Zillow appears to be in the process of becoming a REALTOR brokerage. The story has been evolving during 2020. As Zillow transitions from being a listing distribution or advertising platform to a REALTOR (member of NAR, CAR and also some local local Associations,) they will receive the same rights and benefits as other brokerages.
Among these rights is the right to access IDX (Internet Data Exchange) feeds.
Today, Zillow receives listing data from brokers instructing CRMLS to provide their listing information through a specifically tailored listing distribution feed called a syndication feed. Once Zillow becomes a brokerage in the CRMLS area, they will access listings through the same feeds that brokers receive on their web pages today.
What could this change mean for agents and brokers?
Listing distribution control changes:
The CRMLS system currently permits brokers to control which listing distribution partners receive their listings, including Realtor.com, Homes.com, Apartments.com, and Zillow. Those options will soon change. As Zillow will be a participating brokerage instead of a listing distribution partner, brokers will not be able to specifically exclude Zillow from receiving their listings.
Changes to how listings display on Zillow
Because of the switch to IDX feeds, listing data will display on Zillow differently than it does today. Full details are still forthcoming. CRMLS shared, however, that their IDX licensing agreement does not permit advertising in the way you may be used to on Zillow. Zillow will update its current listing displays to comply with CRMLS IDX standards, the same as any brokerage that uses that same IDX listing data feed. IDX rules can be found in section 12.16 of the CRMLS Rules and Regulations.
Changes to rental listing search on Zillow
You may have heard rumors that Zillow plans to start charging fees for rental listings. (In fact, per Zillow, Zillow has charged fees for rental listings for “about a year,” except for MLS-sourced listings.) As outlined above, Zillow is also moving to IDX feeds. It’s reasonable to wonder how these two things can coexist.
CRMLS reached out to Zillow and confirmed that Zillow will no longer combine rental and for-sale properties in the same search. In other words, their IDX feed for MLS-sourced for sale listings will not comingle with their feeds for rental listings.
Per Zillow, “None of the fees… will be implemented until Jan 2021 and will not be on any listings under [Zillow’s] current syndication license.”
Zillow continued: “Under IDX, [Zillow] will not be pulling or displaying any [rental] listings under the IDX license. The rentals search will be a completely separate search experience on the site.”