Zillow, the online real estate company, announced on Tuesday (July 31) that it has rolled out new tools to help time-strapped renters get a competitive edge in the rental process and to help landlords avoid the time and hassle it takes to screen potential tenants.
In a press release, the company said with the new tools, renters can apply for multiple rentals with one application, including background checks and credit reports, and can also pay for their rent via Zillow. According to Zillow, 35 million renters visit Zillow’s rental sites and mobile apps each month to make the rental process easier and smoother. Based on the results of a soon-to-be-released survey by Zillow, 59 percent of renters want to send applications online, while 57 percent want to pay their rent over the internet.
"Renters tell us they want the entire rental process to happen online, from search to application to payment," said Zillow President Jeremy Wacksman in the press release. "However, most landlords don't have the resources to offer these services. We're excited to provide the technology to help renters and landlords have a better experience."
According to Zillow, a lot of renters live in markets that are highly competitive and have tight move-in timelines, making speed an important necessity. In a typical search, Zillow said renters fill out three applications, with each costing an average of $40. The company said that an online application tool will streamline the process and enable renters to more quickly secure their next apartment.
Zillow's new feature offerings include a flat rate of $29 to submit one application an unlimited number of times during a 30-day timeframe. The online application includes a credit report provided by Experian, an eviction history and a background check. The service also offers online payments, with renters able to pay their monthly rent with either debit or credit, or set up automatic payments.
For landlords and property managers, Zillow said the new features will remove the hassle and time it takes to screen renters, and also enables them to process rent payments via the Zillow Rental Manager, which is the same platform they use to manage their rental listings.