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Evan Hamamoto's profile image
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Evan Hamamoto's profile image
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Evan Hamamoto
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Rental Applications through Zillow Rental Manager vs. Avail.co

Evan Hamamoto
  • New to Real Estate
  • Columbus, OH
Posted Feb 8 2023, 13:28

Are the applications through Zillow rental manager good enough for people who use a different property management software/website? A lot of potential tenants have found my property through Zillow, but I use Avail.co to manage my properties. Avail has an application that is $55 (credit check, eviction history, income, criminal history, etc.), but Zillow has an application that is $29 and the potential tenant can use it for multiple properties within 30 days. It seems like it has the same information, but I'm not familiar enough with Zillow rental manager to know for sure. Any thoughts? I hate for people to spend $55 who I don't end up renting to, even though I list all of my screening criteria on my listing.

Garrett Christensen's profile image
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Garrett Christensen's profile image
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Garrett Christensen
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Garrett Christensen
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Orem, UT
Replied Feb 8 2023, 13:39

Yeah for that reason I use Zillow and Rentler over other products. The one-time fee is much more reasonable for tenants. Honestly, sometimes I don't even do the credit checks and whatnot. I think what's most important is what their past landlords say about them and their income compared to the rent. (3x income for example). 

If you want for sure want the checks then I would suggest using Rentler or Zillow, or both. You could also do a prescreening questionnaire that is free and then only have your top applicants pay for the background check. I just feel bad when people rack up hundreds of dollars in application fees alone. Filling properties is like a marketing funnel, so you don't want to turn away people at the top level because of application fees.

Phong Bui's profile image
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Phong Bui's profile image
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Phong Bui
  • Rental Property Investor
Replied Feb 9 2023, 13:25

I've tried zillow application system and tbh it is junk. The only thing it's good for is as a listing platform. Whenever I get interest from there, I direct them to apply through a different site.

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Drew Sygit's profile image
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Drew Sygit's profile image
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Drew Sygit#2 Managing Your Property Contributor
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Replied Feb 9 2023, 18:22

They don't have to use Zillow!

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Replied Feb 10 2023, 06:36
Quote from @Phong Bui:

I've tried zillow application system and tbh it is junk. The only thing it's good for is as a listing platform. Whenever I get interest from there, I direct them to apply through a different site.


 New guy here wanting to try out Zillow. Would you please elaborate on why you think the Zillow application system is junk?

Evan Hamamoto's profile image
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Evan Hamamoto's profile image
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Evan Hamamoto
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Evan Hamamoto
  • New to Real Estate
  • Columbus, OH
Replied Feb 10 2023, 09:45
Quote from @Garrett Christensen:

Yeah for that reason I use Zillow and Rentler over other products. The one-time fee is much more reasonable for tenants. Honestly, sometimes I don't even do the credit checks and whatnot. I think what's most important is what their past landlords say about them and their income compared to the rent. (3x income for example). 

If you want for sure want the checks then I would suggest using Rentler or Zillow, or both. You could also do a prescreening questionnaire that is free and then only have your top applicants pay for the background check. I just feel bad when people rack up hundreds of dollars in application fees alone. Filling properties is like a marketing funnel, so you don't want to turn away people at the top level because of application fees.


Thanks for the feedback! That's my thought as well. I don't receive any of the application fees, but it still feels bad that they pay $55 and not get the property.

Evan Hamamoto's profile image
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Evan Hamamoto's profile image
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Evan Hamamoto
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Evan Hamamoto
  • New to Real Estate
  • Columbus, OH
Replied Feb 10 2023, 09:47
Quote from @Feng Zhang:
Quote from @Phong Bui:

I've tried zillow application system and tbh it is junk. The only thing it's good for is as a listing platform. Whenever I get interest from there, I direct them to apply through a different site.


 New guy here wanting to try out Zillow. Would you please elaborate on why you think the Zillow application system is junk?


 Yea, I'm interested to hear some of the downsides of the Zillow applications. I would mainly use them for the credit check, background check, and eviction check. The landlord references and income verification I can do myself if needed.

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Evan Hamamoto's profile image
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Evan Hamamoto
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Evan Hamamoto
  • New to Real Estate
  • Columbus, OH
Replied Feb 10 2023, 09:50
Quote from @Drew Sygit:

They don't have to use Zillow!


