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Zillow was developed as an online real estate search engine that was incorporated in 2004. It was created by Rich Barton and Lloyd Bring, former Microsoft gurus who were key in the development of the Expedia website. Spencer Rascoff serves as the company CEO.

The company has data on over 110 million homes in the United States, in addition to the 2 million that are currently listed on the website for sale. The site offers value estimates on homes, gives key data on how the price of a home will change over a given timespan, gives aerial views of homes and helps customers find data on similar homes that exist in the same search area. The website accesses basic public data on a home and also gives information on the square footage and number of bedrooms listed in a home. If a home has a recently added feature, such as a renovation, this information is also tracked on the website for the home. Zillow also has API integration and developers can also network Zillow's search feature into websites developed for other realtors.

Zillow has a unique functionality that is not found on many realtor websites. The "Make Me Move" feature is a great way to get a pre-market price on the home out there. One of the nice features of the Zillow website is the rental search feature, which was launched in 2009. The website doesn't list as many rentals as homes, but this helps renters find an affordable website. Zillow is also used to power other key real estate search paradigms, such as AOL Real Estate and MSN Real Estate, in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Zillow also was one of the first companies in the industry to begin using apps to access its real estate search database. Here is a list of apps available and the dates that they were launched:

  • April 2009, iPhone app
  • March 2010, Android app
  • April 2010, iPad app
  • March 2011, Blackberry app
  • July 2012, Windows phone app
  • November 2013, Windows 8.1 app.

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The Good

  • Search functionality
  • Apps

The first thing that we noticed about the Zillow website was its functionality. We liked the number of listings that we saw available. The search feature is also easy to use. Site users can do multiple types of searches. It is possible to search by address, state, map, type of home, rental or home purchase, the number of bedrooms in a home, and other search criteria. It also includes a "Make Me Move" price, where customers can see new homes that are just starting to enter the market.
Another thing that we liked about the website was the feature that lets users see factors that increase a home's values. Price valuation increases in a home can be projected for a 5- or 10-year timespan. Also, the site lists recent renovations to a home that may also increase its price.

We also liked the number of apps available for Zillow. When we looked at apps in the industry, many of the apps were only geared for the iPhone. We saw apps available for the iPad and Google tablets as well. The Zillow app is very flexible to use on the Windows 8.1 phone, a major plus in our opinion, given the Zillow functionality of the MSN Real Estate website.

We found that the Zillow "Zestimate" was also accurate. We looked at homes on the website and then checked these prices with real estate websites and other listings. The Zestimate feature allows users to see a price that is projected based on several factors, including prices of homes that are also going in the same search area. Zestimate, however, is not always accurate. One of the problems that we found with "Zestimates" was that the price accuracy varies by location and current offers if buyers are negotiating for the home.

The Bad

  • Customer support
  • Zestimate accuracy

One of the things we noticed right away was the lack of support available for the Zillow website. They don't offer a toll-free number for customers to call in. There is also no live chat app for customers who are looking for information about a particular home.

Another problem that we found with Zillow was that the Zestimate and home prices listed on the website was not always accurate. We found that a homeowner who rented had lost income on a property because the property was incorrectly listed as being "in foreclosure." The client asked to receive funds to help compensate for their losses, but Zillow responded by saying that their information is received from third-party sources. We found that the pricing critiques of the website hinged on the following factors:

  • Some data used to compile the Zillow price estimate can be as old as twenty years and is based on old bank data, public data, and sales transactions.
  • Only 65% of Zillow's listing stock can be considered "accurate," according to Fortune magazine.
  • Real estate agents and brokers are more likely to know the most up-to-date and factual information about a home that is listed for sale.

The Bottom Line

Overall, we would recommend Zillow as a website for listing your home or looking for a new home. Here is what we liked about Zillow's website:

  • Accurate data, for the most part, that is compiled from trustworthy and up-to-date public sources.
  • The "Zestimate" price that is listed for homes.
  • The search functionality of the website.
  • The ability for site users to ask real estate questions in a public forum.
  • The map feature and aerial views offered for homes.
  • Price valuation information for a home that is listed in timespan intervals.
  • Rental listings that are almost as extensive as sales listings.

We saw a pattern of complaints such as occasional inaccurate price information for a new home. Some landlords lost money due to homes being listed as "in foreclosure" on the website when they were in fact not. Also, we had concerns with some property information on the website, especially bank data, as being as much as two decades old. Even though Zillow gets its information from third-party sources, more supervision of the data is needed to ensure its accuracy.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

3.9
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23 Reviews

Review Breakdown

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35%
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48%
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4%
1 star
13%

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Jay
May 13th, 2019 Great Falls, MT

These people are a nightmare!! We aren't even listed with them. Our home is not for sale, not in pre-foreclosure, not up for auction!! Our home has been in loan modification, was approved by our first lender, sold to another lender and is in final review. We have been told by our lender that all is approved. Zillow and Auction.com will not remove the false listing!! They both tell us to have the mortgage company just call them...Per both of our lenders, "we don't call Zillow or Auciton.com". Both mortgage companies are saying this is a scam and will be initiating legal action. We are in contact with our attorney as well. This happened the first time in Feb 2019, and was removed immediately by Zillow. Now somehow they just can't remove it. This was re-posted a week ago and now they won't remove it!! Avoid Auction.com and Zillow at all cost. They listed this on their own, we never contacted them.

