Have you been wondering what your return on investment (ROI) would be from the Zillow Premier Agent program? Is it worth your time, money, and effort? The short answer: Yes, it is. Why? Zillow Premier Agents who use the platform effectively enjoy a typical ROI of 210%, according to agents with whom we’ve spoken.
But there’s a catch. Zillow Premier Agent isn’t perfect. Zillow Premier Agent (ZPA) is plagued with poor reviews from vocal agents and a reputation for customer service focused on selling rather than solving problems.
In addition, even the most successful agents need to have what we at The Close think of as the 3 Zillow Elements of Success: a competitive budget, a complete profile, and excellent follow-up skills (more on these later). If you’ve got all of these in place, you should check out ZPA’s rates in your ZIP code.
To help you determine if you have those three elements solidly in place, we’ll provide more detail on each one, but before we do, let’s talk about what Zillow Premier Agent is, how it works, and, of course, how much it costs.
Zillow Premier Agent: What It Is & How It Works
Each month, more than 227 million unique visitors spend time on Zillow’s website looking at homes and searching for real estate agents. Zillow Premier Agent allows agents, teams, and brokers to purchase display ads across the Zillow network. Your ads will be shown to prospects in the specific ZIP codes you choose to target.
When Zillow’s website visitors have questions about a property or want to set up a showing, prospects are presented with Zillow Premier Agents as their first option. The platform displays Zillow Premier Agent ads in key positions next to properties for sale, and boosts Zillow Premier Agents to the top of their agent directory.
Listing Agent vs Premier Agent: What’s the Difference?
Before we go any further, it’s important to point out the difference between being displayed as a Zillow listing agent vs a Zillow Premier Agent.
If you have an active profile on Zillow, you’ll be displayed as the listing agent for claimed listings regardless of your Premier status. However, if you haven’t claimed that listing or are not active on Zillow, you won’t have that opportunity.
Premier agents, however, appear next to every listing they’ve got a share of in their chosen ZIP codes (plus any listings they have outside their chosen ZIP code), thus expanding their exposure significantly.
How Much Does Zillow Premier Agent Cost?
We don’t know. This isn’t a statement we take lightly at The Close since our mission is to provide the best answers to real estate questions—to your questions. But we want to be upfront with you, our readers, about the facts. Despite an exhaustive effort to clearly and succinctly give you an answer to what Zillow Premier Agent will cost, we have no clear, authoritative information. Here’s why:
First, Zillow’s pricing depends on multiple factors, such as the typical sold price of a home, the number of real estate professionals competing for leads in a particular ZIP code, and the percentage of the available leads you want to capture, chief among them. Because these factors change depending on the agent, making accurate estimates is difficult.
But it’s not impossible. The reality is, Zillow offers real-time estimates to prospective Zillow Premier Agents all the time. Despite our repeated attempts through multiple channels with a clear message that we have no agenda other than to inform our readers, Zillow has flat-out refused to give any insight, estimate, or information about their pricing.
The Close works with a number of brands in the real estate industry, and, to be frank, this sort of avoid-and-obfuscate response to our repeated, direct, honest questions was frustrating and seemed to confirm the experiences of many of Zillow’s detractors.
The company’s motivation seems clear: get someone on the phone and into “sales mode” before telling them how much something costs. This isn’t the way we operate, and we don’t believe it’s the best way to do business.
It is the position of The Close that Zillow Premier Agent is a valuable service that should be considered as a paid lead generation option by the right agents. However, we don’t agree with the company’s approach to pricing transparency.
What Do Others Pay for Zillow Premier Agent?
Because Zillow has refused to offer even estimates for different markets across the country, The Close asked agents with whom we’re connected about their pricing experiences. At the time of publication, we found these pricing estimates to be true from our informal poll:
- Major Metro Markets: The typical price per month for agents turning a profit with Zillow Premier Agent starts at about $1,000 per month.
- Outside of Major Metros: The typical price per month for agents turning a profit with Zillow Premier Agent is between $300 and $500 per month.
The Close Take: Is Zillow Premier Agent Worth the Cost?
Yes. Zillow Premier Agent is an investment real estate agents, teams, and brokers should consider—provided they have a large enough budget to be competitive in the markets they’re pursuing. In addition, you’ll need a robust Zillow profile complete with reviews as well as the follow-up skills to nurture long-term leads, as we mentioned earlier.
The fact is, there is simply no other lead source on the internet that can offer the level of traffic, exposure, and opportunity as the Zillow Premier Agent program.
Is Zillow or Zillow Premier Agent a perfect platform or even the right choice for every agent? No. Are they worth investigating and at least considering? Absolutely.
