Zillowned: Zillow Launches, Goes Down, Mileage Varies.

by Alex Stenback on February 9, 2006

That gentle breeze you feel is from the collective yawn induced by the much ballyhood real estate startup Zillow.com, which has been all over the web since its launch yesterday, and even went down for a time due to the flood of new traffic. 

In a nutshell, Zillow has aggregated the publicly available information on some 60,000,000 properties nationwide, and uses this info to give us a "Zestimate" (estimate of value: hate this term already) for any address you enter.

Despite the clever interface, we found the ‘Zestimates’ just all over the map ($50k ranges, etc.) and of little practical use to anyone.  To be fair, this may just be a GIGO problem, and could improve dramatically as data points are added, but you can get closer to an actual, accurate value by spending 20 minutes on a real estate search site and online property tax records.

Let’s hope this gets better with time, but for now it remains a very expensive good idea. For a really good "web 2.0" real estate website, try out Trulia.com (not in MN yet.)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

andy February 9, 2006 at 2:43 pm

I was disappointed to only be able to find the taxman’s assessed value of my house. I then looked at home of mine a few years ago. When I left it, it had 5 bedrooms. According to Z, it only has 2 left!

Paul February 9, 2006 at 4:24 pm

I still havn’t been able to get in to this site…

Steve G. February 9, 2006 at 4:43 pm

Great idea, iffy execution. The “zestimate” (gag!) on my house was not too far out of whack from what I thought it might be, but when I played with adding extra information, it blew up their equations (e.g. when I put in the correct finished square footage, the value of the house doubled).

Jessie February 9, 2006 at 5:59 pm

We tested the results in Southern California with a random data sample of MLS listings that have closed in the last week and the Zillow estimates then charted the results. Overall not bad… +- 2% average but as high as 27%. As posted by Mr. Barton, possibly better data on West Coast. We posted the chart and results on our blog. It would be interesting if we could get more people to do the same and see how much and were the biggest error margins are…

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