Zillow

Friday 10 February 2006

Zillow is a real-estate information site. In particular, it will give you an estimate of how much a house is worth, given its address. It's very impressive. Not only do they have tons of accurate information about houses, but they also have historical information, so you can see what a house sold for, and when, with a graph of its estimated value over time. It says my house is stucco when it is actually shingle, but I can only assume that this is an inaccuracy in the data from the town.

It's from the same guys that started Expedia, so they have some experience disintermediating professionals. "Disintermediating," I haven't said that in a while, how late 20th century of me!

Coolest feature: an aerial map of a neighborhood, with prices overlaid all the houses. Most annoying feature: they've overdone it with the whole "z" thing. Estimates are called "zestimates" (TM!), and the URLs end in a ".z" extension.

Typographically most annoying feature: To label themselves as being in beta, they've put the word "Beta" in their logo, and the designer tried the cute trick of using the greek letter Beta for the B. Except they've used a German double-s instead:

Sseta

The German double-s is actually a lowercase letter, a ligature of a long s and a normal s. The long s in turn is the letter that everyone thinks is an f in old-fashioned texts. You know, like at the top of the Bill of Rights, where it says, "In Congrefs". So we have confusion piled on top of confusion, and Zillow seems to be in sseta (with a German accent).

Comments

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andrew 8:39 AM on 10 Feb 2006

Outstanding! Of course, this says that I just sold my house for $6000 to little. Hmmm, no wonder the buyers jumped on us.

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Bob Balfe 8:59 AM on 10 Feb 2006

I think the site is about 2-4 years out of date. The prices reflected for my two houses (I just moved last year) are considerably different from value. Our house sold a bit less than what was suggested here and the values have since decreased further in that area (according to recent sales).

Also, the house I bought is 4 years old and the price represented on the site is the same price it was built for.

I don't know, maybe I just got the shaft on both ends!

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Sarai 10:26 AM on 10 Feb 2006

Gosh, it won't give me my house, or even my road or immediate vicinity! Bummer.

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Mike 10:32 AM on 10 Feb 2006

"tons of accurate information"

My house is way overvalued, as well as one of my nextdoor neighbors. We both bought our houses within one year ago, and the selling price listed for both are incorrect.

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baus 11:17 AM on 10 Feb 2006

I think the data depends a lot on the county. The data in my county is pretty accurate, and I think the estimate for my house is pretty close. This is still a huge move forward. I can only assume the data will get better if users demand it. I give it a thumbs up.

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Kyle Bennett 11:23 AM on 10 Feb 2006

It shows my house at about 70-80% over the appraisal range I got back in July. It says the past week value increased by 15% of their number, 25% of my last appraisal value. It's still a booming market where I live (levelled off a bit lately), but I doubt it's boomed like that. The historical chart is pretty accurate, up to about a month ago, then the line gets almost vertical. It looks like the values get all messed up when they transition from purely historical to their calculated numbers. One factor that might be an issue is that my neighborhood is surrounded by much more upscale neighborhoods, and they seem to give a lot of weight to zip-code wide statistics.

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Nate Finch 5:11 PM on 10 Feb 2006

Yeah, problem is that a real capital beta looks exactly like a regular old B. If he was looking for a beta using the windows character map feature (a likely place) the German S is right there on the first page, whereas the greek letters are further down (or not even shown if you're not looking at Unicode).... what he should probably do is use the lowercase beta (β) and call it good.

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Abbie Hoffman 12:40 PM on 2 Mar 2006

i like to use www.HomePriceMaps.com because mePriceMaps.com integrates how much a home sold for (pulling public records etc) with Google maps.

Also-if you don't see any data for your area you can send an email to HomePriceMaps@gmail.com and send them your zipcode or address of interest and they will quickly post home data for your area and email you within a day or two

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