Use Zillow Before Buying or Selling a Home

Recently, I was catching up with a friend of mine and the topic of business came up.  It had been several years since we last spoke, so I was excited to hear about what he was doing.  It turns out, he is working for a relatively new company called Zillow.  Our conversation took off and what he had to say about Zillow really sparked my interest.  So much in fact, that I felt the need to write up a review/informational post about the company.

First, a little background and history:

-Online real estate database that was founded in 2005 by  Rich Barton  and Lloyd Frink

-Uses a proprietary algorithm called the “Zestimate” to appraise property values based on undisclosed factors.

-Sellers can use Zillow as a marketing tool by appraising their properties, posting property information such as improvements and access to major roads; and comparing nearby property value appraisals.

-Buyers can freely access and track such information online.

-The website currently tracks 72 million valuations throughout the United States.Zillow is ranked in the top 300 U.S. sites in terms of traffic by Alexa.

Why should I care?

First off, Zillow is a totally FREE tool that provides easy access of home properties.  Zillow also offers many other home appraisal services.  Zillow is guided for both buyers and sellers of homes. If you’re a buyer, you can map out neighborhoods and do some research in aparticular area. You can inspect a home’s appraisal value and know if the asking price is too high or not.  Not only that, but you can check out recently sold homes to give you a better understanding of what homes are going for in that area!

Now, if you’re a seller, Zillow is an awesome tool for you!  There is something called the Zindex that calculates your home’s estimated value.  It not only gives you a number but shows you a comparison with your neighbor’s appraised values.

zillow review

Site layout and design

Zillow knows what they’re doing in terms of site layout and design.  Everything about their site platform is crisp and lightning fast.  They make it easy to find things through the use of an organized navigation bar at the top of the screen.  Everything from mortgage rates to their personal blog is linked at the top.  Finding things on Zillow is a breeze.  I was especially impressed with their home finder map, which was very interactive.  Zillow has made an effort to make the site visually friendly and it shows.

Zillow Mobile

As if their site wasn’t enough, Zillow has developed a completely free app for common electronic devices out there.  With the Zillow app, you can simply scan the surrounding area where you are standing and the app will tell you the prices of homes nearby.  It will also show you historical records, latest listing, and property pictures.  I can see this app being great if you were in the market to purchase a home and wanted to simply drive through neighborhoods and check out prices.  It’s instant and you don’t have to rely on a real estate agent or go through the hassle of navigating the many real estate websites.

zillow android

Zillow Advice and Blog

What I like about Zillow the most is their desire to be a client and customer focused company. Having a more personal blogging platform does the trick.  Zillow has an “advice” section to their site where you can ask industry experts questions about the real estate market.  Along similar lines, Zillow has a fantastic real estate focused blog.  It covers cool stories, market trends, home value information, mortgages, and the latest celebrity home purchase.

I recommend Zillow

After thoroughly navigating their website and reading what others have to say about Zillow, I definitely recommend their website for your next home endeavor.  Add this website to your tool box.  When you save thousands because of the free research Zillow does for you, you will be glad you started using it.

Although I’m a ways off from buying a home, I will keep Zillow in mind and will use them when that time comes for me.  In the meantime, I just found out that the house I’m renting is worth over $500,000!