The real estate market continues to slide, but that hasn’t stopped Zillow from continuing to evolve its business. Their latest move will incorporate over 80,000 real estate listings a day, fed from ERA Franchise Systems LLC, a real estate brokerage company. Zillow promises to take the complex math out of home valuation, luring buyers, sellers and capital investors to a single site. However, they are now clearly leveraging their massive and diverse audience by becoming a source for listings – potentially doing more damage to an already beleaguered profession.
To date, Zillow has secured $87 million in funding, $30 million of this coming recently. Much of that money has been used to enhance the user’s experience. Current features include:
Home Q&A: A feature that allows users to ask questions on any of the 70 million U.S. homes listed in their database. People can also add information about a specific house or neighborhood.
Make Me Move: Not actively looking to sell? No problem! State your dream price, and if someone wants your home badly enough, they can contact you anonymously and try to woo you away.
Zillow Discussions: This is a forum for buyers, sellers and developers using Zillow’s Open API.
EZ Ads: You can target potential customers by zip code and pay per impression.
Much of the core financial information available on Zillow was previously unavailable. And while a useful tool, many people have disputed the accuracy of “Zestimates” – the name given to a home’s worth per Zillow.
As prices drop it will be interesting to see how real estate Web sites like Zillow and their competition (Trulia, Google Base, etc.) will fare. One thing’s clear, Zillow is not going to sit on the sidelines and wait for the market to recover.