Just now the Zillow engineering and operations teams “propped” a new version of Zillow.com that allows homeowners to save and publish personal additions and edits to Zillow’s data on their homes.
Homeowners can now add remodel information, update or change facts (like beds/baths, square footage, etc), or add more specific stuff like a waterfront view, finished basement, or type of parking. This is a milestone release for the company as it represents our first step in opening Zillow up to our customers, inviting them to add to and improve Zillow for everyone.
I just became the first homeowner to publish in the Zillow database. I uploaded my version of my home’s facts and published My Estimate of the value of my home to be presented next to Zillow’s Zestimate. I can see many reasons why homeowners would want to update the public record home facts that we have on Zillow with data that the homeowner knows to be current. However, my personal reason is that my house happens to be for sale right now. I hear all the time from sellers who tell me that buyers are using Zillow to check out their house, but that the public record facts are not up to date. They want to update the database with the real information.
In my case the public records say that my house has 2.25 bathrooms, when there are really 3.5. Zillow now presents my facts side-by-side with the public record facts. Additionally, I was able to publish My Estimate of my home’s value letting any prospective buyers know that we remodeled 2 bathrooms, added a home office and a laundry room, and did a basement remodel including a wine cellar. I also picked what I think are the most appropriate comparable home sales for calculating the value of my house. I chose to make this estimate public and now Zillow presents My Estimate right next to Zillow’s Zestimate.
I imagine there are many sellers and other homeowners out there with the urge to “remodel” their home as it appears on Zillow. So, I encourage you to find your house on Zillow right now and set the record straight. Play with My Estimator to come up with a more refined value estimate – and save it, email it to a friend or publish it for all to see. And as always, tell us what you think – we love feedback on what we have done as well as what we should be doing.
Finally, I’d like to congratulate the Zillow team for shipping this new release — what internally we call “Z2” — in the graceful and calm manner of an experienced team. Nice work.