How to Scrape For-Sale-By-Owner Listings from Zillow

In the world of real estate, finding the perfect property can be a time-consuming task. While many people turn to real estate agents or online platforms to search for homes, there is another hidden treasure trove of listings that often goes unnoticed – For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) listings. These listings, where the homeowner sells their property without the involvement of a real estate agent, can offer unique opportunities for buyers.

But how do you find FSBO listings? One popular platform for real estate listings is Zillow, and in this blog post, we will explore how to scrape FSBO listings from Zillow using web scraping techniques.

Before we dive into the details, let’s first understand what web scraping is and its legality. Web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites, typically using automated scripts or bots. While web scraping can be a powerful tool for gathering information, it’s important to note that the legality of web scraping varies by website and jurisdiction. In general, it is essential to respect website terms of service and ensure that you are not violating any laws or infringing on anyone’s rights when scraping data.

To begin, we will set up our environment for web scraping. Python is a preferred language for web scraping due to its simplicity and a variety of powerful libraries specifically designed for this purpose. We will explore why Python is preferred and discuss the essential libraries needed for web scraping.

Once our environment is set up, we will analyze the structure of Zillow’s FSBO page. Understanding HTML and web page structure is crucial for identifying the key data points we want to extract. We will learn how to inspect elements and use XPath to navigate through the page and locate the desired information.

With a solid understanding of the page structure, we can now start writing and implementing our web scraping script. We will create a Python script that will extract FSBO data from Zillow, handling pagination and multiple listings efficiently.

After successfully scraping the data, we will move on to data cleaning and storage. Cleaning the scraped data is important to ensure its accuracy and consistency. We will explore different techniques for cleaning the data and then discuss various options for storing it in the desired format.

Lastly, we will discuss setting up automated scraping jobs so that you can regularly scrape FSBO listings from Zillow without manual intervention. This can save you time and effort in your property search.

By the end of this blog post, you will have a clear understanding of how to scrape FSBO listings from Zillow using web scraping techniques. So, let’s get started and unlock the hidden potential of FSBO listings on Zillow!

Understanding Web Scraping and Its Legality

Web scraping has emerged as a powerful technique for extracting data from websites. It allows us to gather large amounts of information from various sources quickly and efficiently. However, before delving into the world of web scraping, it is crucial to understand its legality and ethical considerations.

What is Web Scraping?

Web scraping, also known as web harvesting or web data extraction, is the process of automatically extracting data from websites. It involves using automated scripts or bots to navigate web pages, retrieve desired information, and store it for further analysis or use. Web scraping can be performed on various types of websites, including e-commerce sites, social media platforms, news websites, and real estate listing portals like Zillow.

Legality of Web Scraping

The legality of web scraping is a complex and nuanced topic. While web scraping itself is not inherently illegal, its legality depends on various factors, including the website’s terms of service, copyright laws, intellectual property rights, and local regulations. It is crucial to understand and respect these legal boundaries to avoid any legal repercussions.

To determine the legality of web scraping, you should consider the following factors:

1. Website’s Terms of Service

Websites often have terms of service that outline how their data can be accessed and used. These terms may explicitly prohibit web scraping or impose limitations on data extraction. It is essential to review and comply with these terms to avoid any legal issues.

2. Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights

Web scraping should not infringe on any copyright or intellectual property rights. It is important to respect the ownership of the data being scraped and avoid using it in a way that violates copyright laws.

3. Publicly Available Data

Web scraping is generally considered more acceptable when extracting publicly available data. Publicly available data is information that is freely accessible to the general public without any restrictions. However, even with publicly available data, it is important to be mindful of the website’s terms of service and any applicable legal restrictions.

4. Personal Data and Privacy

When scraping websites, it is crucial to respect users’ privacy and comply with data protection laws. Avoid collecting or using any personal information without proper consent or in violation of privacy regulations.

5. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

In the United States, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects websites from unauthorized access and data scraping. Violating the DMCA can lead to legal consequences, so it is important to be aware of its provisions.

