Zillow entered a new corner of real estate Wednesday, announcing a definitive agreement to buy ShowingTime for $500 million.
The splashy buy further situates Zillow as more than a website with pictures of homes for sale, but a competitor to real estate brokerages. The Seattle-based company announced in September Zillow Homes, a traditional brokerage business, hiring agents in Phoenix, Tuscon, and Atlanta
A 22-year-old, Chicago-headquartered software company, ShowingTime is what it sounds like: “Our products automate the showing, scheduling and management processes” for real estate agents and agent associations, the company’s website reads, claiming that more than 1 million agents in the U.S. and Canada use their software. Zillow’s news release announcing the deal trumpeted ShowingTime as “an industry leader,” with an “ability to simplify a cumbersome part of the home shopping experience,” stated Errol Samuelson, chief industry development officer for Zillow Group. ShowingTime is “giving buyers’ agents an easier way to schedule showings with listing agents,” Samuelson added.
Samuelson noted that “ShowingTime will remain an open platform available to all industry participants.” However, the statement goes on to say how ShowingTime can increase transactions and volume for Premier Agent, a program where agents who pay Zillow to be part of a website that connects them to buyers. ShowingTime President Mike Lane stated he awaits working with Zillow on “enabling a truly seamless real estate transaction that is efficient and simple.” Zillow disclosed the deal shortly after the company’s release of its Q4 2020 earnings. Zillow posted a 16 percent revenue decline to $789 million. The company, however, has moved into the black, reporting a net income of $46 million in the fourth quarter. A year ago at this time, Zillow had posted a loss of about $101 million. Zillow’s CEO since 2019 has been Rich Barton, who co-founded Zillow and then left the company. Barton has explored various expansions, including throwing the company’s hat into the ibuying ring.