 I agree, but it's beneficial to them to be able to reuse the reports to apply to other properties. I don't make any money off of the application fees, so it doesn't help me if potential tenants pay application fees and don't get the property. Plus I only have 2 doors right now, so I can't rent them another property.

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Phong Bui's profile image
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Phong Bui
  • Rental Property Investor
Replied Feb 10 2023, 15:30
Quote from @Evan Hamamoto:
Quote from @Feng Zhang:
Quote from @Phong Bui:

I've tried zillow application system and tbh it is junk. The only thing it's good for is as a listing platform. Whenever I get interest from there, I direct them to apply through a different site.


 New guy here wanting to try out Zillow. Would you please elaborate on why you think the Zillow application system is junk?


 Yea, I'm interested to hear some of the downsides of the Zillow applications. I would mainly use them for the credit check, background check, and eviction check. The landlord references and income verification I can do myself if needed.

 @Evan Hamamoto @Feng Zhang

The most important aspects of an application and screening for zillow is trash. Ive had applicants who show no eviction history, but a search on the municipal court in JUST our county showed several.

Ive had applicants who falsified their paystubs, which i get is possible, but if you compare to other options like smartmove, it at least attempts to analyze whether the reported income makes sense for their credit.

Overall, i have no trust in its application system. Plus, as a property management site, its even more horrendous. Compare it to free options like apartments.com and innago.com, that has a lot of functionality for partial rents, tenant and maintenance communication, and overall the u/i for the site, idk why anyone would even consider using zillow.

Like i said this, i like the reach of zillow, so i post vacancies on there, and then direct interested applicants to a different site to apply, one that is better and they i trust more than zillow.

Adah N.'s profile image
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Adah N.'s profile image
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Adah N.
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Adah N.
  • Investor
  • Atlanta, GA
Replied Feb 10 2023, 20:29

@Evan Hamamoto

I use either. They can prescreen with Avail before paying a the application fee or they can use their Zillow application. I don’t think the Zillow prescreening app is junk, it is good enough for prescreening.

Loki Rao's profile image
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Loki Rao's profile image
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Loki Rao
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Loki Rao
  • Raleigh, NC
Replied Feb 11 2023, 07:47

I am using zillow for everything it is not the greatest but some aspects are good. I think the platform is targeted for DIY small landlords rather than for professionals. It is good for getting the leads and listing.

It is worst for the payments. I have never used such a worst payment platform. It takes 8 to 9 days to get money into my account.

Hemant Chavan's profile image
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Hemant Chavan's profile image
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Hemant Chavan
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  • New York, NY
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Hemant Chavan
  • Rental Property Investor
  • New York, NY
Replied Feb 12 2023, 04:03

@Evan Hamamoto

Zillow is def junk, weak eviction check and paystub forgery is real. Stuck with a bad tenant in Philly where eviction is difficult anyways. Switched to this new software called Housie.io the prescreening is great because they verify income directly from the tenants bank. Their 3D tours seem better than Matterport too.

Glenn Hoffman's profile image
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Glenn Hoffman's profile image
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Glenn Hoffman
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Glenn Hoffman
  • Chicago, IL
Replied Apr 16 2023, 18:35
Hello all, I am just chiming in here as I manage my properties through Avail.  Avail has been great for me as their listing syndication and legal lease generation features make management easier.  If you don't already know, Zillow Rental Manager just dropped Avail as a syndication partner for listings.  I agree that Zillow may not be the best for management/screening, but about 60-70% of my leads came through Zillow before this event.  I'm currently listing a unit via Avail, and despite them adding some syndication partners, I am seeing considerably less interest in my properties.  This is a direct blow to Avail.  I really don't want to manage two sites for listings. It will also be painful to move all my units to another platform that syndicates with Zillow, and then there's the risk that Zillow may decide at any time to drop any given platform .  I'm going to ride it out here for a bit on Avail because of the features I mentioned and excellent customer service, but not driving tenants to my listings could result in thousands of dollars being left on the table.
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Adah N.'s profile image
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Adah N.'s profile image
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Adah N.
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Adah N.
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Replied Apr 16 2023, 19:04

@Glenn Hoffman

I think it is a mistake not to list on Zillow. That would be like someone omitting the “For Rent” sign on the lawn in those days when there was no internet.