Upstart real estate valuation site Zillow has caused a few waves, first with its “what the heck is it?” marketing launch, then inking a deal with Yahoo to provde home valuations in Yahoo Real Estate listings. Basically, the idea behind Zillow is to provide real estate investors and home buyers with estimates—er, Zestimates—of a property’s market value, along with other key information about the property which is otherwise available but time-consuming to collect. Zillow then plugs the numbers into a proprietary formula and offers its best guess about the value of a property. Some people love Zillow; some people hate it; you can generally guess from their reactions where Zillow’s estimates fell in relation to their own personal assessment of the property’s value.
Now Zillow’s gone and gone, well, mobile. Zillow‘s own blog entry says it all: “I was strolling around Capitol Hill a while back and saw a pretty sweet house I was interested in. How much was it worth? How big was it? The information was out there, but I had to wait until I got home before I could look it up. That’s when it occurred to me… people should be able to get this information on the go.”
Zillow Mobile works via text message: use a cell phone to send a text message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the address of the house you’d like to check out (no special formatting is required). Zillow replies with the home’s address, estimated value, number of bedrooms, numbers of baths, square footage, and year built. It should be noted that all these numbers are estimates or culled from records which may vary in accuracy: the deets could be correct, or they could be…otherwise. Plugging my current address into Zillow turns up incorrect square footage and year built; the home where I grew up seems to have lost about a third of its size and a bedroom; the house next door has gained a bathroom. But we’re sure it’s fun!