In my last post, I mentioned my friend from Colorado and her Android phone. I don’t have much use for fancy phones and monthly plans but I’ve got to admit those apps are appealing. Over the weekend, she introduced me to the coolest app I have heard of yet. Zillow.
I am not a real estate agent. I have no close friends who are. If I did, I would lose them by making this post. This app is unbelievably useful and it isn’t only on phones. Just go to www.zillow.com and type in the zip code “75069”. This will give you a satellite view of Fairview and the historic district of McKinney. Scroll north by holding down the left mouse button and dragging the map until you see Virginia and Louisiana Streets in the center of the screen. You’ll be looking at the historic district.
The neatest thing about the app is the icons that appear over the houses. It looks like at least two people in the neighborhood have already found this app. Blue house indicates that the house it represents is not currently for sale but the owner has claimed the house in the app and entered a “Make Me Move” price. If someone shows up on their doorstep with an offer for this amount, they will sell. Red houses are houses for sale. Yellow houses are sold and purple houses are for rent.
Houses have been moving pretty quickly in this neighborhood so I’m not sure why there are no yellow houses in my search. They must be interfacing with some database and I thought that it was the County’s because you can pull up details on any house that include their last charged property taxes and square footage.
So why would a real estate agent be mad about more people finding out about Zillow? Two reasons spring immediately to mind. First of all, the “Make Me Sell” feature completely leaves them out of the loop. This may be the best FBSO tool I’ve ever heard of. More importantly, Zillow also includes a property value estimation that may be significantly less than the asking price.
For instance, the asking price for the house in the estimate above is almost 550k, approximately 25k above Zillow’s estimate. Of course, it would be important to know how they come up with their estimate. It is entirely possible that Zillow estimates may be way off for an area like the historic district if they are basing them on comps. While that would work in a development where the homes can be homogenous (if not exact replicas), we do have Victorians next to bungalows next to ranch styles next to cottages. Square footage alone and the number of bedrooms is no kind of indicator for our homes.
So, take it for what it’s worth. I love it. I think it is a wonderful tool.
Until next time,