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ZipRealty: How It Works, Pros & Cons, and Alternatives

With a huge number of up-to-the-minute listings, and a transparent home valuation tool, ZipRealty offers utility and convenience. But this industry leader also comes with an asterisk or two. This is what sellers need to know about ZipRealty.
With a huge number of up-to-the-minute listings, and a transparent home valuation tool, ZipRealty offers utility and convenience. But this industry leader also comes with an asterisk or two. This is what sellers need to know about ZipRealty.

ZipRealty is one of the largest companies to offer a website that provides details about home listings. Their website offers an incredibly detailed map of available homes, which are updated several times an hour. With a single click, users can explore everything from the local school district to local crime rates in granular detail.

But while ZipRealty is unparalleled on the information front, it bears mentioning that there's no financial incentive to working with them. If you use a ZipRealty to sell your home, there's no commission discount or rebate to look forward to; you'll still be on the hook for the typical 6% commission.

With so many low commission alternatives, sellers want to think twice before deciding to use ZipRealty.

> Get connected with a real estate expert to find out the best way to save money while selling your home.

Read on for a comprehensive overview of ZipRealty, including pros and cons, costs of listing with them, and their effectiveness compared to the competition.

What is ZipRealty?

Founded in 1999 by two Berkeley graduates, ZipRealty was acquired in 2014 by Realogy, the largest residential brokerage company in the U.S. Realogy owns brands like Century21, Coldwell Banker, Sotheby's International Realty, the Corcoran Group, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, and many more.

Essentially, ZipRealty is the online face of the Realogy brands.

So what does ZipRealty offer? Their online presence packs a lot of data into a single interface, rivaling industry giants like Zillow and Redfin. First, they compile listings from local MLS databases across the country, so their selection of properties is nearly comprehensive; ZipRealty claims they have up to 30% more listings than rival sites.

They also put a lot of effort into vetting and screening their listings. While a good percentage of the properties on many sites are “zombie” listings — homes that have either already sold, or have been withdrawn from the market — ZipRealty makes sure to only include live listings on their site. Their listings are updated every two minutes. This is huge for sellers who don't want their home lost among thousands of inactive listings.

You can also look up statistics about individual neighborhoods on ZipRealty's site. After entering a ZIP code into their map interface, users can see local school information as detailed as the number of students and the student-teacher ratio. In some areas, users can also see statistics about crime rates and community reviews that offer a personal perspective.

One of the more exciting features of ZipRealty's site is their home valuation tool. While ZipRealty also has a proprietary formula, they've embraced an unusual degree of transparency by letting users compare the ZipRealty estimate to estimates from other sites, including industry staples like the “Zestimate.”

This gives sellers a more detailed look at what local home prices are and how much to list their home for.

Finding an Agent with ZipRealty

Sellers looking to connect with an agent through ZipRealty can search by location or agent name on the ZipRealty website. If they search by ZIP code, a list of agents in that ZIP code comes up.

But there's a catch: ZipRealty will only list agents that work for one of the Realogy brands.

While their affiliated brands, which include Coldwell Banker, Century21, the Corcoran Group, and others, employ many top-tier agents, sellers should keep in mind that they're not receiving a complete list of local agents.

Does ZipRealty charge a fee?

ZipRealty doesn't charge a fee, per se, for listing on their website. However, if you sell your home with them, you'll still be responsible for paying standard commission fees, which typically come to about 6% of the final sale price.

Unlike discount brokerages like Redfin or Clever, who offer lower commission agents, ZipRealty offers no discounts or reduced fees.

How do ZipRealty listings work?

If you decide to list your home with ZipRealty, their standard process unfolds like this:

  • The seller uses ZipRealty's online home valuation tool to estimate the value of their home. After connecting with a local listing agent through the ZipRealty website, the agent conducts a detailed analysis of the home valuation, explaining the various factors that go into the number.
  • The listing agent you partner with conducts a comparative market analysis (CMA) with information from recent sales of comparable homes to define your home's value even more precisely.
  • Using ZipRealty market data, your listing agent will help you shape a pricing strategy for your home.
  • Your listing agent will craft a marketing plan for your home, to connect with the buyers who are most likely to be interested in your property.
  • Once offers start coming in, your ZipRealty listing agent will help you select the best offer, and navigate the closing process, at the end of which you'll be responsible for the full commission fee of 6% (3% to the listing agent and 3% to the buyer's agent), unless you specifically negotiate something lower.

The Pros and Cons of Zip Realty


  • A comprehensive database: ZipRealty maintains an up-to-the-minute database of listings that they claim is 30% larger than their closest competitor. In theory, this should attract more buyers to their site and lead to more offers on your home.
  • Up-to-date, accurate information: Users have the ability to confirm that any listing on ZipRealty is live, avoiding the disappointment of pursuing a home that turns out to have already been sold or taken off the market.
  • A killer app: ZipRealty's mobile app is highly-rated and offers all the functionality of their website.


  • Hidden exclusivity: ZipRealty is owned by mega-brokerage Realogy. When users search for agents on ZipRealty, only agents who work for Realogy brands are shown.
  • No financial advantage: Unlike most of their competitors, ZipRealty only offers data and agent referral services. Sellers who go with ZipRealty still owe a full standard commission fee.

Top Alternatives to ZipRealty

ZipRealty offers fantastic utility for sellers who are trying to figure out where they stand in the market. With a versatile website that offers all manner of detailed data, users can be confident they'll come away from ZipRealty with an accurate, objective idea of how much their home is worth.

But at the end of the day, home value is just a data point. The point of selling a home is to get the highest price possible, and net as much profit as you can.

The largest expense for home sellers is almost always realtor commission. In a traditional real estate transaction, sellers are responsible for paying the listing agent's and the buyer's agent's commissions, which usually total about 6% of the final sale price. Working with ZipRealty won't reduce that 6% commission.

Clever, on the other hand, connects buyers and sellers to top-rated, local agents around the country, while reducing commission costs by up to 50%. Clever has pre-negotiated lower listing commissions so you get all the services of an expert in your area for less.

If your home sells for under $350,000, you'll pay a flat fee of $3,000. If it sells for more than $350,000, you pay a listing agent commission of only 1%, as opposed to the standard 3%.

Interested in learning more? Contact us today to learn about all the ways Clever can help you in your home selling We'll set you up with a free, no-obligation consultation!


Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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