Zillow your house…

February 9, 2006

and your neighbor’s house… and your parent’s house… and your friends’ houses!

My old Microsoft officemate, Nate, quit last year and told me he was joining up at Zillow, a new startup funded by some of the original Expedia people. At the time, all he could tell me was that it was something to do with real estate and I didn’t think much of it. Well… it launched yesterday and all I have to say is: wow!

Since we started playing with it in the office, everyone has spent at least 20 minutes zillowing their house and any other houses they have addresses for. Sitting next to me, Dan has been zillowing Bill Gates’s house and Larry Ellison’s house; it’s a voyeur’s dream!


The place I’m currently renting is worth $750k (pretty much dead on I think) and the place I used to live in downtown San Francisco is appraised at $820k (also dead on given the recent selling prices of units in the same building). Which just highlights how ridiculous house prices are here in the Bay Area – and what a bargain renting is. If I bought my place, the mortgage would be $5000 / mo + $7500 a year in property taxes, but I currently pay only $2300 / mo in rent…

Last night at 106 miles, people were debating between whether to release early and often, or to go stealth and create a product that will wow the end-user. Well, score one for the stealth mode camp; IMO, Zillow delivered huge 🙂


15 Responses to “Zillow your house…”

  1. rose Says:

    do doo doo dooo! I sent it out to a couple coworkers cuz we were just talking about it over lunch. 1 of them email back saying “I’M A MILLIONAIRE!!!!!” so maybe he’ll be giving his 2 weeks notice soon..?

  2. ph Says:

    Great site. Thanks for the heads up. I agree that renting is a good deal right now but I was wondering how you came up with $5000/month for mortgage. Are you looking at a 100% interest only loan? If you were to put down 20% and get a 30/year loan you are looking at a payment around $3500/month. The tax break on the mortgage would ease the pain a little. Overall, you probably are better off renting but I think you are exaggerating the benefits.

  3. MickoZ Says:

    I’m amazed when I see people paying 2k+ a month. Make me think to invest in downtown here (montreal, qc) and just rent it. Price are not the same, but there is people paying that there, when you go just a little farer (really not much) and you can afford to get for ~500$ probably similar thing.

    Probably you earn a different salary than me (and it probably depend of the location), but still 2k+ a month looks a lot to me. Maybe sometime you have no choice or it is a question of quality of life, etc. (less time to go to work => more time for yourself/work/etc. => better brain quality => etc. :D)

  4. MickoZ Says:

    I tried around my house and it doesn’t find anything… do you know if it is supporting Canada and if not when? (I’m maybe too lazy to do extensive research but since it is one of your friend, may you ask 😉

    I would really like to see what it looks like around here as I look to invest in real estate sooner or later.

  5. Chen Says:

    Try redfin, they are also very cool..

  6. Michael Says:

    Pardon, that was $2300 per MONTH? For RENTING? For an APPARTMENT? Oh my…

  7. G Ross Says:

    So right now it is only in the Seattle area, a cool site for those looking to buy:

  8. The Noon Says:

    Puerto Rico is not on Zillow yet, that I could see…. for that’s worth 😉

  9. markjen Says:

    ph – $5k/month is for a $750k mortgage with $0 down (if I could put down 10-20%, that would be really nice 🙂 )

    mickoz – I wish I could find a decent place for $500/month; around here, anything around that price range ends up being a real dump 😦

    chen – Redfin looks pretty cool; unfortunately, it seems that it’s only for the Seattle area for now

    Michael – I’m renting a 3/3 townhouse with 2 other guys; my share comes out to around $800 (I’ve got the master bedroom). It’s still quite a bit though…

    the noon – that just means that there’s opportunity for someone in Puerto Rico to make a local version of Zillow 🙂

  10. Elizabeth Says:

    I work for a company that does real estate appraisals, so I found this Zillow pretty interesting. Oddly enough, when I got to work this morning, someone had left a copy of the Wall Street Journal on my desk because there was an article featuring Zillow.com. I guess they’re catching attention from all over. =)

  11. markjen Says:

    Hi Elizabeth, if you get a chance to play with Zillow, can you tell us how accurate you think it is? It’d be nice to hear from a professional in the field 🙂

  12. Elizabeth Says:

    Unfortunatly, I can’t judge Zillow very well because they don’t have much information available for my area. I can view some basic property details and assessed values, but I can’t get any “Zestimates”. I know most of this information is available for free under the Freedom of Information Act, but I’d be interested in knowing how they go about collecting it all.

    In any case, it’s an interesting site and a useful one for individuals trying to find out more about the real estate market in their area.

  13. james Says:

    i’ve been playing around with zillow for the past day. it’s a great tool, and i hope that tools like this will help undermine MLS. that alone would do a lot to rationalize pricing in real estate transactions.

    zillow appears to be miles-off in its predicted pricing in the high-end of any market. whether the homes are in manhattan, florida beaches, or just expensive streets in palo alto, zillow is off by over 50%. i wouldn’t care so much except it makes me question the rest of the estimates.

  14. Jerry Says:

    Redfin’s in San Francisco now. Check it out. It’s my favorite real estate site. Has more info than Zillow.

  15. markjen Says:

    Hey Jerry, thanks for the tip. Redfin is facinating; I hope they succeed and make the real estate market more efficient! 😀

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