I participated in a conference call with David Gibbons from Zillow on Monday. He was sharing a new program they will be offering beginning today.
Primarily, this is aimed at people searching for and offering rentals, however there is one aspect of it that is VERY interesting to buyers. Here is the release:
SEATTLE (Dec. 15, 2009) – Real estate Web site Zillow.com today launched rental listings and search to its home shopping service and database of more than 90,000,000 U.S. homes. For the first time on Zillow, anyone can list a home for rent, and Zillow users can now search both rental homes and homes for sale in their area. Additionally, Zillow has built the industry’s first mapped search by monthly payment, allowing home shoppers to simultaneously find for-sale and for-rent homes, based on a monthly payment they can afford.
According to a recent survey by Harris Interactive 25 percent of people who plan to move in the next three years say they will search for both homes for rent and homes for sale.
With Zillow’s new monthly payment search, home shoppers can now use the “monthly payment” filter as one of their search criteria in addition to specifics like number of bedrooms or bathrooms. Zillow calculates the monthly payment on homes for sale using that day’s local mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, assuming a 20 percent down payment, and shows both for-sale and for-rent homes that match the entered criteria. Shoppers can then save their search and receive email notifications when new homes are listed. No other Web site helps home shoppers easily compare the monthly cost of owning versus renting side-by-side, and figure out the best solution for them today.
“In today’s volatile housing market, many would-be sellers are opting to rent for a few years and ride out the market, while many home shoppers are just trying to decide whether to buy or rent,” said Spencer Rascoff, Zillow Chief Operating Officer. “With the launch of rental listings and search, we are arming our more than 8 million monthly users with information, tools and options to make the right housing decisions for them today.”
Home shoppers on Zillow can search for rental properties and homes for sale by neighborhood, ZIP code or city, and filter their search based on price, monthly payment and numerous home characteristics. Additionally, landlords now have the opportunity to reach the nearly one million renters who currently visit Zillow each month. Zillow offers landlords a premium listing experience, with a Featured Listing for just $9.95 for 180 days. Featured Listings are sorted to the top of search results and receive six times more views than non-featured listings. Each listing can include unlimited photos, a full list of property features, marketing text, a link to an external Web site for the property, and personal contact information.
Zillow.com is the second-largest real estate Web site, according to Hitwise. On average, 8.3 million unique visitors came to Zillow each month this year, up 60 percent over 2008.
David mentioned that they aren't expecting an initial rush of "purple houses" on the first day of implementation. It certainly is interesting, and shows how much more important the rental market has become amidst the current housing crisis.
I have certainly not been a giant cheerleader for everything coming from Zillow. However, they are doing many things right. I have also had the opportunity to hang out with David on a couple of occasions. He is a cool guy... and there aren't very many people with whom I can talk about South African Sports Cars.