Zillow and Zillow Leads are well-known in the community of real estate professionals, especially agents, both for good and for bad.

It’s a bit like a love-hate relationship that reminds me of my one with social media.

So, with its Premier Agent program, Zillow Leads promises to generate leads for you in exchange for a monthly minimum payment.

But is it worth it?

This is the question I will ponder in today’s review-style article about Zillow Leads.

It will cover… 

  • How Do Zillow Leads Work (Including Features)?
  • The Working of Zillow Leads’ Lead Generation
  • Zillow Leads from a Marketing Performance Perspective (Costs, Conversion Rates)
  • Pros and Cons of Zillow Leads
  • Whether Zillow Leads Are Worth It
  • Reviews from Current Users Analyzed


How Do Zillow Leads Work (Including Features)?

Zillow Leads, also known as Zillow Premier Agent, is a paid lead generation program available to real estate professionals who want to position themselves as the go-to agent for potential buyers and sellers who visit Zillow’s website.

According to data from 2022, about 60 million people visited the company’s website each month to search for properties and look for agent reviews.

To participate in the paid lead generation program, you must be a “Zillow Premier Agent,” meaning you pay a monthly fee.

What do you get in exchange?

Zillow displays your professional photo, your name, and contact information right next to the listings in particular zip code areas where you are active.

While the core feature displays your photo, name, and contact information next to your property listings for a particular zip code, Zillow tailors its lead generation offering to three groups: individual real estate agents, teams, and brokerages.


5 Zillow Premier Agent Features for Individual Agents

In addition to the earlier mentioned feature of displaying your photo, name, and contact information next to listings for a particular zip code, you get…

  • Client management tools
  • Client insights (analytics), by potential buyers saving their favorite properties when logged-in
  • Task management, including reminders, custom notes, mobile notifications
  • Performance tracking via client feedback, conversion metrics
  • Additional advertising bonuses and priority access to inventory if you become a top-performing “Premier Agent.”


7 Zillow Premier Agent Features for Teams

The features for teams are similar to the ones for individual agents, and you will see they are just tailored to the use case of an agent team.

So, they include…

  • Client management, but also an automatic lead assignment to specific agents
  • Zillow Premier Agent CRM with custom lead routing rules (based on location, price, MLS number, etc.)
  • Client insights (analytics), by potential buyers saving their favorite properties when logged-in
  • Task management, including reminders, custom notes, mobile notifications
  • Team performance tracking via client feedback, conversion metrics
  • Custom lead and team reports to find out where buyers are coming from and who they are working with
  • Additional advertising bonuses and priority access to inventory if your team becomes a top-performing “Premier Partner.”


2 Zillow Premier Agent Features for Brokers

As a “Zillow Premier Broker,” you get all the features already mentioned for agents and teams.

However, you get additional brokerage management software functionality, including personalized real estate consulting and more performance tracking features.

This includes…

  • A dedicated business consultant making suggestions based on the trackable performance metrics
  • One-on-one training for your agents to guide their growth


Additional Features for All Three Groups Regarding Real Estate Lead Generation

Regarding lead generation, the core feature is the following one already mentioned: displaying your photo name and contact information next to your property listings for a particular zip code area.

Additionally, you can get… 

  • Placements on other ad networks such as Trulia, Streeteasy and Hotpads
  • Placement in the Zillow agent finder (a specific agent search on Zillow for consumers)


Diving a Bit Deeper Into the Workings of Zillow Leads’ Lead Generation Part

What makes assessing Zillow Leads from a marketing performance perspective challenging is something called “share of voice.”

What is it?

It is the share you spend for ads in a particular ZIP code. The higher this share, the more leads you receive each month in that ZIP code area.

So, if you pay one hundred percent “share of voice,” potential buyers will always see you in the ZIP code area you pay for.

If we apply some economics rules, it is fair to assume that you will likely spend more per lead the lower your share is.

Zillow Premier Agent generates three types of leads for its real estate professionals: direct contacts, connections, and nurture leads.

Direct contacts are potential buyers and sellers visiting Zillow’s and/or Trulia’s website and selecting you specifically as an agent.

When this happens, Zillow sends you their contact information, and it usually happens when they find you via Zillow’s agent finder.

According to Zillow, these leads are then exclusively yours.

Connections are buyer leads searching for properties and clicking “Contact Agent” (displayed next to a property listing).

In the next step, Zillow first contacts them to determine if they would like to speak with the respective agent. 

If they do, Zillow calls the agent who can talk to the prospect live.

Once you accept such a call, you receive the lead’s name, contact information, and property links of interest.

In turn, the lead also receives the agent’s contact information and profile link.

You could consider these types of leads as warm leads. (You can read my article about the different lead types and awareness levels here).

Finally, nurture leads are the potential buyers or sellers who could be considered cold ones.


They are not ready to speak live with a real estate agent (yet).

So, some extra work, such as nurturing, is needed here to bring them closer to becoming a warm or hot lead.


Zillow Leads from a Marketing Performance Perspective (Costs, Conversion Rates)

From the above and the concept of “share of voice,” nailing down a firm and exact cost number is challenging for Zillow leads.


Because they depend on various factors:

  • The typical sales price of homes in the market you want to target
  • The competition, hence the number of agents in the same space in the market
  • The share of leads you want and can get from the available pool

Additionally, Zillow isn’t what I would call highly transparent regarding the exact lead costs.

