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Summary:

Well-funded startup Zillow is evolving beyond providing real estate trivia to reconstituting the definition of what makes a home for sale. The company’s challenge is to disrupt the high-strung real estate industry without making so many enemies it gets driven out of business. With $57 million […]

Well-funded startup Zillow is evolving beyond providing real estate trivia to reconstituting the definition of what makes a home for sale. The company’s challenge is to disrupt the high-strung real estate industry without making so many enemies it gets driven out of business. With $57 million in the bank, lately it’s been a guessing game of just how Zillow would go about thinking big.

Tonight, the company is announcing it will provide real estate agents and individuals tools to advertise a home for sale within the excellent Zillow map and home price estimator web interface. And, in a twist, home owners will also be able to attach a “Make Me Move” price to their homes as a casual way to explore putting their houses on the market. Everything continues to be free to users and supported by ads.

Zillow’s move will combine ads for-sale-by-owner properties and properties represented by agents, something competitors like Trulia are not doing in order to abide by the requirements of multiple listings services. Zillow, on the other hand, is electing to enlist individual agents and home sellers on a house-by-house basis. The company is not providing tools for structured uploading, said Zillow CEO Rich Barton in an interview this week.

Zillow currently has 3.5 million visitors per month, about 250,000 of them realtors. Since introducing a “claim your house” tool about two months ago, 250,000 people have registered with the site, according to Barton. The company, which is less than a year old, employs 130 people.

Zillow is now trying to expand its audience to include more casual users. Currently, half of Zillow users say they plan to buy a house in the next two years. Of the properties, “what’s on the web now is a small subset, only what’s for sale now,” said Barton. “That’s two to three million homes out of 85 million in the United States.

“Whether or not a home is for sale is not binary,” he continued — saying of Make Me Move, “it’s not like it’s a commitment; it’s kind of a flirtation.”

Barton continually has to defend himself against fears that he will replace real estate agents the same way he replaced travel agents with his last big startup, Expedia. His reply: since the web ad model has now become viable, Zillow doesn’t have to get in the middle of any transactions. Rather, it is getting into the content business, offering trivia, listings, as well as a new real estate wiki project (also launching today) combining expert and visitor knowledge about all things real estate.

“Zillow is making conversations with real estate agents better,” contended Barton, comparing it to online diagnosis providers like WebMD. “People are sitting down with printouts of Zestimates [Zillow's term for home price estimates] and comparables. It’s more like an expert consultation.”

  1. 2006 is the Year of Zillow: The 900 pound AVM has been upgraded to be a free listing platform and the presumptive national MLS system . . …

    The News
    An upgrade made tonight to Zillow.com’s on-line home evaluation system will add the following new functionality:

    Owners or listing agents for any of the 67 million homes in Zillow’s database will be able to list those homes for sa…

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  2. Finnish site Igglo.fi pioneered this idea and Redfin has filed a US patent application for the concept. I wonder how that will play out now that Zillow has stolen their thunder…

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  3. Zillow will Replace Real Estate Agents…

    I think Zillow will try to replace the MLS and create an efficient market to sell houses (In my humble opinion). Zillow’s CEO and leadership built Expedia and they replaced travel agents with Expedia. I think they may end up…

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  4. I hope real estate agents do get replaced — they do not add much value for their 6%, and do not represent the buyers’ interest well.

    The way things are set up, their motivation is to sell (“it’s always a good time to buy”) for the highest price (most commission), whether or not it is wise for the buyer.

    Of course, loan officers are worse scum, but that’s a topic for another day. It’ll be interesting to see how things change from the double impact of the housing bubble bursting and the internet.

    Finally, appraisers do have their problems, but I’d trust a honest appraiser anyday over Zestimates. There’s some discussion of why it’s good to pay for your own appraisal at http://housingbubblecasualty.com/?p=48

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  5. Zillow This, Zillow That: Or, For the Love of Pete, Enough Already!…

    .
    One of my favorite bloggers and all around cool chick Maureen Francis asked this in a comment today:
    “Are you intentionally the only RE blogger in America NOT talking about zillow today?”
    And actually, I did intentionally plan to not writ…

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  6. Zillow: Everything is for Sale (at the Right Price)…

    Zillow made two announcements this week of interest to real estate investors. First, Zillow will host FSBO ads for free. The second, and more interesting feature is called, Make-Me-Move whereby owners can make a more limited advertisement that a prop…

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  7. zillow

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  8. Search for in all major search engines simultaneously on the site http://www.iknowall.com.
    Simultaneous search on Google, Yahoo and MSN Live Search.

    Try http://www.iknowall.com

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  9. DO NOT GO ON THE LATEST IKNOWALL.COM, IT JUST GAVE ME A TROJAN VIRUS.

    CHEAP, LOW CLASS SPAMMER.

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  10. 2 John Curk
    You the patient or the madman? What for you deceive?

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