How to Develop Real Estate App like Zillow? – Its Features & Cost

Developing an app for real estate business niche is gaining pace today. The main reason for this increasing trend is the rise of smartphones in people’s lives. Again, even compared to humans, people tend to be more on mobile today.

If you take a breath and look around your surroundings, you will find that either a friend or a family member is making a shift. Now, this shift can be more than moving to another home, instead, to a new city or even a country.

Keeping the changing lifestyle in mind, changes have been seen in the world of mobile technologies too. For the people, apps like Zillow have simplified the process of buying a house or renting a place.

So, the first question that comes to our mind is what is so special about the app like Zillow? And why you should think about building one like that for the business?

Let’s dig a little here …

About Zillow app

Today, Zillow is one of the top-rated real estate app solutions available in the market. As per the Report by Zillow enjoys the support of 195 million users and has revenue of more than $1.3 billion through different revenue generation modes. It is used as the first solution when it comes to finding rented apartments and buying homes.

Why Zillow App?

Today Zillow is the first and the last name when we are dealing with real estate. What a real estate broker does for you is clearly done by Zillow and that too free of cost. This also helps people to stay away from brokers who are more prone to cheat people of their time and money. When you are using this app, this issue gets automatically resolved as the users will not find such fraudsters there.

Zillow possesses the largest database that comes with home listings in the US for the buyers. Moreover, if you are planning to go ahead with home shopping, it has the right tools available for free to use. When we talk about the buyers, they have got the largest audience they could have asked for to market their house. While for industry people, they can make use of this app as an advertising network platform to get to more business interests.


Things to Remember When Developing a Real Estate App like Zillow

When you are planning to develop a real estate app focused on iOS and Android, you need to look into a number of things first. Now, this is important because this step will let you come up with a successful process to develop an app most appropriately. For this, some of the features which you should have included in your real estate app are:

Simple design

Real estate app is more focused on the usability side, and so the simplicity of design should be considered as the top priority. When we talk about the interface, it has to be convenient enough for the users to allow them to move anywhere they want with ease as well as they should be able to find the thing they are looking for with ease quickly. When you are building an app that concentrates on real estate, the application should be more focused on app usability and user experience rather than putting more stress on colours and shapes. In short, the threshold where the user will get a hold of different elements of the app is this. You should never underestimate simple designs as most of the time, they are the key to best user experience.

A searching machine which is good enough

If you are planning to develop a real estate app like Zillow, then you should definitely consider this point. When people are looking for houses, they need to find it at the earliest, and they should be able to implement different parameters which can help with it. This will help them to efficiently and quickly get access to the data that they are looking for. This way, the resource will be utilized more, and the user experience that it offers to the users through the resource will increase automatically.

Good streaming

How well the development process is taking place and what kind of storage is used to store in all the important data and photographs means a lot when you are developing a real estate application. It is important to make use of NAR and MLS databases in order to increase the speed of streaming. Instead of spending a huge amount of money in buying hardware for storage, using cloud-based systems are considered better. If you are looking for other reliable solutions, then you can think about leasing servers but, something that you need to keep in mind is that this will end up as an additional amount to your project budget.

Huge list of photos

Now, this comes without much saying that it is very important to stress this point when you are developing an application for real estate. You need to develop a huge and well-maintained library of photos in your app. This is important because people are going to see them first before they actually buy a house. This should be added along with other details and easy access should be made available to the photos. Moreover, for the customers, this will work as a step forward to build trust.

Features To Have Included in Your Real Estate App

There are some features which make Zillow what it is today. This means if you are planning to develop a real estate app like Zillow, you need to think about including those features which can help it grow. So when you are conceptualizing the app, you need to keep those features in mind.

Features of Real Estate App

Advanced search functionality

When we talk about the basic features to be added in the real estate app, then this is certainly one of them. It will be possible for you to offer a better user experience by having better and sorted search events for the users. Now, this is something that you will find in every other competitor app in the market. This means you need to take the time to know more about the functionality and implement it in your app the better way. By considering all the important parameters included in the search, you can break them down in order to have advanced search options. Such options will let the users get to the details of what they are looking for.

