Pillow talk with Zillow: Listings giant and Realogy ink multi-year deal

Deal is NYC-specific for now – but that could change

Zillow's Spencer Rascoff and Realogy's Richard Smith
Zillow's Spencer Rascoff and Realogy's Richard Smith

Two of the country’s largest real estate players — Zillow and Realogy — are joining forces in a deal that will all but ensure Realogy’s New York agents use the platform to promote their listings. Though the agreement only applies to New York City at the moment, Zillow has used individual markets as testing grounds for future nationwide initiatives.

Realogy, the parent company of firms including Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s International Realty and Corcoran Group, signed a “long-term, multi-year” deal with Zillow, allowing agents to post their sale and rental listings on StreetEasy, Zillow’s New York-based subsidiary, free of charge.

“Our primary concern has always been to make sure that our customers receive the best possible service in the industry, and that you get the same from us,” Pam Liebman, CEO of Corcoran, said in email to agents Tuesday.

The deal comes after weeks of fighting between brokers and StreetEasy over attempts to monetize the site. In July, StreetEasy introduced a new $3 daily fee to host rental listings. The move was met with widespread backlash and an alliance between many of the major brokerages to neutralize StreetEasy.

On Wednesday, StreetEasy confirmed a deal with the firms “now and for years to come.”

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“We are incredibly happy to strengthen our relationship with some of the city’s most influential real estate firms who are making their landlords and sellers their number one priority,” said Susan Daimler, StreetEasy’s general manager.

However, sources said in brokering a deal with Zillow, Realogy dealt a “big blow” to firms in New York, which does not have a multiple listings service and had been trying to break the company’s grip on listings. Last month, 11 firms stopped — or said they would stop — their automatic feeds to StreetEasy. Instead, they said they would feed listings exclusively to the Real Estate Board of New York’s residential listings service (RLS).

Critics said Realogy’s latest move was a cop-out, likening it to its response to StreetEasy’s Premier Agent program, which lets agents purchase buyer leads in certain zip codes: Initially, Corcoran blasted the advertising program, but ultimately, it signed onto Premier Broker, a version of the program that allows firms to purchase leads in bulk. (So did chief rival Douglas Elliman.)

As for the new rental fee, Corcoran and Elliman have taken different approaches so far. Following the launch of StreetEasy’s rental fee on July 18, Elliman said it would cover those costs for agents through the agent advertising budgets. Corcoran (and Citi Habitats) stopped sending rental listings to StreetEasy in protest, though individual agents were able to send listings to the site.

A Zillow Group spokesperson told Inman News the agreement would have “no impact to non-NYC brokerages.” But Zillow has previously rolled out initiatives in a single market and gradually implemented them in other markets. In May, the company piloted “Zillow Instant Offers” in Orlando and Las Vegas, a feature that allows homeowners to receive speedy offers.