Zillow vs Trulia: Company Profiles and How They Compare

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Gone are the days of driving through a neighborhood trying to spot “for sale” signs in front of houses. Today’s house hunters hop on the information highway, instead. You can find listings on numerous websites, but two of the biggest are Zillow and Trulia.

If you type “homes for sale” plus the area where you’re looking into a search bar, these two sites will pop up near the top of any results. If you don’t want to waste time on your home search, or you need to find a great agent to sell your home, how do they compare? If you’re considering the benefits of Zillow vs. Trulia, which site might be best for your real estate needs?

Let’s dive into the answers that will help you decide which website to work with during your home selling or buying journey.

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Editor’s note: The specifics of buying programs can change. Please visit the company websites for the most up-to-date information.

What is Zillow?

Zillow is one of the oldest — and largest — real estate listing websites. The company was founded in December 2004 and launched Zillow.com in February 2006. From there, it grew to quickly dominate the market. Today, the website receives more than 57 million monthly visits. For comparison, the second largest real estate website is Realtor.com, which receives about 30 million monthly visits.

Zillow aggregates multiple list service, or MLS, listings nationwide. Before Zillow, you had to sign up with an agent to get access to this data. But now, Zillow functions as a lead generator for agents — collecting data on interested buyers and sellers and charging agents for access to those leads.

Just because you see an agent’s face and number next to a listing doesn’t mean that they represent the seller. Zillow accepts and places paid advertisements for agents — it’s up to you to dig deeper to find online testimonials about their quality, interview past clients, and request their sales data.

Like other real estate sites, Zillow provides a wide range of housing data statistics that help home sellers, buyers, agents, and industry analysts track consumer housing trends.

Landlords pay to list their apartments for rent on Zillow, and it’s a good source for renters who are apartment hunting. Zillow also connects buyers to mortgage lenders, providing information about rates and reviews of their services. The company doesn’t currently buy homes directly, however. They used to, which we’ll touch on later in this post.

What is Trulia?

Trulia, founded in 2005, ranks third to Zillow for internet traffic. Their site receives 10 million monthly visitors searching for places to buy or rent, or looking for help with a mortgage. Like Zillow, users can search homes for sale near them from a nationwide database.

Trulia adds value to website visitors through neighborhood reviews and deep dives. Their local insights help home shoppers find the best place to live. Users — actual people who live where you’re thinking of buying a house — leave reviews that can guide your search.

While they have a different look, Trulia offers many of the same features as Zillow — and there’s a reason for that. They’re owned by the same company. Zillow bought Trulia in 2015 but has continued to operate the website separately.

Zillow vs. Trulia: How are they different?

The sites both have the core function — providing home shoppers with searchable listings — but they do have a few differences.

For-sale-by-owner (FSBO) listings

Zillow allows for-sale-by-owner, or FSBO, listings. Owners can submit their homes directly and get listed on the site. While Trulia allows FSBO listings, you have to go through Zillow to get your home listed. The difference between them is the ease of listing.

Other real estate websites don’t allow homeowners to post their own FSBO listings, so searching on Zillow and Trulia might show you more results.

Neighborhood information

Trulia Neighborhoods is a great resource for people shopping in unfamiliar neighborhoods, cities, or states. When you search a neighborhood, you can see current and historical pictures, read summaries of what it’s like to live there, access neighborhood and crime data, and more. For some neighborhoods, they’ll dive into fitness options, dog parks nearby, and schools.

Zillow doesn’t have a comparable feature on their website.

Search filters

You know you want a place with three bedrooms, but would you prefer two baths over one? If you’re buying a condo, do you want A/C? Search filters allow you to narrow down results, sometimes filtering hundreds of listings to just a few great options.

Zillow and Trulia have the basics — number of bedrooms and baths, and housing type — but Zillow has more robust filters. On Zillow, you can select square footage, amenities such as a pool or water view, parking options, and more. Trulia doesn’t present all of these as search options — but you can input them as keywords in case the listing agent has included them in the home’s description.

How are they the same?

Beyond these smaller differences, the websites primarily have similar features.

iBuyer services

iBuyers (instant buyers) offer to buy homes for cash — saving you the hassle of minor repairs, decluttering, and keeping your house clean for showings. They specialize in working with sellers who need a quick, easy close. Other real estate platforms, such as Opendoor and Offerpad or HomeLight’s Simple Sale, also provide sellers with a no-obligation, all-cash offer.