App sign up

Whatever be the app is in question; it definitely comes with a signup page. This feature should be included in the real estate app too. Once the user signs up into the app, there should be a short on-boarding process which can be used to introduce the app and its features clearly.

This will lead to the development of user-profiles. The users can save their searches and preferences here, which boost user experience. Again, it will become possible for the users to get more of a customized and personalized content which they can look into, compare in terms of locality, prices, etc. Moreover, if they find any of such properties interesting, they can save them for later reference.

Search and filter

With so much data made available over the database, it becomes important to put them to use in the right manner. Now, this is a challenge as if relevant information is not made available to the users, and then there is no use of having them in the first place. Whether it is about renting or buying a house, users need to look into different things and so the use of the right filter in the app becomes crucial.

The search and filter can be applied based on different factors like property type, location, square foot, pricing, type of listing, year of development, extra facilities, etc. The more valuable data you can have, the better filters can be applied to help with searching.

Schedule a home tour

When looking for properties, the users always have some options listed out. This must be based on their preferences as well as by seeing the images listed on the app. Once they have narrowed down the searches, they can ask for a property tour. This can be made possible through the app by adding in a button “Schedule home tour”. The user can also add in the preferred date and time to clear any issues. The user can also contact the agent directly to schedule the tour.

Video tours

Video tours can be now done in the best possible manner by depending on streaming and imaging technologies available in the market. Well-scripted and professionally developed videos can be developed to showcase the property by the use of interactive tools. This will save a lot of time for the users as this will reduce enough foot traffic and they will get an idea about what to expect from the ones they have chosen to go ahead with.

3D VR tours

Not all properties are completed. If the user is planning to have something which is still under construction, then it is possible to get a clear idea about the upcoming project through a virtual presentation. The app can include VR tours, which can be made accessible to the users who are looking for the said property. This way, the users will be able to get a glimpse of the video from anywhere in the world before they make any investment. This even saves a lot of time and efforts for the users.

Strong databases

Whether it is about real estate or any other business, if you are dealing with information, then databases play a crucial role. In this kind of app service, you will have to include a lot of information in the app regarding the properties, owners, seekers, etc. This will get added on everyday basis and you will have to use them efficiently to gather trends and patterns which are related to the industry. This can only become possible with the proper database in place as well as systems, which can help you achieve the goals. Such databases collect information related to the properties from different sources, which include NAR, MLS as well as other third party sources. This way, the users can find them at a single place rather than having to use different systems.

Interactive graphical display of listings

Adding visuals to the listings is one of the best ways to increase engagements. Instead of relying on long text-based listings, the app like Zillow plans to go ahead with visual representation using graphics. Whether it is about iOS or Android, you can easily find different graphical interpretations which can be put to use. You can make use of SDKs for graphs and charts for the same. This will help you to make things better by including directions and street views more than adding pictures and maps to the properties.

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‘Save search’ feature for customer retention

As the name suggests, “Save Search” will let you save the results so that you can take a look at it later. This is almost like the “Add to cart” option you have with eCommerce stores. Too many properties can confuse people and in a matter of time, they may forget what they saw in the first place. This feature will let them go back and take a look at them when needed. Again, based on the saved searches, the app will make recommendations and look into search preferences to offer relevant search results. Such saved searches also help to start browsing from where they stopped last time by using the feature of autosuggestions. Based on such saved searches, realtors can know what the users are thinking and market their property accordingly; they can also use this to communicate with users to boost sales.

Use of maps

The users want to get a complete idea about the neighbourhood before choosing a property. This can be made possible by including maps in there. Users can look into the locality and know if there are any schools, hospitals or other amenities nearby. It can also include some local information like:

  • Local population
  • Shops nearby
  • Opinion about the neighborhood
  • Crime rates

When the information is properly segregated and used, it can do much benefit for the users.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are said to have an important role when it comes to building your app for real estate business. This is the best way to get the attention of the users towards the app even when they are not thinking. Some of the scenarios where you should make use of push notifications are:

  • Whenever there are new property updates
  • Whenever there is a price drop on the property you liked and saved
  • When the property listed goes through an update

Details of the property

Users are there to know more about your property and so take some time to offer in what they want. The detailed information can include the photos, price, kind of the property, a small description about the property, address, the area, lot size and additional information which can be like furniture, flooring, parking, air conditioning system, etc.

