Zillow: The online Realtor

By JOE CERVONE

Searching for a new home? The up and coming online real estate database Zillow allows visitors to search homes from the comfort of their computers.

Created by former Microsoft executives Richard Barton and Lloyd Frink, Zillow runs under a slogan of “Your Edge in Real Estate.” Prior to Zillow, Barton and Frink were the creators of the ever popular travel website Expedia.

According to their website, “Our goal is to help people make intelligent decisions about their homes — whether it’s buying a home, selling, renting, leasing, remodeling or financing — it’s all about empowering people with data and information.” Zillow is able to provide such a service through the use of its ability to “Zestimate“, a feature that estimates the market value of homes by analyzing data of the surrounding housing market.

What makes Zillow so appealing is the manner in which it presents a “Zestimate” of available an home. Through the use of Bing’s “Bird’s Eye View” map feature, Zillow provides an aerial view of homes with their estimated value listed as a map marker. In addition to a house’s value, Zillow provides a properties sales cost, monthly rent, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and property tax as of 2009.

While homeowners may worry about the accuracy of the site’s estimations, Zillow is quick to point out that visitors can use the “My Estimator” tool, in order to provide information about their property that the website may not know, such as a recent renovation.

What’s also extremely useful is the website’s search tools that allows users to explore homes based on what’s for sale, for rent, a price range, number of bedrooms, even homes that were recently sold. So, whether you are visiting the site to view your own home’s value, you are in the market for a condo, or you want to look up Ashton Kutcher’s house, Zillow is a handy real estate tool.

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