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Rental Beast study shows industry is bracing for "a multi-million-dollar impact"

January 20 2021

Largest source of rental listings offers alternative as major portal now charges for each listing

SOMERVILLE, MA, JANUARY 20, 2021 -- Real estate agents, teams, brokerages and multiple listing services (MLSs) nationwide are beginning 2021 with astonishment: The highest-traffic real estate website announced January 12 that it will no longer publish rental listings provided by local MLSs. Instead, every agent, team, brokerage and MLS must use its proprietary platform and pay $9.99 per listing, per week, to appear on Zillow.

A new study from Rental Beast, the largest rental listing data provider with nearly nine million rentals nationwide, estimates the real estate industry's annual economic impact could easily run in the tens of millions of dollars collectively.

Ishay Grinberg, founder and CEO of Rental Beast, notes, "Rental Beast estimates the new costs to a small MLS and its subscribers could be over $100,000 a year. For a large MLS, the new costs could be north of $6.5 million – per year. There are some 600 MLSs nationwide, and if just the largest ones adopt this new pricing scheme, the total economic impact on the real estate industry will run in the tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars."

Additionally, Zillow is now a licensed broker in many states, so some agents and brokers are hesitant to share their exclusive rental listing with a perceived direct competitor and paying to do so to boot.

"The good news is that Rental Beast is a better alternative for real estate agents and landlords to list rentals," said Grinberg, "and because our client is the MLS, everything is accessed through the MLS instead of a proprietary platform."

Ronald Nordgren, a leasing consultant with Infiniti Properties in Homewood, Illinois was blunt. "Paying Zillow is nuts, and I don't really need to," Nordgren said. "I closed 95 leases using Rental Beast last year and was the number one agent for rentals out of more than 200 agents at Infiniti."

For J.R. Alexandre, an Ethanmour Realty agent serving Boynton Beach, Florida, Rental Beast was a "game changer."

"I could save so much time using the platform," says Alexandre. "With Rental Beast, I can find the exact property a client wants. I save time, and I don't spin my wheels doing paperwork."

Dallas, Texas-based agent Sandra McKimmey with Better Homes and Gardens Winans Real Estate markets her listings on Facebook Marketplace through Rental Beast. Although she's only used Rental Beast for a few months, it already has paid off. "Most of my listing only took a couple of hours to close. I was able to receive a 100% commission ($1400), which more than covers my entire investment with the platform," McKimmey said.

Grinberg notes Rental Beast provides MLSs a seamless integration to help its agents and brokers safely and securely monetize an estimated $12 billion available in annual leasing commissions. As the leading source of rental listings on Facebook Marketplace, Rental Beast delivered more than 263,000 potential leads to real estate agents and landlords in 2019. According to Facebook, Rental Beast provided 54 percent more leads per listing generated than other online listing services.

"Our all-in-one solution provides a powerful suite of tools not offered by Zillow or similar listing platforms," he added. Unlike Zillow, which is limited to consumer search, Rental Beast provides enhanced agent search detailing agent commissions, rental concessions, co-operation, financial requirements, and more. Additionally, Rental Beast captures landlord renter's insurance requirements, then pairs the information with preferred rates from Liberty Mutual.

Grinberg also points to Rental Beast's advanced rental AVM (Automated Valuation Model) as a significant competitive advantage, which encompasses 50+ data points culled from nearly nine million "rigorously maintained" rental listings.

"Rental income is being attacked," said Grinberg, "and we have seen this pattern before. Rental Beast is offering an MLS/Agent driven solution that could save the real estate industry millions and millions of dollars."

Rental Beast notes that in 2017, when Zillow acquired StreetEasy, Zillow charged real estate agents to keep their listings. Over the next two years, Zillow doubled its pricing for agents.

"The bottom line: if you are an MLS, a brokerage, a team, or an individual agent needing a better rental listing solution, we invite you to learn how Rental Beast can help you grow your business and provide more value to you and your clients."

About Rental Beast

Rental Beast, the largest rental listing data provider with nearly nine million rentals nationwide, is an end-to-end SaaS platform empowering real estate professionals with powerful productivity tools. Sourced directly from property owners, updated in real-time, and offering a fulfillment-grade rental dataset, the Rental Beast database, directly and in partnership with local Multiple Listing Services, provides real estate professionals with an unparalleled view of all properties and owner types.

For more information, visit rentalbeast.com.