A Closer Look: Some of the Non-lead Benefits of Zillow Premier Agent
Obtaining leads is the most significant benefit of using Zillow Premier Agent, but there is more to the program than just leads. Some of our favorite benefits of Zillow Premier Agent include:
- Zillow Premier Agent reviews: Premier and non-Premier members can collect reviews on Zillow for free. However, Zillow positions Premier Agents on the site in a way that highlights their reviews and makes them more accessible, upping a Premier Agent’s social cred among users.
Zillow Premier Agent Reviews consistently rank near the top of the list of reasons why consumers choose a particular real estate agent.
9 Tips to Earn More Reviews & Help Build Referrals & Repeat Clients
- Exposure on other Zillow platforms: In addition to Zillow’s flagship site, Zillow Premier Agents also have premium placement on Zillow’s network sites, including Trulia, StreetEasy, and RealEstate.com. Though the traffic on these sites is considerably lower than Zillow’s, they offer further exposure and more bang for your Zillow buck.
- An IDX website with a custom domain name: Even though most agents considering Zillow Premier Agent already have a web presence, getting additional real estate (ahem) on the internet is never a bad thing.
The 6 Best Real Estate Website Builders of 2022
- Featured placement on Zillow’s Agent Finder: Many consumers use Zillow to look at homes and find an agent. Zillow’s Agent Finder is so important that it has its own spot in Zillow’s top navigation, alongside the site’s Buy and Sell features. Premier Agents enjoy premium top-line profile placement in searches for the communities where they advertise.
- Access the Zillow Premier Agent CRM: There are lots of real estate customer relationship managers (CRMs) out there, including Propertybase, LionDesk, and Follow Up Boss. The Zillow CRM isn’t going to blow you away with its form or functionality. Still, it’s designed to seamlessly integrate with the Zillow Premier Agent App and flawlessly transfer all your Zillow leads into its system, every time. So it’s worth checking out, if only for Zillow leads.
The Best Real Estate CRM for 2022: In-depth Reviews & Pricing
Zillow Premier Agent Alternative: Zillow Flex
If you’re not feeling warm and fuzzy about paying Zillow a significant upfront fee for leads, the Zillow Flex program, available in some markets, allows real estate agents to get leads upfront at no cost. However, a referral fee comes due when a transaction closes, resulting in lower risk to the agent but a significantly higher cost per lead.
Is the higher cost per lead worth preserving your existing operating budget? Check out our article about Zillow Flex and decide for yourself.
3 Essential Elements Premier Agents Need to Successfully Convert Zillow Leads
The Zillow Premier Agent program clearly delivers significant benefits to its users, not everyone will be successful with ZPA. Remember earlier, when we noted that there are three key elements critical to your success as a Zillow Premier Agent? Let’s dive into those right now.
1. Critical Mass Budget
Unfortunately, while there is no real ceiling to investing in the Zillow Premier Agent platform, there’s definitely a floor. A minimum Zillow Premier Agent budget all comes down to whether the expected lead volume for your budget will produce enough leads to make the strategy self-sustaining.
For instance, let’s say you can only afford an expected one lead a month in your preferred ZIP code. If you are only receiving 12 leads a year and your expected conversion rate is 5%, you may not close a sale for years, if at all.
Not You? Here’s How to Get There
Try building your Zillow business in a different ZIP code first—one with some lower prices and less industry demand. Your gross commission income (GCI) may not be quite as high, but as long as your return on investment (ROI) is positive, you can use the cash flow from this new area to continue to build your business (and budget).
2. A Great Zillow Agent Profile
In many ways, the Zillow Premier Agent program is like online dating. Say you are searching for others in your geographical area and when someone catches your eye, you click on their profile to learn more. But if nothing impresses you when you view their profile, you swipe left and move on.
A complete Zillow profile has a great headshot, a solid bio, tons of positive reviews, and all of your active and sold listings claimed.
Not You? Here’s an Example of a Great Zillow Agent Profile
So, what makes a great profile? Let’s take a look at one together. Meet Craig Hartranft. Craig is from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and his Zillow Premier Agent Profile is KILLING IT.
Craig’s profile has several great things going for it.
Craig and his team have taken the time (a lot of it, from the look of things) and claimed ALL their past sales. With more than 2,000 transactions listed on Zillow, his track record of success is easy for visitors to see.
Craig has also made soliciting great reviews a priority, as evidenced by his more than 300 reviews. None of them is less than 4 out of 5 stars. In many cases, Craig has responded to these reviews too. He thanked the reviewer, further demonstrating his commitment to engaging and connecting with his clients.
