Zillow: Beyond Home Listings

Home Search, Mortgages
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Zillow: More Than Just Home Estimates

Househunters know all about Zillow. It’s the search engine of choice for millions of homebuyers. In fact, the site’s visitors made up one-fifth of all traffic to real estate sites as of April 2015, according to Inman, a real estate industry news source.

There’s more to Zillow than just home listings. For a comprehensive look at the top home search portal, check out our Zillow Review. And keep reading for some of the site’s most interesting features that you may not have clicked on yet.

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Home design

Zillow home design

Zillow Home Design page

Zillow’s home design section, which you can reach via a link on the menu bar at the top of the home page, is arguably its most interesting added-value feature.

Pick a room, cost, color, or style, and you’ll find pages of photos for inspiration. See an idea you love? You can click on an item in the photo and a pop-up window will tell you where to purchase it and how much it costs. You can even post a question for the designer to answer.

Celebrity real estate and unique homes

Zillow Unique Homes

A Zillow “Unique Home,” Star Trek style

Want to buy, or just check out, the home where Bruce Springsteen wrote the break-out songs of his career? Explore celebrity real estate under the Zillow’s blog tab. You might find Jonah Hill’s Hollywood Hills home, Britney Spears’ southern California estate or the villa Tom Cruise sold for $11 million.

Sure, it’s a giant waste of time, especially if your main goal is to find your next home, but who knew that Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz bought Eddie Murphy’s Jersey mansion just two years ago — and are now listing it for almost $15 million?

Zillow’s “unique homes” page is another fun feature. You’ll find houses such as the New England estate with a $500,000 hockey rink and the Star Trek-themed home near Houston, not to mention tree homes and Dallas’ White House replica.

Local market analysis

Click “more” on the top menu bar, then “Zillow blog” and then the “local” link. Once you’re there, enter a city, state and ZIP code or neighborhood you’re interested in and you’ll find Zillow’s insight into your local real estate market. Among other things, this includes Zillow’s assessment of whether your market is “cold” — in other words, it’s a buyer’s market — or “hot.”

The local info also includes analysis of home values, foreclosure activity and mortgage delinquencies. You’ll find the average number of days that homes in the area are listed on Zillow and the percentage of homes with negative equity, meaning the current owners owe more on the house than it’s currently worth.

You’ll also find useful rental data, if you’re on the fence about whether to rent or buy.

Research

If you’re a real estate wonk, or just want to be a very-educated consumer, go to “Zillow research,” under the “more” tab. Not only will you find recent articles based on Zillow’s research, but you’ll see tabs for data, local market overviews, real estate and rental trends, housing affordability, forecasting and housing by generation.

There are also presentations, articles and infographics — probably more than you could ever want to know about the real estate industry.

And there’s even more

That’s not all. On Zillow’s advice page, you’ll find forums for real estate, home buying and selling, and even local market advice. There’s also a feature that allows you to input a monthly payment and see what homes it would buy you in neighborhoods across the country.

Better get another cup of coffee; this is going to take a bit of time. Zillow is a lot more than just home listings.

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Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: hal@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @halmbundrick


Images via Zillow.