If they wanted, they could do something similar to what you can do with the Google Ads platform, and they likely have the technical capacity to implement it.

You could have an ad cost calculator that gives you cost estimates based on the ZIP code you want to target, your budget, “share of voice,” competition, and the number of leads you want to generate.

However, currently, to get an estimate, you need to contact them via the contact form or call them (source).

Although there is this challenge, there is a range we can work with, at least on a rough estimation level (border lining speculation).

From various sources, I found out about the following lead costs. This one states a cost per lead of $20 to $60, and this one of $100.

However, Zillow states you need a minimum monthly budget of $500 to get 83,333 impressions.

Applying the click-through rate of Google display ads (since Zillow ads are a bit like that) of the real estate industry of 1.08% (source), and an average landing page conversion rate of 2.5% (source), we can calculate the cost per lead.

So, $500 will get you 83,333 impressions. Applying the 1.08% click-through rate will result in roughly 900 visitors to your offering on Zillow.

Applying the 2.5% conversion rate will then result in 22 leads.

If we divide the $500 budget by 22 leads, we get a cost per lead of $22.72.

Well, this is not too far off from the sources I came across above and is more on the lower end.

Averaging all the numbers, we could arrive at an estimated cost per lead on Zillow of $51.

And I suspect the lower your “share of voice” and the higher the competition of the ZIP code you are targeting, the more this number approaches $100 per lead or even more.


Are Zillow Leads Effective? Assessing the Lead Quality

You may agree that the most effective lead would be the one contacting you and wanting to buy or sell their house on the spot, signing whatever is necessary for that, and you can close in a matter of days.

That would be the ideal situation, and it would be a lead that is pretty much at the bottom of the funnel, has reached the end of the customer journey, or has a high level of customer awareness. 

In short, it’s a hot lead.

By the way, you may want to read my article about the different lead types here, which dives deeper into this topic.

On the other hand, pretty ineffective would be a lead you get that maybe wants to sell or buy in two to five years from now.

Or the same would be the case if you need seller leads but get cold buyer leads like that. 

So, the leads you get should also align with your goals (getting buyer or seller leads).

We already know that Zillow doesn’t use forced registrations to let consumers search for properties.

That’s good since these kinds of leads usually are pretty crappy.

We also know that Zillow generates three types of leads, and it is relatively easy to categorize them regarding awareness levels and quality.

The direct contacts you get when they find you as a real estate agent are exclusive (increases the lead quality regarding competition).

However, they may still have a low awareness level (cold) needing nurturing or could also be warm. 

So, I would qualify them as medium quality.

Connections are likely warm (higher on the customer awareness level) and thus have a higher quality.

The downside is that they are not necessarily exclusive, depending on your “share of voice” to get them and who responds faster in your ZIP code (first come, first served principle).

And the nurture leads are cold on average and thus of lower quality.

Chances are that, again, the higher your “share of voice,” the higher will also be the lead quality you get.


Because if you have a 100% “share of voice,” Zillow displays you all the time, and thus, you will be able to respond more often to inquiries wanting to speak directly with an agent.

On average, I estimate that the lead quality is leaning more toward high and warm leads than cold and low quality.


Because similar to Google search ads, where you generally have people looking actively for a solution or information for their problems or needs, Zillow has people actively looking for a home.

Consider also that you will mostly get buyer leads since Zillow is more focused on them regarding lead generation.

So, Zillow leads will not be effective if you want to generate seller leads.


Pros and Cons of Zillow Leads

In the pro and con table below, I put together what I covered in the earlier sections.

Mostly higher quality buyer leads (if you are fast enough to repond)Almost no seller lead generation
Mostly warm buyer leads (actively looking for properties)Warm buyer leads mostly non-exclusive
Good option if you start out (shortens the lead time until you make your own lead generation campaign work)Minimum monthly budget of $500 may be too high in the beginning


Are Zillow Leads Worth it?

Based on the above pro and con list and what I have analyzed, we can conclude whether Zillow Leads is worth it.

I, therefore, prepared an infographic below with a decision tree.

Is Zillow Leads Worth It

If you think by now that paying for Zillow leads isn’t worth it, Zillow Flex may be another option.

It’s Zillow’s real estate leads pay at closing or referral program and additional providers I covered in this article.

However, if you came to this conclusion with the help of the above decision tree, it may also not be worth it since you likely need seller leads and not buyer leads.


Zillow Leads Reviews Analyzed from Current Users

While researching Zillow user reviews, I encountered a bit of controversy and frustration.

The only third-party user review platform with enough data I found was G2.

Here, Zillow Premier Agent or Zillow Leads got overall two stars out of five.

So it doesn’t look too good.

Here are the points that I analyzed were mostly criticized:

  • Increasing costs, and pretty high costs if you want a large share of voice (ZIP code share)
  • Poor quality leads
  • Being on standby like a firefighter to answer calls
  • Limiting as a lead generation platform
  • Overpromising quantity of leads per month

The most repeated complaints from the above were about increasing costs and poor quality leads.

From the few positive feedbacks, I could dissect the following:

  • Great concierge app
  • Better prepared clients
  • Ease of use
  • Daily updates on homes clients are interested in
  • Notification of new leads
  • Quick connections with leads

Interestingly, the tenor of positive leads comes more from usability and basic technical features.

Still, I couldn’t find much about their core value for real estate professionals: lead generation.

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.

Tobias Schnellbacher