Zillow Rental Manager Review: Cost, Features, & Alternatives – Landlord Studio (2024)

Zillow Rental Manager serves as Zillow's solution for rental owners, property managers, and real estate agents seeking the tools for managing their rental listings and properties. While its feature set is somewhat restricted, it does provide basic features including, online property advertising, tenant screening, and rent collection.

Both Zillow Rental Manager and Landlord Studio aim to simplify the rental process for landlords and tenants alike. However, understanding their points of differentiation is crucial in determining which platform best suits your rental business needs.

In this article, we delve into the distinctions between Zillow Rental Manager and Landlord Studio, aiding you in making an informed decision for your rental business.

We'll explore the features, pricing, and pros and cons of Zillow Rental Manager, followed by a comparative analysis with a comprehensive property management software to gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of each.

About Zillow Rental Manager

Zillow Rental Manager is a straightforward platform, designed for those who prioritize simplicity and ease of use. It's ideal for rental owners, property managers, and real estate agents who want basic tools for managing their rental properties with minimal hassle.

This platform primarily focuses on listings, applications, and tenant screening, offering features like background checks, credit history verification, and eviction reports. Additionally, it provides basic rent collection options, including credit card payments, auto-pay, and payment history tracking.

However, it's important to note that Zillow Rental Manager lacks several features found in more complete property management software. For instance, it doesn't include tenant communication tools, maintenance management capabilities, or the necessary accounting tools that landlords and investors need if they want to run a profitable rental business. This means you’ll need to employ other systems (often at additional cost) for these features.

Overall, Zillow Rental Manager is best suited for individuals or small-scale operations looking for a simple solution to handle rental listings. If you prioritize simplicity and ease of use over advanced features like tenant communication and maintenance management, then Zillow Rental Manager may be a suitable option for your needs.

Zillow Rental Manager Pricing

Zillow Rental Manager is free for small portfolio landlords to use. And this free plan comes with notable features including basic listings as well as their applications, e-sign lease, and rent collection features. However, if you have a larger portfolio, there may be fees associated.

How much does Zillow charge to list a rental?

While Zillow’s basic listings are free, if you want to boost your listing and increase the speed with which you acquire new leads you can pay a fee of $29.99. This is a flat and boosts your listing for up to 90 days.

Are there any additional fees when using Zillow Rental Manager?

For those looking to run tenant screening Zillow Rental Manager charges a $35 fee for the report. This fee can be charged to the tenant. The reports include the tenant's credit and background reports.

Finally, there are transaction fees applicable if you use their rent collection feature which are charged to the tenant. This includes 2.95% for credit card payments and a flat $9.95 fee for debit cards, which can be transferred to tenants.

Zillow Rental Manager: Pros & Cons

Now that we've examined the features and pricing of Zillow Rental Manager, let's step back and take a broader view to assess the unique strengths and weaknesses of Zillow Rental Manager and see if it’s the right fit for your needs.

Pros:

  • Starts free: With no upfront cost apart from premium listing fees, Zillow Rental Manager offers a low-cost solution, especially considering that the additional fees discussed above can be passed on to the applicant/tenant.
  • List on the Zillow network: All listings published with Zillow Rental Manager are shared across Zillow’s partner sites Trulia and Hotpads to increase your listing’s reach.

Cons:

  • Not a comprehensive property management solution: Zillow Rental Manager's primary drawback is its limited feature set. While it offers some useful features, it lacks many of the features landlords and real estate investors need when it comes to property management.
  • Poor customer service: Many users have expressed dissatisfaction with Zillow's customer service, citing issues with clunky ticket-based support, slow response times, and overall unreliability. This is not surprising considering the overall size of their operation. However, it becomes problematic if you rely on the platform for day-to-day business operations. For example, if you encounter issues hindering application processing or rent payments and support is unresponsive this could cost you significant amounts in both time and money.

Zillow Rental Manager Review: Cost, Features, & Alternatives – Landlord Studio (1)

Zillow Rental Manager vs Landlord Studio: What’s The Difference?

Zillow Rental Manager helps landlords advertise rentals, screen prospective tenants, and even collect rent payments. However, while it offers several useful features for finding and managing tenants, it’s not a full-service property management software.

Below we take a look at some of the differences between Zillow Rental Manager and Landlord Studio a FREE all-in-one property management software.

1. Rental Listings

Effectively reducing vacancy periods hinges on broadcasting your rental listing across various platforms frequented by prospective tenants during their apartment hunt.

Zillow Rental Manager: Landlords can showcase their rental listings on three prominent platforms — Zillow, Trulia, and Hotpads. While these sites are commonly used by tenants, landlords are missing out on the opportunity to list their properties on other fast-growing platforms like Zumper.

