Zillow's new iPhone app: Taking it to the streets

pastedgraphic6When David Gibbons gave me an early peek of the new Zillow iPhone app on Monday, my first thought was how this would take the frustration I feel online at home to the streets. Great. Now trying to figure out what’s real when it comes to home values can be frustrating everywhere!

But then I delved into it. And it became clear real fast that Zillow put a considerable amount of effort into this application.

First and foremost, the application is smartly designed, displaying critical information immediately upon opening. Once the GPS locates you, it displays the homes in your immediate area with pricing. Start walking or driving and it literally follows you.

You many think, “so what.” But I defy anyone to deny ever having the urge while driving down Sunset Blvd, the 17-Mile Drive or anywhere else and not wondering how those homes you’re passing might be incorrectly priced.  I know I have.

Every home in the app has a details page presenting public record data including beds, baths, square feet, a historical look at the value of the home over one, five and 10-year periods, information about the last sale of the home and recent sales comps.


Red dots indicate a home is for sale. Blue dots represent the Make Me Move homes placed into Zillow’s database by home owners. Yellow dots mark the recently sold homes.

Touch the icons on a for sale property and the listing price appears along with some property details inside a bubble. Click the bubble and you get photos and the full set of listing details including contact info for either the seller or the listing agent.

Since Zillow allows for up to 50 photos for both the independent seller or the agent, the pressure is now on for agents to start getting with the program and take more than 6 photos of their properties.

The app also offers basic search functions for searching beyond your present location.


Missing from this experience are several key components. They include:

  • Access to local amenities and school information, which would be a natural fit for a mobile house hunter
  • The ability to calculate distance between destinations – e.g. a home to a local school
  • The ability for the user to manage their own property
  • Access to the greater world of foreclosures, which account for more than half the inventory in some markets.

The last lingering concern I have, which I continue to assign to all non MLS-based listing sites, is the accuracy and completeness of the for sale listings presented to the user.

Nevertheless, this is yet another feather placed in the “interloper” cap for taking data the traditional real estate generates and doing something cool with it. The app is free and available at the App Store.

Davison Twitter: 1000wattmarc