Zillow used to have an iBuyer service, Zillow Offers, but they closed it in 2021. Trulia doesn’t have an iBuyer service, either.

Home value estimates

Both companies have home value estimator tools. Sellers can plug in their address and receive an estimate of its value. Zillow and Trulia base their estimates on local market sales data.

Because they’re owned by the same company, they draw on the same data sets. You likely won’t see many differences between their home value estimates.

If you’re wondering what your home might be worth, try HomeLight’s free Home Value Estimator tool now. Enter your address and get a preliminary estimate of home value in under two minutes.

Listing sources

Both Zillow and Trulia draw their listings from the MLS, partners, brokers and agents, third-party feed services, and FSBOs. Their listings will appear the same, though their search options are different.

Apps and useful tools

Prefer to do your home shopping on your phone? There’s an app for that! While each website’s app offers different features, they both allow you to search and save listings.

Zillow’s App

  • Notifies you of the latest listings
  • Can drag and draw to refine your search area
  • Save homes, leave notes, and share them with others
  • See inside homes with 3D or virtual tours
  • Set up a time to tour a home with an agent

Trulia’s App (Trulia: Homes For Sale & Rent)

They also have an apartment app.

  • 33 maps overlays that show neighborhood details (such as schools)
  • Virtual neighborhood tours, including drone footage
  • Search and save listings, draw map boundaries to refine your search
  • Customize instant alerts for your home search — with 30+ options
  • Schedule and plan open houses

Agent finder services

If you’re looking for a local real estate agent to help in your home search, Zillow and Trulia are happy to help. They earn their money from advertisements and referral fees.

While they both collect fees from advertising placement, mortgage broker referrals, and agents who pay for featured spots, the lion’s share of their funding comes from agent referrals.

How do Zillow and Trulia work for home sellers?

How would a home seller use their websites?

  • Research nearby comparable properties to get an idea of what their home might sell for
  • Receive a ballpark estimate of their home’s value
  • Request introductions to agents in the site’s network
  • See what other people are saying about their neighborhood and leave their own reviews

How do Zillow and Trulia work for homebuyers?

Homebuyers can use Zillow and Trulia for similar functions, but with a different focus than home sellers.

  • Research properties to determine affordability or check if a listing price is reasonable
  • Receive a ballpark estimate of a home’s value before making an offer
  • Request introductions to agents in the site’s network
  • See what other people are saying about a neighborhood and decide if they’d like to live there

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Is there a cost to use Zillow and Trulia?

There’s no cost to use their websites or download their apps. Accessing and searching listings is completely free. You can sign up for an account and easily save your information on both sites.

However, if you use one of their recommended agents, sellers will pay the agent’s commission.

Which is better, a real estate listing site or working directly with a Realtor?

While it’s fun to browse listings on a real estate listing site, when you get serious about your home search, you’ll want to work with a Realtor. In fact, according to the data experts at Statista, real estate agents are still the top way most buyers find a home. Listing sites like Zillow and Trulia are the second most popular channels for home shoppers.

Experienced agents can help sellers accurately sell, stage, and market their homes. For homebuyers, they’ll know the best schools, where to find up-and-coming neighborhoods, and have the local knowledge you can’t find on a website.

An experienced agent won’t just help you sell your existing home or find the perfect new residence, they’ll make sure your offer stands out in a crowded marketplace, and negotiate in your best interests.

If you’d like to connect with a top-performing agent in your market, HomeLight’s free Agent Match tool analyzes over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you based on your needs.

Zillow and Trulia reviews

How do reviewers rate Zillow and Trulia? Below are ratings we pulled from three business review websites* and a brief overview of thoughts shared by some of the online reviewers. Online reviews are obviously subjective and consumer experiences will vary, but they can provide insight. It’s always best to research any agent or service before committing to a real estate transaction.

Zillow review ratings

Trustpilot — 1.5 out of 5 stars, with 361 reviews

Complaints range from agent-specific snafus — poor or unprofessional communication, unhappiness with negotiations — to concerns about improperly valued homes. There are some positive reviews from buyers and sellers who liked their agent, and several reviews left for the wrong website.