Ethical Considerations

Apart from the legal aspects, it is essential to consider ethical considerations when engaging in web scraping. These considerations include:

1. Respect for Website Owners’ Intentions

Respect the intentions of website owners and administrators. If a website explicitly prohibits web scraping or restricts data access, it is important to honor those restrictions.

2. Avoid Overloading Websites

Web scraping should not cause excessive traffic or put undue strain on the website’s servers. Be mindful of the impact your scraping activities may have on the website’s performance and consider implementing appropriate delays and throttling mechanisms.

3. Crawl Politely and Responsibly

Adopt a responsible scraping approach by adhering to best practices, such as avoiding aggressive crawling, following robots.txt guidelines, and respecting rate limits set by the website.


Understanding the legality and ethical considerations of web scraping is crucial before embarking on any scraping project. It is important to comply with website terms of service, respect copyright and intellectual property rights, and be mindful of privacy regulations. By conducting web scraping activities in a responsible and legal manner, we can harness the power of data extraction while maintaining the integrity of the online ecosystem.

Setting up Your Environment for Web Scraping

Setting up your environment for web scraping is the first step towards successfully extracting data from websites. In this section, we will explore why Python is preferred for web scraping and discuss the essential libraries you will need. We will also cover the process of installing and setting up Python and the necessary libraries.

Why Python is Preferred for Web Scraping

Python is widely regarded as one of the best programming languages for web scraping due to its simplicity, readability, and a rich ecosystem of libraries specifically designed for web scraping. Some key reasons why Python is preferred for web scraping include:

  1. Easy to learn: Python has a clean and intuitive syntax, making it easy for beginners to grasp the basics quickly.

  2. Abundance of libraries: Python offers a vast selection of libraries that simplify web scraping tasks, such as handling HTTP requests, parsing HTML, and extracting data. Some popular libraries for web scraping include BeautifulSoup, Scrapy, and Selenium.

  3. Active community support: Python has a large and active community of developers who contribute to the development and maintenance of web scraping libraries. This means you can easily find help, tutorials, and resources to enhance your web scraping skills.

  4. Cross-platform compatibility: Python is a cross-platform language, meaning it can run on various operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux, making it accessible to a wide range of users.

Essential Python Libraries for Web Scraping

To efficiently scrape websites, you will need to use specific Python libraries that provide functionalities for handling web requests, parsing HTML, and extracting data. Here are some essential libraries for web scraping:

  1. Requests: Requests is a powerful library for making HTTP requests in Python. It simplifies the process of sending GET and POST requests to web servers and retrieving the server’s response.

  2. BeautifulSoup: BeautifulSoup is a popular library for parsing HTML and XML. It provides convenient methods for navigating and searching the parsed data structure, allowing you to extract specific elements and data from web pages.

  3. Selenium: Selenium is a web testing framework that is often used for web scraping tasks that require interaction with JavaScript-driven websites. It allows you to automate browser actions, such as clicking buttons, filling out forms, and scrolling, making it ideal for scraping dynamic websites.

  4. Pandas: Pandas is a versatile library for data manipulation and analysis. It provides powerful data structures, such as DataFrames, which are useful for cleaning and organizing scraped data.

Installing and Setting up Python and Libraries

To get started with web scraping in Python, you will need to install Python and the necessary libraries. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you set up your environment:

  1. Install Python: Visit the official Python website ( and download the latest version of Python for your operating system. Follow the installation instructions and ensure that Python is successfully installed on your machine.

  2. Install pip: Pip is a package manager for Python that allows you to easily install and manage libraries. It usually comes bundled with Python, but if not, you can install it by following the instructions on the official pip website (

  3. Install libraries: Once you have pip installed, you can use it to install the necessary libraries. Open your command line or terminal and run the following commands:

pip install requests
pip install beautifulsoup4
pip install selenium
pip install pandas

These commands will install the Requests, BeautifulSoup, Selenium, and Pandas libraries onto your system.

  1. Verify installations: To ensure that the libraries are installed correctly, you can run a simple test script. Open a text editor, create a new Python file, and add the following code:

import requests
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
from selenium import webdriver
import pandas as pd

print(“Libraries imported successfully!”)

