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Testing 1, 2, 3: Zillow puts its own homes for sale ahead of others in search results

(Credit: iStock, Zillow)

Real estate database company Zillow is testing the placement of company-owned homes at the top of home-search pages, ahead of other homes listed for sale.

The company buys homes in select cities for cash and resells them through its Zillow Offers program. Now Zillow is conducting tests on its website and mobile apps that put its own homes ahead of other listings on search pages.

Inman reported that 22 or 26 homes on the first page of a search for homes for sale in Phoenix, Arizona, were owned by Zillow.

Similarly, Zillow owned all the homes on the first page of search results for homes under $600,000 in Las Vegas.

Zillow users who search for homes listed for sale also find the following message next to homes the company doesn’t own: “Buying but need to sell first? Get a Zillow Offer for your home.”

The Zillow Offers program has been available in Phoenix and Las Vegas longer than in any other markets. The program also is available in Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver and Raleigh. Zillow plans to introduce the program this year in Dallas, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Orlando, Portland and Riverside, California.

The company experiments to improve the experience of searching its site for homes, and that includes “prominently displaying Zillow-owned homes. But we also prominently display listings that have video tours and 3D walkthroughs,” a spokesperson for Zillow told Inman.

Zillow is scheduled to release fourth-quarter financial results on Feb. 21, when the company may detail the first-year performance of Zillow Offers. [Inman.com]Mike Seemuth

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