Zillow expands ‘enhanced markets’ in North Carolina

Agents in the two North Carolina metros will see some changes to their Premier Agent access

Zillow is adding two new North Carolina markets to its pilot programs. Charlotte and Durham are the latest two metro areas to earn the Zillow distinction of “enhanced market,” according to an announcement from the firm last week.

Other “enhanced markets” include Raleigh, Denver, Dallas, Phoenix and Atlanta. While all of these markets are enhanced markets, not all pilot programs are available in every market.

As an enhanced market, Charlotte and Durham will now have access to real time tour booking and Zillow Home Loans.

However, the shift to enhanced market status also means some major changes to Zillow’s Premier Agent program.

In the enhanced market version of Premier Agent, a “post-pay” model is used, meaning that agents do not have to pay for a lead, unless it results in a successfully closed transaction. But unlike the traditional Premier Agent model, this model is only available to agents invited by Zillow.

A similar program that is also by invitation only, known as “Flex,” has been available in other markets since 2019. While the Flex program is available in Charlotte and Durham in addition to the traditional Premier Agent model, as well as in Raleigh, Denver, Phoenix and Atlanta, just the invite-only, post-pay model is available.

Under this model, rather than agents paying Zillow a monthly fee for Premier Agent’s lead generation services, agents will be charged 20-35% of their commission on successfully completed transactions based on leads from Zillow. The percentage an agent pays depends upon the sale price of the property.

However, only agents selected by Zillow to continue on with the platform will have access to paid leads. Agents who are not selected for the program will no longer have access to Premier Agent and pre-paid leads in the enhanced markets. Any leads they pay for outside of these metro areas will not be impacted, and the agents will be able to maintain an agent profile on Zillow for free, as any agent, regardless of Premier Agent status, is currently able to do.

When Zillow first announced this pilot program in April 2022, which was first piloted in Raleigh and Denver, the firm said that “several hundred” agents would no longer have access to Premier Agent in the two test markets, but that “hundreds” would still be part of the Premier Agent program.

According to Zillow, the programs available in the firm’s enhanced markets are components of what will eventually evolve into its housing super app. Zillow pivoted to this super app strategy in February 2022 after the disastrous end to its iBuying operation in November 2021.

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