How Do I List My House on Zillow?

There are 2 ways to list on Zillow:

1st Way (FSBO):

List your home as "For Sale By Owner" or "FSBO" on Zillow here: "For Sale By Owner" means you are not represented by a real estate agent.

  • This is a free service from Zillow.
  • Experienced home buyers are your primary target with this type of listing since buyers that are not comfortable with home purchases will have an agent and that agent will not show the home unless it is offering a commission on the MLS (more on that below).
  • Agents represent ~88% of buyers and Zillow gets 23% of visitors to real estate websites. You are effectively targeting ~3% of all real estate buyers with the Zillow FSBO listing (23% of traffic * 12% buyers that are non-agent represented = 3%).

2nd Way (Agent):

List your home with a real estate agent (you can do this for under $100 see below). The agent will upload your home to the local MLS. Zillow has agreements with many MLS's which allow Zillow to pull home data from the MLS and display it on the Zillow website.

  • If Zillow does not have an agreement with the MLS in question, your agent has access to syndication services such as vflyer, which send your listing out to real estate websites.
  • By being on the MLS, you get the added bonus of having your listing posted to real estate agent sites such as Redfin, Century 21, and RE/MAX.
  • Be sure to cancel any existing FSBO listing on Zillow so the listing from the MLS will appear instead.

Your Listing Everywhere For Under $100

If the only service you need from an agent is to list your home on the MLS + websites, you can do this for under $100. There are 2 different business models in real estate:

1. The "full-service" model. This is what you typically think of when it comes to real estate agents. The "full-service" agent charges you a commission (for example, 6%) for handing the sale of your home. The commission covers all the services the agent provides.

2. The "flat-fee" model. This is the model preferred by the US Dept of Justice. The "flat fee" agent charges you only for the services that you want. In California, "flat fee" agents will list a home on the MLS for under $100 - search here. You can still offer any commission to buyer agents, which is recommended, but you capture the savings of not paying the listing agent's commission.

It's important to know that when a listing agent charges you 6%, they list your home on the MLS and usually offer half of the commission (i.e. 3%) to buyer agents. On a $500,000 home, you are paying $30,000 in commissions, with half ($15,000) going to the listing agent and half ($15,000) going to the buyer agent. In contrast, by using a "flat-fee" agent, you are paying $100 (or less) for the agent to list you on the MLS and then $15,000 to the buyer agent.

In this scenario, the "flat-fee" agent saves you $14,900. Also, you decide what commission you want to offer buyer agents and, depending on the listing agreement, if a buyer comes along without an agent then no commission is paid so you essentially have sold your home for $100 in real estate agent costs.