Real estate site Zillow says it’s already attracting 8.3 million monthly visitors who want to search for (and see the estimated value) of a new home. Now the Seattle company is moving into the rental market.
To be clear, Zillow won’t necessarily replace Craigslist when I decide to search for my next apartment. If you read the company’s blog post, it sounds like Zillow isn’t trying to become a general rental site but rather target a couple of specific audiences — homeowners who want to rent out their houses while they try to sell them (or until it’s a better market for selling), and shoppers who aren’t sure whether they want to rent or buy.
Zillow’s most interesting new feature should be a good fit for that second audience. Rather than forcing users to do an apples-to-oranges comparison between a home’s sale price and another home’s monthly rent, you can set a monthly payment range you can afford, and Zillow will bring up both for-sale and for-rent homes that fall in that range.
I went to the site to see what rentals I could turn up in Noe Valley (the San Francisco neighborhood where I live) or SoMa (where VentureBeat has its office). While there were plenty of sale listings, I ended up with zero rentals. In those neighborhoods, at least, potential renters will have to wait for homeowners to put up some rental listings.