A look at Zillow Premier Agent and whether it’s worth the cost

Real estate agents work tirelessly to capture and nurture leads. Zillow promises to deliver leads to agents for a fee through its Zillow Premier Agent program. As the largest real estate search engine with 188 million visitors per month, the program sounds enticing, but how effective is Zillow Premier Agent? Does it deliver quality leads, and is it actually worth the dollar investment agents are putting into it? We reviewed research, reviews, and consulted our own membership to find out.

What Is Zillow Premier Agent?

For those who aren’t familiar, Zillow Premier Agent positions its members for greater reach and more visibility on Zillow listings. When Zillow Premier Agent submits a listing to Zillow, they are the only agent who can appear on that listing. When it comes to listings from agents who are not part of the Premier program, three Premier Agents will be listed below the primary listing agent. Also, Zillow recently updated the program and now calls agents directly to introduce them to leads that are actively looking to buy or sell a home. After the introduction, the agent is the only buyer’s agent visible on all listings the lead views on Zillow.

Outside of these two main ways of providing exposure and exclusivity for Premier Agents, the program offers a handful of benefits that help agents market themselves and organize their leads.

First, Zillow offers its Premier Agents a website with a custom domain. While most established agents already have their own website, for those who do not or those whose websites need an upgrade, this can be a benefit. Not only can agents post their information and listings, but they can also include a mortgage rate calculator, lead capture form, blog, and local MLS search feature.

Zillow Premier Agent also includes features for real estate teams and brokerages. They may set up team profiles and lead routing so that the most valuable leads are sent to the most experienced team members first.

How Much Does It Cost?

Each market has its own base cost for being part of the Premier Agent program. Then, agents may set their own advertising budget in addition. Both the base cost and the return on those additional advertising dollars varies by market based on the competition in that market. More expensive, more competitive markets cost more.

The agents who spend more in their market earn a higher “share of voice,” meaning more leads are funneled to them than their lower-paying competitors.

After doing the math, Fit Small Business estimates each lead costs between $20 and $60.

Does It Work?

The cost per lead may sound like a lot, and the complex algorithm that determines how many leads come your way is a little unpredictable. So the question is does it work, and is it worth it?

On G2 Crowd, a review site that allows professionals to rate business tools, Zillow Premier Agent currently has 3.2 stars out of five.

However, Fit Small Business calculated an average $2.60 return for every $1 spent in the program. Obviously, this varies.

While at least one FORCE member tried the program and has since discontinued using it, Art Garrison from Advance Equity Group is currently a Zillow Premier Agent and is pleased with his experience.

“I receive a number of leads each month,” Garrison says. “As with any lead program, some of the leads are good and some are not. My results are always based on follow up. If I follow up quickly with a valid lead, I have good results.”

Garrison estimates his close rate is about seven percent, which he believes is higher than the industry average.

How Can Agents Maximize Their Returns?

If you decide Zillow Premier Agent might be a good fit for you, here are a few ways to make the most of the program.

First, consider your ZIP code. Popular and high-priced markets will likely be saturated with agents, and it may be more difficult to gain exposure there. Consider selecting a nearby ZIP code that might be less saturated. You may still gain leads that help you break into that desired high-priced market. Whatever ZIP code you choose though, make sure you can offer clients true insights into the neighborhoods, culture, local businesses, and schools there.

Next, it is essential that your profile be complete, professional, and personal. Even in lower saturated markets, you will face competition, and you need to stand out. Include a professional headshot, a well-written bio that explains your expertise and what you have to offer, and if possible, a video that captures your personality.

Lastly, client reviews go a long way in validating your experience and the level of service you provide. If you don’t already have plenty of positive reviews, ask some of your satisfied clients to submit a review.


About Author: Krista Franks Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.