My husband has a saying he uses whenever I start talking about blowing a ton of money on things like a home on the water, or a big sailboat. “We’re just ordinary people,” he’ll say, and that’s that. No waterfront home or sailing life for me.
It’s not such a bad thing, being ordinary people, and that’s what my job at Zillow is all about. Two of us produce all the content on the site – we’re the ones responsible for things like the haiku you may have seen during our traffic crunch on launch day (inset), the Vitamin Z explanations, the “eye of newt” reference in explaining the Zestimate (my boss, no ordinary guy, didn’t quite get that last one).
It’s no secret that we have a bunch of dataheads and math whizzes here, and they produce really great stuff, most of it in numbers. They give us words to describe the numbers, and we scratch our heads and suspect the words are in a different language (which they are, in a sense). So we ask questions that sound like we just fell off the proverbial truck – questions that ordinary people would ask. Our job is really that of translators, but often those questions result in features like adding the value of a great garden or new bathroom into My Zestimator when figuring out what a home is worth. You know, the soft stuff.
As ordinary people we know that a home is more than square feet and lot size. We know that no matter how much homework you do as a buyer, you are likely to walk into one house and say, “This is it,” and step all over your crumpled-up checklist.
And, once you live in that house, we know there are things beyond the numbers that you will love about it, just like the execs here. What I love about our house is that it’s on a ridge and gets morning and afternoon light. I could look at comps and Zestimates all day long, but for me, light streaming through my windows is going to trump everything.
Aw, shucks. I’m just an ordinary person. What do you love about your house?