What is Zillow?:
Zillow partnered with Yahoo! in 2011 to provide the vast majority of Yahoo's real estate listings online, cementing their place as the largest real estate network on the Web according to several online measurement agencies.
Over ten million homes (U.S. only) are indexed in Zillow's vast real estate database. This includes homes for sale, homes that have recently sold, homes for rent, and homes that are currently on the market. Searchers can use Zillow to get an estimate of what their home is worth (this is called a "Zestimate), see what mortgage rates might be available to them from a wide variety of lenders, and get valuable insights about their local real estate market.
According to the site itself, the name "Zillow" is a combination of the "zillions" of data factors involved in making complex real estate decisions and the idea of a house being a place to lay your head, aka a "pillow". "Zillions" plus "pillow" equals "Zillow".
Home values on Zillow:
A typical Zestimate shows the Value Range (the historically high and low value of what the home has shown itself to be worth), a rent Zestimate (how much the home might go for in the rental market), price history (represented in both graph and linear format), property tax history, and estimated monthly payments. The information used to present this data is based on a wide range of public information that is compiled into one cohesive, useful presentation.
All the Zestimates for the hundreds of millions of homes that Zillow currently covers are part of the Zillow Home Value Index. The Zillow Home Value Index is a geographical, chronological snapshot of home values, based on median value. In other words, it's a simple way to get a quick grasp on how a specific area is doing in the real estate market.
Searchers can also easily compare rates and lenders side by side, assessing loan types, rates, percentages, fees, monthly payments, even how far the lender is in relation to the buyer.
Searching for listings on Zillow:
Search results come with many different filters, such as For Sale, For Rent, Make Me Move (a way to test the home selling waters without officially listing your home), and Recently Sold. In addition, there's also a price slider, bed and bath preference, square footage, and literally dozens more tweaks that Zillow users can attach to their real estate searches to find exactly what they are looking for.
Zillow.com: Real Estate Search Done Right:
Searching for information on Zillow is quite easy. In order to get a quick home value estimate, or "Zestimate", simply type in your complete home address into the search function bar on Zillow's home page. If you'd rather just get some information about the general real estate market in your neighborhood, town, or city, you can do that too: enter in the information, and then you'll be able to filter your results accordingly with filters and/or an interactive map.
Zillow obtains its data from public sources that are freely accessible on the Web; this includes information provided by county, city, or public records. Zillow uses this data (in addition to many, many other resource factors) to compile detailed listings that create as accurate a profile of a home as possible. This makes the Zestimates reliable; however, these estimates should not be substituted for an official real estate appraisal.