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Tanner Cook
December 17th, 2018 Gilbert, AZ DETAILS
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Using Zillow was a great resource for my wife and I, as many listings on there or not on the MLS. Even though we had a realtor, we found the property that we most like through Zillow. When it comes time to rent in a year, will be using Zillow again

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Joanna Hester
June 5th, 2018 Gilbert, AZ DETAILS
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I reference zillow.com on almost a daily basis to see the new houses on the market and what the prices are doing in my neighborhood. I know the info is reliable and a true representation of the market.

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Vicki A Michaels
May 2nd, 2018

I love looking up the value of my house and seeing it go up.

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Rebecca Malone
May 1st, 2018 Minneapolis, MN

Thanks to the ease of use, the Zillow app makes house hunting a breeze! I can look it up on-the-go, draw a geographic area to search within with my finger, search nearby, and the filters make it easy to narrow down the results to a most consise list of my needs.

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Schon
April 30th, 2018 Smithfield, UT

We used Zillow and another app when searching for our house. Very easy to use and helpful in our search.

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Trent
April 30th, 2018 Provo, UT

Easy to use. I also like all the information that is provided about each house.

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RJ
April 30th, 2018 Provo, UT

I appreciate the information that is provided about the community to go along with the actual home.

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Amanda
April 18th, 2018 Sherwood, OR

They don't have the best estimates/comps on property if you are looking to sell... but I do like their rental site and app!

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Chase Huntzinger
April 16th, 2018 Provo, UT DETAILS
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Very similar to a lot of other home websites. Easy to use interface. Great for seeing the options in a specific area according to your budget.

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Michael
April 16th, 2018 Ogden, UT

Great website to find homes and values.

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Jacinda E
December 19th, 2017 Sandy, UT

It is a fun app to look at the kind of house one would like. My husband and I are in the market and we have enjoyed being able to select an area and a price then look at different homes.

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Suzanna Wootton
December 18th, 2017 Springville, UT

When I was looking to buy a house, I enjoyed using Zillow. The only thing I didn't like was that houses would already be sold and they would still be up on zillow's site and it was kind of frustrating.

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Lindsey
December 11th, 2017 American Fork, UT

I think Zillow is a great option for searching for homes and apartments. You can personalize your search to find exactly what you want in a property.

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Cassidy Gundersen
December 11th, 2017 Orem, UT

Zillow is hands down the best place we have found to look for homes. It is easy to use and find homes and most of the homes have all of the information that you would need to make a decision. Because there are so many users- there are lots of choices. I have never had issues with the app

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Emerald Scott
December 5th, 2017 West Jordan, UT

The site is easy to use and has a ton of useful information. The searches are easy to customize, but it only has town specifications whereas I would prefer distance specifications.

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Kent Jensen
November 8th, 2017 Newberg, OR

Easy to use. Huge source of data and information. I think this is a must if you are thinking of buying or selling.

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Hyrum
October 26th, 2017 Sandy, UT

Great app. I used to think they had a great selection until I started looking at RedFin, but now I see that their selection is much smaller.

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peter
August 23rd, 2017 Catonsville, MD

inaccurate click bate, mote of their listing is either under contract, not for sale, horrible if you want to waste your time. the only positive is the ease of use of the interface and app. other than that the info is garbage

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Susan Stewart
June 12th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

Zillow has been a great little app for trying to find a home. It's so easy to zoom in and out of the map to see the houses I want to. They give a great deal of information and even estimate what my monthly price would be. It's probably the best app for houses right now.

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Doyal Stewart
June 12th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

I have been looking into buying a home for some time now, Zillow has been a great way to see all of the available homes in the areas I want to live in. I also like the added information of seeing what homes are foreclosed. Hopefully my search for a home will be over soon.

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robin
September 8th, 2015 Gaithersburg, MD

Zillow's estimates are hard to decipher, especially when an estimate for a delapidated home in an OK neighborhood in Montgomery County MD lists for more than $500K when other larger and remodeled homes around it are estimated at nearly $100K less. Same with under-estimates that are based on some arcane and not well-defined criteria that does not make sense. Why does Zillow even offer estimates when they are so far off of what the real value is, including actual home sales in the area?

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Kristen
September 15th, 2014 Pleasant Grove, UT

Ziillow is a great tool to find a house, but isn't necessarily the best tool to find a foreclosed home. A lot of time, the "foreclosed" listings on Zillow are outdated or are just ways to get your to look at a house even though it is not foreclosed. Best to look at real foreclosed sites to get real information. Zillow can help give ideas and pricing though.

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