Save the file with a .py extension (e.g.,, and then run it using the Python interpreter. If you see the “Libraries imported successfully!” message in the output, it means that the installations were successful.

Congratulations! You have now set up your environment for web scraping. In the next section, we will dive into the specifics of analyzing Zillow’s For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) page structure to prepare for scraping.

Analyzing Zillow’s For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) Page Structure

Analyzing the page structure of Zillow’s For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) listings is crucial before we begin scraping the data. In this section, we will explore the HTML structure of Zillow’s FSBO page, identify the key data points we want to extract, and learn how to inspect elements and use XPath to navigate through the page.

Understanding HTML and Web Page Structure

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the standard markup language used for creating web pages. It provides a structured and hierarchical format that defines the content and layout of a webpage. To scrape data from a webpage, we need to understand its HTML structure.

When analyzing the HTML structure of Zillow’s FSBO page, you will notice various HTML tags such as <div>, <span>, <p>, <h1>, and more. These tags define different elements of the webpage, including headings, paragraphs, images, links, and containers for specific data.

Identify Key Data Points on Zillow’s FSBO Page

To extract relevant data from Zillow’s FSBO page, we need to identify the key data points that we are interested in. Some common data points on an FSBO listing page may include:

  1. Property details: This includes information such as the property’s address, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and other features.

  2. Listing price: The price at which the property is listed for sale by the owner.

  3. Property description: A description provided by the owner that highlights the unique features and selling points of the property.

  4. Contact information: The owner’s contact details, such as their name, phone number, and email address, if available.

  5. Additional features: Any additional features, amenities, or special characteristics of the property that the owner highlights.

Inspecting Elements and XPath

To identify the HTML elements corresponding to the key data points, we can use the browser’s inspect element feature. By right-clicking on a specific element on the webpage and selecting “Inspect” (or similar options depending on the browser), we can view the underlying HTML code associated with that element.

Inspecting elements allows us to examine the HTML tags, class names, IDs, and other attributes associated with the desired data points. This information will help us in crafting our web scraping script to extract the relevant data accurately.

XPath is a powerful query language used to navigate XML and HTML documents. It allows us to select elements based on their attributes, position in the document, or their relationship with other elements. XPath expressions are handy for scraping specific elements from a webpage. We can use XPath to target and extract the desired data points by specifying their location within the HTML structure.

By combining the knowledge of HTML structure, inspecting elements, and using XPath expressions, we can effectively extract the necessary data from Zillow’s FSBO page.

In the next section, we will dive into the process of writing and implementing a web scraping script using Python to extract FSBO data from Zillow.

Writing and Implementing Your Web Scraping Script

Now that we have analyzed the structure of Zillow’s For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) page, it’s time to write and implement our web scraping script. In this section, we will walk through the process of creating a Python script that will extract FSBO data from Zillow. We will cover the basics of web scraping using Python, including making HTTP requests, parsing HTML, and extracting the desired data.

Creating Your First Python Web Scraping Script

To get started, we need to import the necessary libraries we installed earlier, such as requests, BeautifulSoup, and pandas. These libraries will provide the tools we need for web scraping.

Next, we will use the requests library to send an HTTP request to Zillow’s FSBO page. This will allow us to retrieve the HTML content of the page, which we can then parse and extract data from.

After retrieving the HTML content, we will use BeautifulSoup to parse the HTML and create a BeautifulSoup object. This object will provide methods for navigating and searching through the HTML structure.

Extracting FSBO Data from Zillow

Once we have parsed the HTML, we can start extracting the desired FSBO data. Using our knowledge of the HTML structure and the key data points we identified earlier, we can use BeautifulSoup’s methods to locate and extract specific elements.

For example, to extract the property details, we can use BeautifulSoup’s find or find_all methods along with appropriate HTML tags, class names, or attributes. We can then extract the text or attributes associated with those elements.

Similarly, we can extract the listing price, property description, contact information, and additional features by targeting the relevant HTML elements using BeautifulSoup and extracting the desired data.

Handling Pagination and Multiple Listings

Zillow’s FSBO page may have multiple listings, and the listings may span across multiple pages. To scrape all the listings, we need to handle pagination and iterate through each page.

