How much is your house worth? Is it worth as much as the neighbor’s house? How does it compare to houses across town – or the hot pink duplex at the end of the block that seems to have had a ‘for sale’ sign in the lawn for the past six months? Whether you’re planning on selling your home, buying your first home, or just curious about the status of the house down the street, Zillow may be the tool for you. It gives anyone easy access to records for homes that have been on the market, are on the market, and may be on the market soon. Zillow can also answer all sorts of real estate questions about things like mortgages and lenders as well as information on each home listed, like its number of bathrooms or the estimated value (cleverly called a “zestimate” by Zillow). The idea of an online application to provide this information is popular. In fact, only two days after its launch in 2006, Zillow had already received its millionth visitor – and Zillow’s tally of users has been growing ever since.
Zillow’s listings include a page for each home with a photo (if possible) and other publicly available information. What makes Zillow unique, though, is not the free access to information or their zesty real estate linguistics, but the ability for anyone to share information, ask questions, and start conversations about a home. The result is a site that’s enriched by the participation of buyers, sellers, owners, and real estate professionals. Zillow users can get useful information, but they can also discuss that information and help each other figure out what to do with it. So far, 2.5 million homes have been listed for sale on Zillow, and 100,000 real estates agents are listed on the site. It appears that, even during the days of foreclosures and mortgage lending problems (or perhaps especially during these times), web users want to know the price of their property.
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