Lasting impact: Zillow’s Rich Barton for creation of the Zestimate

Zillow's Rich Barton built one of the most-used online valuation tools — the Zestimate.

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Rich Barton, co-founder of Zillow

Lasting Impact: Zillow Co-Founder Rich Barton built the most-visited online residential real estate site in the country along with the most-used online valuation tool by consumers. He built Zillow into a new household name in real estate in less than ten years and in 2021 had over two billion visits to its various websites.

Barton had extensive experience in building disruptive online businesses before he and a partner launched Zillow in 2006. He had had a major role in the creation of Expedia while with Microsoft.

While Zillow was not the first national online real estate portal, Barton created and launched the Zestimate, the first truly automated home valuation tool. Its popularity with consumers drove Zillow to record levels of consumer engagement well before the company became a major source for online listings, as well.

Zillow built an enormous online advertising and lead generation business for agents and brokerage firms in its first 15 years. Despite miscues in the iBuying segment with Zillow Offers, which they shuttered in early 2022, the company is now growing its lead generation business, having moved downstream in the process of working with agents and teams.

Looking solely at revenues outside of the home-buying business, Zillow has grown to be one of the five largest residential real estate brokerage services businesses in the U.S in terms of revenues. They are currently building a housing super app that will provide mortgage pre-approval, “immersive shopping,” facilitate in-person touring, and home financing.

More importantly, Zillow has, in a relatively brief period of time, introduced the power of the internet into residential real estate as no others have before. Their strong presence in the minds of housing consumers will continue to position them as a formidable competitor in the years to come.

Steve Murray is a senior advisor for RealTrends and a partner in brokerage consulting firm RTC Consulting.