When I saw this headline on a Smartbrief it intrigued me. I worked in the real estate world for about 2 years. It just so happened that when I decided it wasn’t for me, it plummeted. When I skimmed the article, I found it interesting that they were doing so well right now so I posted it to Twitter (naturally). It wasn’t until my friend Dave direct messaged me and asked why I thought they were doing so well that I actually dug into the situation.
Here’s what I found
Contribution is King
Turns out, a big piece of what Zillow is doing is what Scott Cook did years ago at Intuit. Something called the Contribution Revolution. They had the brains to realize that they didn’t have all the answers to home buyers and sellers question. So they let the hungry Real Estate Agents do the work with Zillow Advice. There are over 200,000 active Real Estate Agents and 12,000 lenders ready to build value through your questions.
Zillow used to be a fun tool to check out your home’s value in comparison with your neighbors. Now that’s just the start. They offer:
- Instant Mortgage quotes
- Homes for sale
- Every category of advice from home improvement to local topics
- Directory of real estate agents
- My Zillow: where you can save searches, houses etc…
- Zillow Iphone App: 535,000 downloads and counting
The Real Estate Market
Face it. When times are tough, people are looking for all the free convenient resources they can get to make the best financial decisions. In this case, the plunging market worked in Zillow’s favor. And they are proving it by constantly adding new features to their site. But is it a business model that is going to always do the opposite of the market? We’ll see when Real Estate is on its way back up.