Zillow's API has long allowed third party apps and websites to pull home valuation and and property details data. In the coming weeks, in response to repetitive requests, Zillow will now allow such apps and sites to pull agent review and rating data. Zillow's agent reviews and ratings were added to its list of services in 2010; however, access to such data outside of the Zillow environment has been limited. With over 730,000 reviews on more than 700,000 agent profiles, API access to such data could provide great value to mobile and web-based real estate services.
In addition to the rich data Zillow provides to buyers, sellers, and agents; Zillow provides a lead generation program. Agents with ten or more reviews generally receive three times the number of leads when compared to agents with less than ten reviews. Zillow constitutes one of the many agent-rating systems (e.g. Trulia, Realtor.com, Yelp, etc.). However, Zillow's ability to infiltrate third party resources has been limited to this point. Now that agent information is available via API, Zillow is further on its way to becoming the Google of Real Estate as one agent suggested.
Agents must authorize the API use of their agent profile data. After integration, third party apps and websites can pull reviews, ratings, and comments. All reviews are screened through Zillow's fraud detection process to ensure the API provides quality data. In addition to the screening process, reviewers must register for a Zillow account before posting reviews and must verify the service provided by the agent.
Two firms have tested the API prior to its general launch. Windermere Real Estate and Moxi Works have both integrated the API into their own web-based offerings. While some legacy firms might be reluctant to incorporate third party data, Windermere and Moxi have embraced that online reviews have grown to become an integral part of the real estate business and look forward to the value Zillow's new API features brings to the industry.