Landlord Studio: Landlord Studio syndicates rental listings to Zumper, Zillow, Trulia, and Hotpads (with additional partners coming soon) with just one click. There are no fees associated with advertising your rental listing across a dozen top rental sites. Additionally, you can use your unique Landlord Studio URL to easily disseminate your listing on platforms like Facebook and Craigslist.

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2. Rental Applications

After attracting tenant interest through your rental listing, the subsequent step involves having them complete a rental application. Both Landlord Studio and Zillow Rental Manager offer rental applications and tenant screening reports for landlords.

Zillow Rental Manager: Landlords can utilize the rental applications feature and request tenant screening reports from within their account. The landlord gains access to the prospective tenant's background and credit check, eviction history, and income verification for 30 days.

Landlord Studio: Landlord Studio has a similar application process to Zillow, allowing landlords to collect all of the details they need to make an informed decision as well as request qualifying applicants to complete a tenant screening report from inside the software.

Landlord Studio also offers the ability to set up a prescreening questionnaire, which is incredibly useful when managing a high volume of leads from multiple sources. It enables you to easily compare leads and identify time-wasters.

3. Online Rent Collection

The primary objective of any rental business is to ensure consistent monthly income through timely rent payments. While some landlords resort to platforms like Zelle or Venmo for rent collection, these services actually prohibit real estate transactions and offer no protection in case of errors. Consequently, many landlords have turned to property management platforms to streamline online rent collection.

Zillow Rental Manager: Landlords can collect rent online at no cost, with tenants bearing a 2.95% credit card processing fee, a $9.95 debit card convenience fee, or opting for no fee with ACH bank transfers.

Tenants can also set up automated payments for rent withdrawal from their accounts each month. Payment processing typically takes three to five business days, necessitating careful planning to avoid payment delays.

Landlord Studio: Rent collection is simplified with Landlord Studio and incorporated into a larger property management and accounting platform. Like Zillow, standard payment processing may take 3-5 days. There’s a nominal fee that gets passed onto the tenant. Additionally, Landlord Studio offers a tenant portal in which tenants can review upcoming and historical payments, initiate new payments, and set up auto-pay.

Landlords have complete control over the rent amount and partial payments and can set up automatic late fees and rent reminder emails. Plus, you can use the templated rent receipt emails as well. Payments made via Landlord Studio are delivered directly into your bank account via the secure ACH network. All payments are automatically tracked in our award rental accounting system.

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5. Rental Property Accounting

Staying on top of your rental property income and expenses can be a daunting task, especially if you’re still using spreadsheets and paper processes.

Zillow Rental Manager: Currently, Zillow does not provide landlords with tools to track rental income and expenses across multiple properties.

Landlord Studio: This is one area where Landlord Studio stands head and shoulder above not only Zillow Rental Manager but also other property management software that are currently available on the market.

It incorporates a full feature set to help you streamline your rental property accounting, including smart scan receipts, an in-built GPS mileage tracker, and automated bank feeds which allow you to quickly and easily reconcile transactions.

Plus, use the mobile app to track expenses on the go - never miss an expense again so you can maximize your end-of-year deductions.

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6. Financial Reporting

Zillow Rental Manager: Currently, Zillow does not provide landlords with financial reporting tools for landlords.

Landlord Studio: Landlord Studio offers a range of customizable rental reports designed to help you stay on top of your finances throughout the year and streamline tax time.

Dig down into the numbers using the filters, and report on your properties on a unit, property, or organization level. At the end of the year run the Schedule E report and easily share it with your accountant and business partners.

7. Maintenance Tracking

It's common for tenants to encounter various maintenance issues during their lease term, underscoring the importance of documenting all maintenance requests for future reference and organizational purposes.

Zillow Rental Manager: Regrettably, Zillow does not offer a feature for landlords to track maintenance tickets within their accounts. Given that maintenance concerns are integral to the rental process, landlords may need to utilize a third-party maintenance tracking system to maintain a comprehensive record of property-related issues.

Landlord Studio: Tenants have the ability to report maintenance issues, complete with accompanying images, through the tenant portal. Landlords can then track and prioritize maintenance tasks within their Landlord Studio account, a clear audit trail for future reference.

When a maintenance request is created by a tenant, you’ll receive an email notification so you never miss a ticket.

Manage Your Rental Property With Landlord Studio

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Being a landlord entails numerous responsibilities, from understanding the legal aspects to filing taxes, and without the aid of a good property management system, the workload can become overwhelming.

Create a free account with Landlord Studio today to streamline the rental process for both yourself and your tenants.

With Landlord Studio, you can advertise your rental and screen tenants, store documents, collect rent online, track income and expenses, run reports and access a range of other features.

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Zillow Rental Manager Review: Cost, Features, & Alternatives – Landlord Studio (2024)
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