Online real estate porn gets a hot new toy with Zillow, out in the open now after a major cash infusion. Zillow offers free valuations and data for 60,000,000 plus homes and you can surf it in complete anonymity (no requests for annoying information or log ins thus far). Here’s what a random address search yields in Montclair — instant assessment and tax info. Check out the aerial view, where you can also spy whether your neighbor has a kinder, gentler tax bill than yours. Or see how you can use zillow’s nifty tools.
Zillow is poised to do more than crunch numbers, it seeks to empower by offering users the chance to generate their own comps. Then they offer this advice…
Click on the map view, then look at the home details for each individual home in your top 10 comps. Print the list of comps, and then do some detective work. Drive or walk by the comparable homes and take a look in person. Be a snoop: Drop by the neighborhood coffee shop or market and talk up that "sweet little thing that sold for a pretty penny." You’ll be surprised how much people know and how much they will tell you about a particular house and neighborhood.
Or, you could skip the coffee shop and just ask us. We’ll tell you. Zillow is not the only toy for real estate, says Buzzmachine’s Jeff Jarvis, who predicts that the site along with others will radically change the way real estate plays out. The New York Times profiles Zillow and Redfin and how the two sites have already begun to roil real estate agents royally. — Liz George