Craig’s profile narrative is well-written and has a clear message. He talks about numbers without getting bogged down by them. The strategically bolded text draws the consumers’ eyes, leveraging the platform’s formatting options. Craig also deploys hyperlinks, including invitations to readers to visit his website.
Finally, Craig supplements his profile info with high-quality video content, complete with Zillow branding throughout. Doing so reinforces his image as not just an expert but an expert partnering with and implicitly endorsed by Zillow.
3. Excellent Follow-up Skills
We are in a new age of customer service. The cornerstone of that new age is stamped with the words “ON DEMAND.”
In a world of artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots, where phones are always on and email is always within arm’s reach, most real estate professionals try to return calls and messages within the hour. The very best are replying to clients within minutes of their inquiry.
Need to Improve Your Follow-up Skills? Here’s How
Here are some strategies you can use to ensure your follow-up is top-notch:
- Use Zillow’s Live Leads feature to connect immediately
- Have a solid email and text response plan for each of your Zillow leads
- Be ready to convert your leads into clients
- Have a long-term lead nurture plan ready for colder leads
- Don’t forget: Your lukewarm leads are still leads
For more information on these follow-up strategies, click here to download our guide to effective Zillow lead follow-up.
Zillow isn’t the only game in town when it comes to lead generation. If you’d like to try something different, consider one of the following:
- BoldLeads: Offering exclusive leads, BoldLeads drives traffic by placing ads on social media and in Google search results. A part of the Propertybase ecosystem, BoldLeads integrates well with their customer relationship manager (CRM).
- REDX: Real estate prospecting is a more hands-on, but often more affordable lead generation technique. REDX gives you the tools to reach out to potential sellers proactively rather than trying to entice them to reach out to you.
- SmartZip: Predictive analytics is a new and exciting field in real estate lead generation, and SmartZip is leading the way. Using data analytics and a sophisticated algorithm, SmartZip predicts which homes in your community are likely to list for sale.
SmartZip often pinpoints homes before the owners have decided that this is the year they plan to sell. Use this tool to supercharge your real estate farming strategy or your postcard marketing campaigns.
Looking for more options? Check out 5 Smart Ways to Buy Real Estate Leads.
Frequently Asked Questions
Didn’t find what you were looking for in our guide? Not to worry, we’ve answered some of real estate agents’ most frequently asked questions about Zillow Premier Agent here:
Are Zillow leads any good?
Yes, but you’ll get very few pre-approved leads calling you who are ready to buy or sell a million-dollar property. Most Zillow Premier Agent leads (and just about every other internet lead) come to you lukewarm, at best.
You’ve got to be ready to nurture your leads for weeks or even months before you can expect them to convert into clients. Use these scripts to quickly build rapport with new leads and hit the ground running.
Agent frustration with Zillow stems from the platform’s inability to deliver overnight success through leads—and that’s not a very realistic expectation.
Does Zillow work?
Depends on who you’re asking, but overall, we’d say yes, it does. Zillow is a great place for consumers to browse real estate listings, find agents, and learn more about their area. It’s a great place for agents to connect with potential buyers and sellers.
Will it make you money? That depends on how well you can balance your budget and follow up with leads. If you aren’t investing enough into your ZIP code to get any real traction, Zillow probably won’t be successful for you.
Spending more than your ZIP code is worth isn’t a winning formula, either. You won’t get a positive return on your investment. Spending more money than you can afford is going to put you in a stressful situation and ultimately produce negative results.
But, if you can balance all three legs of this stool (budget, follow-up, and proper investment), you’ll become a successful Zillow Premier Agent.
How much do Zillow leads cost?
The cost of a Zillow lead for Zillow Premier Agents depends on the average sale price in your ZIP code. It also depends on the number of real estate agents competing in your area. The higher the sale price and the more real estate agents competing for space on the Zillow Premier Agent platform, the higher the price per lead.
Bringing It All Together
The landscape in real estate marketing is constantly evolving. There are always new players, new approaches, and new ideas, but Zillow has remained a visible and important part of this conversation.
Until Zillow’s dominance as the go-to consumer real estate source wanes, a presence in the Zillow Premier program is a valuable asset for any serious real estate agent. As long as you have an adequate budget to reach a critical mass, an impeccable profile, and the follow-up skills to convert your leads into clients, investment in Zillow Premier Agent is a no-brainer.
Ready to make the leap? Visit Zillow Premier Agent’s website to see what ZIP codes are available in your area and how this lead generation platform can fit into your marketing strategy for 2022.