Are Zillow Premier Agent Leads Worth Paying For?

Posted by Sean McGrail - CRO, OpenFrame on Oct 16, 2018 8:07:00 AM
Sean McGrail - CRO, OpenFrame
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Zillow is the largest real estate search engine on the internet. With over 150 million visitors per month, Zillow Premier Agent provides an opportunity for real estate agents to generate leads, but we’ll help you decide if it’s worth the cost for your situation.

According to some estimates for every $1 you put into Zillow Premier Agent, you can get around $2.60 back in commissions.   But lets dig a little deeper to understand if that's right for you.

How Zillow Premier Agent Works

Zillow Premier Agent is Zillow’s advertising platform for real estate agents that connects you to buying and selling clients. 

While Zillow allows you to post listings for free, and build an agent profile that can attract potential clients, becoming a Premier agent has two major benefits:

  • Exclusivity. On listings you submit to Zillow as the seller’s agent, you get to be the exclusive agent promoted on the page, which increases your odds of getting the full commission. If you don’t sign up for Zillow Premier Agent, other agents will appear on your listing.
  • Wider Reach. As a Zillow Premier Agent, you also get to advertise on the local listings provided by non-Zillow Premier Agents. This is a great way to generate buyer leads even if you don’t have a listing of your own to advertise on Zillow.

How Much Zillow Premier Agent Costs

Zillow makes money by charging for advertising based on impressions, or views of your ad.

Zillow charges agents based on two main factors.

  • The zip code you wish to be featured in. The cost to advertise to different zip codes is the difference in home prices within those zip codes and the competition for these homes. 
  • The number of times your ad is viewed (cost per impression or CPM, cost per 1,000 impressions). Zillow charges for impressions simply because the more people that view your ad, the greater likelihood that someone will contact you. More views on your ad result in a higher monthly cost, but also are likely to produce more leads.

You should expect to pay from around $20 per thousand impressions (CPM) in a low-end market zip code to over $60 per thousand impressions in a high-end market zip code. 

Cost per Lead

We spoke to several agents.  You'll likely need to spend about $30 to $120  for each message from a customer who is interested. About 4% of those message will become a deal.  On the high end this means you may spend as much as $3,000 for 1 deal.

Depending on the the average selling price of homes in your zip code and the amount of commission you get, will dictate your return on investment.

Most agents will see a positive return on investment by using Zillow Premier.

Lifetime Value of Closed Deals

Every closed deal means a former client who will give referrals, and more referrals will lead to more clients and closed deals. You may not see the immediate impact of this return as heavily today, but this is the secondary ROI that comes with time and every closed deal you make.


How to Get the most from Zillow Premier Agent 

1. Pick The Right Zip Code

Picking the right zip code or zip codes to advertise in is crucial. While most realtors immediately gravitate toward the most expensive zip code near their office, this can be a big mistake for your bottom line.

If you are new to real estate,  you should select your own zip code rather than select the most expensive zip code. You’ll have something much better that will help you close deals — local market knowledge.

Picking a zip code where you can really serve your clients well will help you close more deals at the end of the day. You’ll know who makes the best sandwiches in town, where the best salon is, and all the perks of the area. Knowing the neighborhood like the back of your hand gives you authority, and helps clients trust and refer you to others.

The key is to find the “next best” neighborhood to the one you’re targeting, and often you will get the same buyers and a foothold in the area you want to work in.

2. Treat Your Zillow Premier Agent Profile Like a Dating Profile

Your profile (including your picture, bio, and reviews) makes a strong first impression on potential clients.

To increase your chances of getting contacted, follow these tips.

  • Upload a Professional Photo
  • Write a Unique Bio
  • Add an Introductory Video
  • Link to your Website

3. Follow-up immediately

Your competition is only 1 click away.  The longer you wait to get back to a lead the more likely they will have found another agent to work with.  We've seen many agents who regret signing up for Zillow Premier Agent, because it doesn't fit with their lifestyle to respond within  minutes of getting a lead.

If you're not going to respond immediately to leads that come in we don't recommend spending money on Zillow Premier Agent...and you may want to reconsider if Real Estate is the right career path for you too.


Zillow Premier Agent can be a powerful tool which can set you up for success, but you'll need to make sure you have all the other items in place to maximize that investment.  For most agents, it is worth paying for the leads from Zillow.  There are a few exceptions, but in general it is worth paying for Zillow Premier Agent.

Topics: Real estate agents tips