Wednesday, February 08, 2006
New Home Valuation Tool
The Travelgnome let me know that Zillow.com, a new home valuation site, launched today. He saw the article on CNNMoney and passed it along. Apparently Zillow in it's beta state was completely unprepared for the onslaught of traffic and was offline most of the day. This was frustrating just because I was dying to check them out. But I forgive them (been there...it's not pleasant) and they do seem to be stable now.
Zillow aims to empower buyers, sellers and homeowners in the realm of real estate...and they are starting by providing a robust and flexible tool for home valuation. Aside from the implications for buying and selling real estate, if you are a homeowner trying to track your networth, this is sexy stuff.
No more wading through sites that solely treat you as a sales lead for real estate agents or mortgages...and no more huge meaningless range from HomeValueBot. Zillow formulates your initial "Zestimate" based on comps (comparable recent home sales) but they allow you to leverage your unique knowledge of your property to "tweak" the value. You can further qualify your results by adding certain home improvements and even noting things that would reduce the value of your home (say, if you needed a new roof). And you can even choose your own comps...since of course you know your neighborhood best.
According to the CNN article they also factor in variables that affect the entire market (such as current interest rates) so you have a pretty good shot at a decent valuation if your data is accurate and they have good data coverage for your area.
I am really excited that someone is finally attempting to do what Domania promised when they launched in 2000. I worked for Domania back then and we had built a promising valuation tool that was recently taken offline that I miss every time I have been forced to settle for HomeValueBot. I think Zillow is my new crush.
Posted by Caitlin at 6:56 PM