It is also good to have a feature added where the users are given alternative options that are having similar features. This way, the users will have the alternatives ready when they are going through the options.

Two Must have Technology to Included in Your Real Estate App

We all know that smartphones are playing a crucial role in our lives today and you can see it influencing the real estate sector too. So people who are looking for property to buy or rent in their city or any other part of the world depend on mobile apps first to get in touch with realtors and upcoming projects. Understanding this said market change, real estate businesses can work on their mobile applications in order to easily attract users towards it. This can be achieved using…


Big Data

Large volumes of data need to be collected about the people who are seeking property. Further there is huge database with respect the property listing which needs to be analysed and filtered in may forms. Companies use this data to get insights which can be used then to offer them properties based on their preferences as well as to set ads on the app and different social media platforms.


Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality

Getting a 3D view of the property can work a step further in letting the users know more about the property. This will eventually speed up the buying process. Using AR/VR, buyers as well as renters can have a virtual experience of the property without going out physically at the place. All they got is a real experience plus saves lot of time as well as money.

Hiring a Development Team or Developers for

When developing the real estate app, it is important to have the right people on board. Buying a home is not a small thing in people’s lives and so something that helps with the process has to be developed most sensibly. This means just having a developer hired will do no good to the project. For properly carrying out the development, you will need a team which is led by a project manager. You will need a mobile developer, backend developer, app interface designer and yes, a QA engineer to take care of the project updates and changes.

This is something you should have in general, to carry out the development process. You can even plan to have a team build which isn’t based on your random selection.

Cost to Develop Zillow Like App

The cost to develop an app like Zillow will depend on the kind of features you plan to include in the project. The development process, as well as the team you will choose to carry out the project development, will all add up to the costs. Based on the charge per hour for the members of the development team and the timeline, it will become possible for you to get a rough idea about how much you will need to spend. You need to keep in mind that the charges of the developer will change based on the location too. It will be around $100 to $250 per hour if the developer is from the US; if from Europe, it will be about $80 to $180 per hour and if you are choosing developer from India, it will be around $25 to $50 per hour.

If you are developing a real estate app with basic functionality, then it will go up to $10,000, and the price will increase with the increase in the number of features and functionality and reach around $35,000.

How to Monetize Your Real Estate App Like Zillow

Whatever efforts you put up in the app development, it can only be considered fruitful if it brings to you profits. Only if the investors find the idea interesting only then it will be possible to get ahead with the project. When you are planning to monetize the app, you need to look for ways where the app can make money without affecting the app experience for the users. There are some monetization models which you can follow and they are:

Normal Advertising

Another way is to simply integrate the ads which you normally find in other apps. Such apps are not much specific like the former one, but here the number of views or taps work towards getting money from the app. Using this method, the app companies like yours can generate revenue all the while keeping the app free to use for the users. However, it has to be kept in mind that you should not add in more number of ads in your app or else the users will get annoyed and the app will look like less professional.

Professional Advertising

Zillow makes use of this kind of monetization model. This can be used by estate agents and brokers to promote their services to the leads directly for a decided fee. This way, this ad will not be shown to everyone annoying them while will be focused on customers who are ready to make the transaction. Here the ads will be displaying the profiles of the agents or brokers who are specialized in dealing with the said property for buy or rent purpose.

Freemium Model

Using the freemium model is another way for you to make money through the app. In such a model, the app will be made available to users with some basic features and functionality. If they want to have access to and use additional features, they need to buy a premium version. Again, the premium version will be ad-free for the users.


Just be clear in your mind that developing quality real estate app is not rocket science. You need to be clear about what you want in the first place. Before you get ahead with everything, you should definitely take some time to study the market and the user needs as you don’t want to end up something that adds no value to your business. Everything that you will need to get started with your real estate app development has been explained above. So take your time and go through it.

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    Ronak Patel

    Ronak Patel, the CEO of Aglowid IT Solutions, is a NASSCOM member and a published writer in top tech publications like DZone and Hacker Noon. With a background as a full-stack developer, he brings a wealth of technical expertise. Ronak's marketing acumen complements his technical skills, ensuring the delivery of innovative IT solutions that excel in the market.

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