Tenant Management, Uncategorized

Which Rental Advertising Site Is the Best Alternative to Zillow?

photo advertising apartment rental

Advertising rentals online has become essential. According to research, over 70% of renters who are shopping for a new home to rent use the internet as their primary search tool. As with virtually every other industry, technology is transforming the business of managing investment property. Knowing how important online presence is, many landlords are searching the best ways to market rentals online, and for an alternative to Zillow.

Update: This post has been edited to reflect Zillow Rental Manager pricing changes that took effect as of May 2022. Read on for more information.

internal link Also Read: Best Free Online Ways To Advertise Property For Rent

Because there is opportunity and growth in the world of online rental marketing and property management software, many big players are vying for market share. Many of us are finding that we need to manage advertising across several sites. Here we look at the advertising platforms that get the most traffic, and briefly explore how to get the most eyeballs on your vacancy listing.

More eyeballs = more leads = better tenant candidates + shorter vacancies

Advertising Reach On Property Management Software

Since the company started charging to advertise vacancies many landlords are searching for an alternative to Zillow. We believe the full functionality these products offer, as well as broader advertising reach, make them a great alternative to Zillow alone. We’ve assembled this table, showing the how the leading property management software tools broadcast your listings.

Buildium TenantCloud Rentec
Avail RentRedi
70M 70M 70M 70M
87M 87M 87M
68M 68M 68M 68M
15M 15M
Total: 153M 138M 225M 240M 87M
*All Traffic Numbers Estimated

Major Online Rental Advertising Platforms Offering An Alternative to Zillow

There are many, many rental advertising sites on the internet. If you look around, however, you’ll find that only a few companies run the lion’s share of sites that get meaningful traffic. Most are grappling to be the best alternative to Zillow. Here’s our rundown of the main players.

Apartments.com Network 

  • Network Sites: 
    • Apartments.com 
    • Forrent.com 
    • Apartmentfinder.com 
    • Apartmenthomeliving.com 
    • Apartamentos.com 
    • Cozy.co 
  • Estimated Traffic: 
    • 70 Million users per month 
  • Notes: 
    • Apartments.com claims to be the site most visited by renters each month 
    • Cozy, a popular free site for independent landlords, is owned by the same company, and the sites are being folded-together under apartments.com
  • Cost: 
    • Listing one unit is free, however landlords who want larger ads that show up high in search results will need to pay for their Premium advertising. 
    • Advertising is sold in tiers.  Higher-priced subscriptions get your listing higher in search results, and larger display ads. 
    • A “Silver Package”, at $369/mo will get your listing on the 10th search results page or above.

internal link Read More: Should You Advertise on Apartments.com?

Realtor.com Network: A Strong Alternative to Zillow

  • Estimated Traffic: 
    • Realtor.com – 86M users June 2020 per Forbes, 24M avg per WebsiteIQ.com 
    • Doorsteps.com – 1.44 Million users per month according to SimilarWeb 
  • Notes: 
    • Realtor.com has recently acquired Avail, one of our favorite property management software products.  The partnership will combine Realtor.com’s market presence and traffic with Avail’s full-featured rental management software. 
    • Avail syndicates (aka “posts”) rental listings on ten websites in addition to realtor.com and doorsteps.com 

internal link Also Read: The Best Online Rent Payment Service for Small Landlords

Zillow Network

  • Network Sites: 
    • HotPads 
    • Trulia 
  • Estimated Traffic: 
    • Zillow – 34M users/month 
    • Trulia – 23M users/month 
    • HotPads – 1.75M users/month 
    • Est. Network Traffic: 68M users/month
  • Notes:
    • Zillow’s market research indicates that there are 43M owner-occupied residences in the United States, and over 70% of renters use the internet as their primary method of searching for available units. 
  • Cost: 
    • Free: if you do not wish to upgrade to a premium listing, simply post your listing without clicking the upgrade option and you will not be charged anything
    • If you wish to upgrade to a premium listing, the new fees are $29.99 for 90 days.
    • Zillow allows other platforms, such as TenantCloud and Avail, to post on their site. Landlords must first set up an Zillow Feed Connect account at an additional cost to the landlord.   

