Finding home info via Zillow

April 18, 2007

Zillow logoSo you’re curious how much those homes in your neighborhood are worth — or perhaps in the next neighborhood, or in the area where you want to live? Or even your friend’s area? Zillow makes it easy to look up home values in just about any area of the United States. And more.

Zillow map legendWhen you visit Zillow, you’re asked for an address and/or city / zip to start looking at home values. You’re then shown a full-featured map that you can drag around and zoom in, and which you can view by street or satellite (“aerial”) or both (“hybrid”). Zoom in close enough to a city or town, and you’ll see flags showing locations of homes for sale (red) or recently sold (yellow). There are also blue flags showing “Make me move” homes — their owners haven’t put these homes on the market, but did indicate on Zillow that if someone’s interested and is willing to meet a certain price, the owner is willing to sell.

Zoom in even closer, nearly to the block level, and you’ll see prices above EACH home. These prices are Zestimates — which Zillow says is its own “estimated market value — computed using a proprietary [internal] formula.” It says these Zestimates are not appraisals — rather, it’s “a starting point in determining a house’s value.” For each home on sale, recently sold, or which is posted as “Make me move,” clicking on the flag also brings up what sometimes can be a massive amount of information on that house. Exciting yet a bit scary too! I noticed that not all homes for sale on Realtor.com were listed here in Zillow, so it may be that Zillow only posts those that are actually entered into its databases by owners and agents. Realtor.com — especially the new beta version — does have its own mapping functions, but they’re not as sophisticated as Zillow’s.

Zillow map exampleYou can filter your map views by home value, number of bedrooms and/or bathrooms, and a variety of other factors. Under the map is a list of all flagged homes, along with snippets of info and a thumbnail of the home photo (if available / posted). Very easy to quickly find information on the homes in whichever area you want to know about. Very easy to snoop around too!

Zillow also provides quite a few services: a lot of info for buyers and sellers; “heat maps” showing which areas are hot and which are not; “birds-eye” maps (if available) via Microsoft Virtual Earth showing close-ups of each home — from four different directions (!!!); charts and data showing historical price trends; and much more.

What are you waiting for? Go nose around on Zillow. (Me? Do I do that too? Ummmm. I won’t answer that question …)

NOTE: I wrote this post a couple days ago. I just came across a Download Squad post (via TechDirt) saying that Arizona is trying to get Zillow to cease and desist posting “Zestimates” of values of homes in that state without a state appraiser license. Interesting development, will be interesting to see what happens with this.

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