Thursday, March 09, 2006

Zillow and Real Estate

Several new real estate web sites have emerged. I found Zillow particularly of interest. In a Newsday article, columnist Meghan Daum succinctly describes what the site will do for you: "When the address of almost any home in the United States is typed into the system, Zillow provides an estimate of the market value of the property, the most recent sale price of that property, the approximate square footage, the values of the neighboring homes and a satellite photo of the whole street. " Zillow isn't quite perfect yet as it is still technically in the beta phase. My own testing showed that my parents' house was estimated at $100,000 more than recent sale prices of other homes in the neighborhood, but the site is adding more data every day.

Sites like Zillow and others could affect the real estate agent profession. In New Scotland, New York, the assessor's office has recently reassessed every home in the town. That data - including a photo of the home, square footage, ownership, recent sales and full value - can be accessed with a click of a mouse. No longer do you have to visit the town clerk's office to look up comparables - one of the services offered by a licensed real estate agent. The World Wide Web could ultimately change the way we buy and sell homes.

No comments: