Zillow has added rental listings to its site to make the user experience and content more comprehensive. COO Spencer Rascoff told me that the reason they did this was because people are often simultaneously looking for rental property and houses to buy these days, trying to make a decision about what they can afford.
Zillow in its press release cites a Harris Interactive survey that reports “25 percent of people who plan to move in the next three years say they will search for both homes for rent and homes for sale.”
The other thing that Zillow has done, which is totally novel on real-estate sites, is a monthly payment search feature that straddles the for sale and for rent markets:
With Zillow’s new monthly payment search, home shoppers can now use the “monthly payment” filter as one of their search criteria in addition to specifics like number of bedrooms or bathrooms. Zillow calculates the monthly payment on homes for sale using that day’s local mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, assuming a 20 percent down payment, and shows both for-sale and for-rent homes that match the entered criteria. Shoppers can then save their search and receive email notifications when new homes are listed. No other Web site helps home shoppers easily compare the monthly cost of owning versus renting side-by-side, and figure out the best solution for them today.
The site will charge for individual rental listings (mostly to ensure quality) and individual for sale listings (a change). Multiple listings from brokers are/will be free.
Update: Forgot that Hotpads has a rent vs. buy feature (that I wrote about). Damn you memory!