Zillow is acquiring a company called ShowingTime that offers a platform for scheduling physical home tours so people can go to see a home they’re interested at a time that’s most convenient.

Zillow said it’s buying ShowingTime for $500 million, and will use the company’s technology to make it easier for people to request tours through the Zillow website and app.

ShowingTime has a network of nearly one million agents across North America and has developed relationships with hundreds of Multiple Listing Services (MLSs), Zillow said.

ShowingTime enables real estate agents to post their listings’ availability for showings, so that agents who represent buyers can schedule home tours online with minimal clicks. Buyers can also use the site to schedule a tour for themselves, without the need for an agent.

“We have been impressed with ShowingTime’s ability to simplify a cumbersome but critical part of the home shopping experience by integrating with MLSs, agents and brokers, and giving buyers’ agents an easier way to schedule showings with listing agents,” said Errol Samuelson, chief industry development officer at Zillow. “ShowingTime will remain an open platform available to all industry participants, and we expect to grow ShowingTime’s engagement through all channels to ensure touring is easier for the industry and consumers.”

Zillow has been steadily advancing its focus on home tours and associated services. In May, it launched a new service called Zillow Offers, through which it actually buys people’s homes itself, before selling them on at a profit. The company also provides a virtual home tour service for buyers, which has seen enormous uptake since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Zillow announced its acquiring ShowingTime as it posted its fourth quarter results. The company reported strong earnings, with a net income of $46 million on revenue of $789 million.

More importantly perhaps is Zillow’s platform growth. The company said traffic on its mobile apps and websites grew to a Q4 record of 201 million average unique visitors, up 16% from a year ago. Altogether, its apps and sites were visited 2.2 billion times in the quarter, up 27% from one year ago. For the full year it saw more than 9.6 billion visits, up 19%.

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