Consumer Affairs — 1.0 out of 5 stars, with 789 reviews

You’ll find similar complaints about poor communication and unprofessional behavior, as well as frustration from renters who dislike the platform. Positive reviews include praising agents that were “very responsive” and “amazing and professional.” Other reviews from agents question the benefit of the leads they paid for, as well as the constantly shifting price structure.

Better Business Bureau — 1.06 out of 5 stars, with 125 reviews

The Better Business Bureau has received over 680 complaints about Zillow in the last three years. This is the only website where Zillow directly posts responses to customer complaints — primarily addressing complaints from agents who felt deceived by the contracts and pricing, as well as unhappy with the leads generated. BBB gives Zillo an F grade.

Trulia review ratings

Trustpilot — 2.2out of 5 stars, with 19 reviews

Reviewers who left positive reviews appreciated their agent’s in-depth knowledge or the home browsing experience. Negative reviews claim that poor agent, home, or neighborhood reviews are heavily censored or not posted on the site.

Consumer Affairs — 2.9 out of 5 stars, with 54 reviews

Reviewers like the user-friendly interface and different map options, particularly if shopping in an unfamiliar area. Renters complain of companies that never call them back, or have rented an apartment by the time they respond.

Better Business Bureau — 1 out of 5 stars, with five reviews

The Better Business Bureau has handled a much lower volume of complaints — just one in the last three years — for Trulia. The reviewer was upset about their home information posted to the site and wanted it removed, which isn’t necessarily a reflection upon Trulia’s service.

*Reviews as of April 18, 2024

Alternatives to Zillow and Trulia

Home sellers and buyers have more options than ever before. There are many real estate websites offering valuable services — everything from matching you with a top-rated local agent to giving you powerful tools to find or sell your next home. Some examples include:

What real estate services does HomeLight offer?

HomeLight offers several services and tools similar to Zillow and Trulia. These free, easy-to-use tools help home sellers and buyers navigate the real estate market successfully.

  • Agent Match: This free tool can match you with top agents in your area to help you find a home, or agents who sell homes faster and for more money than average agents.
  • HomeLight Simple Sale: HomeLight provides a cash offer to buy your home in 24 hours, which allows you to skip repair costs, showings, and agent commissions. You can close in as little as 10 days.
  • Buy Before you sell: This innovative program allows homeowners to tap into their home equity quickly and use the funds for a down payment on a new home, all with the assistance of experienced real estate professionals who guide the entire process. This helps you avoid carrying two mortgages and you only need to move once.

Are you buying and selling at the same time?

Through the Buy Before You Sell program, HomeLight can help you unlock a portion of your equity upfront to put toward your next home. You can then make a strong offer on your next home with no home sale contingency. You can also receive a guaranteed offer on your home in the event that it doesn’t sell on the open market.

Here’s how HomeLight Buy Before You Sell works:

If your home qualifies, you can get your equity unlock amount approved in 24 hours or less. No cost or commitment is required. Once you’re approved, you can buy your dream home with confidence and then sell your current home with more peace of mind.

»Learn more: How to ‘Buy Before You Sell’ with HomeLight

Additional tools and resources

  • Home Value Estimator: Get an estimate of your home’s current value.
  • Agent Commissions Calculator: Estimate how much you’ll pay in agent commissions on your home sale or purchase.
  • Net Proceeds Calculator: This tool helps you estimate the cost of selling your home and the net proceeds you could earn from the sale.
  • Best Time to Sell Calculator: Need to get top dollar for your home sale, or close quickly? Our best time to sell calculator analyzes transactions in your area so you know when you’ll get the most money.
  • Home Affordability Calculator: Want to know how much house you can afford? Input some information about income and expenses and the calculator gives you a ballpark.

When it comes to real estate websites, shop around

You probably won’t accept the first offer you receive on a house or buy the first home you tour. So why limit yourself to just one real estate website? Expanding the sites you visit gives you access to additional information and knowledge.

After spending time on various real estate websites you’ll quickly realize whose site experience, search features, and content you find most helpful. And that will eventually lead to the best overall experience in the real estate market.

To significantly increase your chances of a successful home sale or purchase, partner with a proven real estate agent by using HomeLight’s free Agent Match platform. It takes just two minutes to match you with top-performing agents in your market, who can guide you through the process.

Writer Dena Landon contributed to this story.

Header Image Source: (James Feaver / Unsplash)

Frequently Asked Questions about Zillow and Trulia

Just the facts? Here are some quick answers to common questions about these sites.