internal link Also Read: Cozy vs Avail vs TenantCloud Property Management Software Comparison


  • Network Sites:
    • Zumper
    • Padmapper 
  • Estimated Traffic: 
    • 15m users/month 
  • Notes: 
    • Lists on Facebook Marketplace 
    • “Instarent”:  For 2% of monthly rent landlords get priority search placement, rent guarantee, and premium dedicated support. 
  • Cost:  Free 

internal link Also Read: Is Zumper free for Landlords? Overview, Pricing, & Features


As we’ve written many times, we believe a full-featured property management software product is an invaluable tool for any landlord. Beyond advertising, these tools streamline the process of screening, leasing, collecting rent online, managing maintenance, keeping financial records, and more.

Without potential tenants coming to look at your vacancies, however, none of the rest of this matters. We recommend searching for the product that combines broad-reaching advertising with other management features that matter most to you. We have an overview of the best software products here. And a nifty new search tool here.

Advertising On Property Management Software Platforms: An Alternative To Zillow

  • Whether you manage five doors or five thousand, Buildium provides a simple but sophisticated property management platform to help you grow and improve your business.
  • Strength: Complete Solution
  • End-to-end property management solution. Receive payments online, advertise properties and screen potential tenants. Robust accounting and maintenance features.
  • Strength: Complete Solution
  • Designed to address the needs of DIY landlords as well as property management companies, Rentec Direct includes all the tools necessary to manage and rent your properties
  • Strength: Complete Solution
  • Advertise your property, find and screen tenants, sign leases, collect rent, and e-sign custom local leases, with tools built specifically for DIY landlords.
  • Strength: Complete Solution
  • RentRedi is an all-inclusive landlord-tenant app. Manage vacancies, screening, and rent collection from wherever you are, on any device.
  • Strength: Complete Solution

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and Landlord Gurus may earn a commission. Our mission remains to provide valuable resources and information that helps landlords manage their rental properties efficiently and profitably. We link to these companies and their products because of their quality, not because of the commission.

Photo by Pickawood on Unsplash

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About Eli Secor

Eli Secor, Co-Founder, Landlord Gurus Eli purchased his first rental property at the age of 20, a fourplex in Gold Canyon, Arizona. He was lucky to have the advice of a shrewd real estate investing grandmother, as well as special incentives for first time buyers following the savings and loan meltdown in the late ‘80’s. In 2004 Eli and his wife purchased their first property together, a triplex in Portland, Oregon. The neighborhood was improving, light rail was coming in, and the property needed a significant rehab. They traveled back and forth from their then home in California, improving and managing the property. Eli did a full remodel on the biggest unit, living in the construction zone while doing so. The property has been cashflow positive since day one, and is now worth 3-4 times its original purchase price. Eli has been involved in residential construction since 2001, having remodeled several houses from top to bottom, rehabbed or improved rental units, and built his family’s primary residence. He leverages his knowledge of buildings to improve and maintain rental properties cost and time-effectively. Since 2007 Eli has been managing property in Seattle for family members, and now oversees 20 apartments and 3 commercial spaces. He has a great handyman, who helps make repairs, maintenance, and improvement smooth and easy. Otherwise Eli is a DIY landlord, and single contact for all of his tenants.When Eli isn’t managing rental property he is working on home projects, sailing, mountain biking, skiing, or spending time with friends and family. Once or twice a week Chris and Eli get together to run their dogs, Lola & Peanut. These meetings do double duty as Landlord Gurus planning sessions!Credentials: - BA in History from Whitman College - General Contractor (Ex) - USCG Licensed Captain (UOPV Six-Pack)
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