.
Landlords and property managers can also collect security deposits, rent and utility payments through this.
“Zillow is reimagining real estate to make it easier than ever for people to move from one home to the next, whether they’re buying, selling, financing or renting,” said Douglas Pope, Zillow’s vice president of rentals product teams. “That mission has never been more important, and it’s the reason we’re providing these free tools to landlords and property managers to help renters who still need to move but can’t complete the transaction in person.”
According to Zillow, rental visit traffic to its website is currently 5% above its pre-pandemic expectations, making a comeback in April after rental shopper visits were 26% lower than expected in March.
Zillow said that 58% of renters would prefer applying for a rental online anyway, while 42% would prefer signing a lease digitally.
Meanwhile, 47% of renters said they wished more listings offered virtual tours.
According to Zillow research, 84% of renters were already using online resources when searching for their new home prior to the pandemic, and many preferred the convenience of digital tools.
Zillow also offers 3D home tours through Zillow 3D Home, an app that allows landlords and property managers to capture and upload a virtual tour of a unit and integrate that tour into their rental listing on Zillow.
The company said it saw a 533% increase in 3D Home tours for rentals over February, and single-family rental listings that had a 3D tour attracted 40% more visitors and drove 50% more sales compared to listings without a tour.