When you think of real estate websites, the first one that comes to mind is probably Zillow.
Zillow is the original real estate website. It can help you find local mortgage lenders, area real estate agents, and even interior design ideas.
This Zillow review looks at everything the website offers to help you decide if it’s the right real estate site for you.
The website is well-known for its in-depth look at finding homes. However, Zillow does more than just list home prices.
Zillow can help you find local lenders and rates as well as information about neighborhoods, local amenities, and more. You can also find a real estate agent to help you with your search.
Sometimes the information is a little outdated. And there has been controversy over the years having to do with the Zestimate used to provide home values. Overall, though, Zillow is a great place to start your search for the perfect home.
Unsurprisingly, Zillow is chock-full of tools and features for homebuyers. You can use Zillow to compare homes and neighborhoods to find what you want.
It’s also possible to get Zillow mortgage rates and find a real estate agent. Here are some of the tools and features you can use to get the most out of the Zillow website.
Homes for sale or rent
Zillow has millions of listings from all over the country. The site pulls from the multiple listing service (MLS) and uses what individual real estate agents and sellers post. You can choose an area and see all the homes for sale on a map.
That can be a little overwhelming, though, even in a small market. So Zillow allows you to use filters to narrow down your options.
Search by price, listing type, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and home type. Zoom in on the map to see home locations — and their prices.
Zillow’s filters also let you see homes that are in foreclosure, or that are in pre-foreclosure. These homes are color-coded in blue so you can pick them out among the red more easily.
You can also look for homes for rent using the filters. Overall, it’s fairly easy to find what you’re looking for using Zillow’s filters.
Once you decide which listing you want to see, you can get a good idea of which features the home offers.
Each Zillow listing includes the address, location on the map, and images of the property. Sometimes it will include a video of the property as well.
Another great perk is that Zillow offers mortgage estimates. You can see how much you might pay each month and get pre-qualified. The handy Zillow mortgage calculator includes today’s Zillow mortgage rates, so you can get an idea of what to expect.
Of course, you aren’t guaranteed that mortgage. You still have to go through the application process and get approved.
Listing features also include information beyond bedrooms and bathrooms. Some of the other details include:
- Information about the neighborhood
- The history of the neighborhood
- Yard size
- Pricing information
- Tax history
- Schools in the area
- Nearby amenities
- The WalkScore of the neighborhood
Then, you’re able to compare the home to others nearby that sold in recent weeks. All of these listing details will give you a feel for whether or not you will fit with the area.
Zillow mortgage rates
You can also get Zillow mortgage rates for buying or refinancing a home. When looking for rates, you answer a few questions. Start with whether this is your first time buying and where you live. You also indicate the type of home you want to buy and whether you qualify for military incentives.
Next you’ll enter your:
- Phone number
- Expected home price
- Down payment amount
- Monthly debt payments
- Credit score estimate
- Bankruptcies or foreclosures (if any)
Then Zillow gives your information to a local mortgage lender who will call you.
If you want a quick and dirty look at what to expect, the Zillow mortgage calculator is helpful. You can get an estimate of costs. Of course, what you actually end up paying depends on your credit and other factors.
Use Zillow to look at mortgage lender reviews for lenders in your area. Decide where to go if you want to work with a local mortgage lender or mortgage broker.
If you don’t already have a real estate agent in mind, you can use Zillow’s agent search to find local agents. You can see local reviews and read their stats, as well. These stats include recent sales and number of listings for teams or individuals.
If you’re a landlord, you can get a little help from Zillow, too, since the reviews and agent finder also includes property manager reviews
No Zillow review is complete without looking at Zestimate.
Zestimate tries to give you an idea of what a home is worth — get it? Zillow estimate? When you look at a listing on Zillow, you can see the Zestimate below the price. This will give you a good idea about whether or not the home is overpriced.
If you own a home, you can also use Zestimate to get an idea of how much you can sell the home for. Zillow also allows you to look at comparable homes in your neighborhood to see where you stand.
You can get an idea of how much you could ask for rent on a home using Zestimate. Plus, Zillow offers its forecast about which direction your home’s value will go.
There are questions about the accuracy of Zestimate, however. In 2015, the economist behind Real Estate Decoded claimed that Zillow’s average Zestimate was off by as much as $14,000.
A recent update to the post reflects Zillow’s update to the Zestimate process in 2016. However, even with that caveat, there are still questions about how accurate your Zestimate can be.
Zestimate is only as good as the data provided, so sometimes there are mistakes. You are more likely to get a more accurate Zestimate if you live in a large community where there are a lot of home sales.
Zillow is upfront about the fact that the Zestimate given isn’t perfect — and it’s not an appraisal. It’s a ballpark number that can give you a general idea of what to expect. A local real estate agent can probably help you more accurately manage your home search.
More about Zillow
Zillow offers a number of other resources and tools, as well. You can find research from Zillow about different aspects of the real estate market. It’s also possible to read Zillow’s blog for ideas on home interior design.
There’s a lot going on with Zillow that makes it a pretty good place to go for all things real estate. It’s not perfect, but there’s plenty of useful information and tools. to provide you with plenty of insight into your next home purchase — or home sale.
Zillow contact information
Zillow launched in 2006 and is based in Seattle. The Zillow brand also includes Trulia, StreetEasy, HotPads, and Naked Apartments.
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