Zillow Expands RE Marketplace Management Options

Zillow Inc. is intensifying its efforts to create an untraditional media model that expands through strategic acquisitions.

According to its CEO, Spencer Rascoff, Zillow is “in the midst of growing” its rental marketplace, where the real estate information marketplace firm sees “tremendous potential" for growth both in the multifamily and the one-to-four property markets.

Zillow has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire RentJuice Corp. of San Francisco for $40 million in cash. Subject to “satisfaction of customary closing conditions,” according to Zillow, the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012.

The three-year-old company with 31 employees specializes in rental management software solutions for landlords, property managers and rental brokers.

The acquisition “propels Zillow's rental marketplace ahead by years,” Rascoff said. It is part of the firm’s concentrated efforts of the past six years to build “robust marketplaces for real estate and mortgages.”

Currently over 5 million renters visit the Zillow marketplace each month using mobile or web to access hundreds of thousands of rental listings.

The acquisition of RentJuice is Zillow’s first this year. It follows the acquisition of two specialized real estate technology providers in 2011, Postlets, an online real estate listing creation and distribution platform, and Diverse Solutions, designed to help real estate agents market their services and improve personal websites.

All three acquisitions support Zillow's goal to offer multiple marketing and business management services to local professionals based on collaborative efforts, executives said.

The partnership with Zillow will allow RentJuice “to invest more and innovate faster,” said its CEO David Vivero.

Since 2009 RentJuice has been offering a subscription-based suite of marketing and production management tools that include a customer relationship and lead generation platform, rental listings software, consumer credit screening and a combined online-mobile-based secure way for consumers to submit rental applications.

RentJuice's mobile app for iOS enables users to access their database on the go, update property photos and connect with prospective tenants.