We can inspect the HTML structure of the pagination elements on Zillow’s FSBO page and identify the patterns or URLs associated with navigating to the next page. Using this information, we can modify our scraping script to navigate through each page and extract data from all the listings.

Handling Dynamic Content with JavaScript

Some websites, including Zillow, may use JavaScript to load additional content or display certain elements dynamically. In such cases, BeautifulSoup alone may not be sufficient to scrape the data. To handle dynamic content, we can use a library like Selenium, which allows us to automate browser actions.

With Selenium, we can simulate user interactions, such as clicking buttons or scrolling, to trigger the dynamic content to load. We can then extract the desired data from the updated HTML.


By following these steps and utilizing the power of Python and its web scraping libraries, you can create a web scraping script to extract FSBO data from Zillow. Remember to adhere to the website’s terms of service, respect copyright and intellectual property rights, and be mindful of privacy regulations when scraping data.

In the next section, we will explore the process of cleaning the scraped data and storing it in a desired format for further analysis or use.

Data Cleaning and Storage

Once we have successfully scraped the FSBO data from Zillow, the next step is to clean the data and store it in a desired format. In this section, we will explore the process of cleaning the scraped data, ensuring its accuracy and consistency. We will also discuss various options for storing the data for further analysis or use.

Cleaning Scraped Data

Scraped data often requires cleaning to remove any inconsistencies, errors, or unwanted characters. Here are some common data cleaning tasks you may need to perform:

  1. Removing HTML tags: Since we scraped the data from HTML pages, it may contain HTML tags that need to be removed to extract clean text data.

  2. Handling missing values: Some data points may be missing or incomplete. You will need to decide how to handle these missing values, either by imputing them or removing the corresponding records.

  3. Standardizing formats: Data may be stored in different formats or units. Standardizing formats, such as date formats or numerical units, helps ensure consistency in the data.

  4. Removing duplicates: Scraping multiple pages or making iterative requests may result in duplicate data. Removing duplicates ensures that each record is unique.

  5. Correcting data inconsistencies: Data inconsistencies may arise due to human error or variations in how the information is presented. Correcting inconsistencies ensures that data is accurate and consistent.

Storing Data in Desired Format

Once the data is cleaned, it needs to be stored in a format that allows for easy access, analysis, and integration with other tools or systems. Here are some common options for storing scraped data:

  1. CSV (Comma-Separated Values): CSV files are simple and widely supported, making them a popular choice for storing structured data. Each row represents a data record, and columns represent different attributes.

  2. Excel: Excel files offer additional features such as multiple sheets, formatting options, and formulas. They are suitable for storing structured data that may require further analysis or visualization.

  3. JSON (JavaScript Object Notation): JSON is a lightweight data interchange format that is easy to read and write. It is ideal for storing complex, nested, or semi-structured data.

  4. Relational Databases: If you have a large amount of data or need to perform complex queries, storing the data in a relational database like MySQL, PostgreSQL, or SQLite can provide efficient data management and retrieval capabilities.

  5. Cloud Storage: Cloud storage services like Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, or Microsoft Azure Blob Storage offer scalable and reliable storage options for large datasets. They are suitable for storing data that needs to be accessed or shared across multiple systems or users.

Setting Up Automated Scraping Jobs

If you want to regularly scrape FSBO listings from Zillow without manual intervention, you can set up automated scraping jobs. This allows you to schedule the scraping process to run at specific intervals, ensuring that you always have up-to-date data.

To set up automated scraping jobs, you can use task scheduling tools like cron (on Linux) or Task Scheduler (on Windows). These tools enable you to run your scraping script at predefined times or intervals.


Cleaning and storing the scraped data are essential steps to ensure the accuracy and usability of the extracted FSBO listings from Zillow. By performing data cleaning tasks, you can remove inconsistencies, handle missing values, and standardize formats. Storing the data in a desired format allows for easy access, integration, and analysis.

In the next section, we will conclude our comprehensive guide on scraping FSBO listings from Zillow. We will recap the key points we covered and provide final thoughts on the topic.