How Zillow Makes Money

Zillow is an online real estate marketplace that offers various services for both home buyers and sellers.

It is best known for its Zestimate, which provides you with the estimated market value of any given home. 

The firm was started in 2005 by Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink. Barton had previously founded online travel agency Expedia. 

They ultimately took the company public in 2011. Barton stepped down from his CEO role a year prior but returned to lead Zillow in 2019. 

Today, close to 250 million people visit its site every month while the company generates over $8 billion in revenue.  

In late 2021, Zillow shut down its home buying division, which forced it to lay off 2,000 people and incurred losses of more than $1 billion.  

But how does Zillow actually make money? 

Marketing Software

Real estate agents can pay for access to Zillow’s software. The firm charges agents for every lead it facilitates.


Borrowers can take out loans or refinance their homes with Zillow. The company makes money on the interest those loans incur. 

Selling Homes

Despite shutting down its Homes division, Zillow continues to generate revenue as it offloads the remaining homes in its portfolio. 

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