The matchmaker Zillow introduced me to my dream home. I had saved for a down payment and was “so curious” about what I might get in my budget near Denver, which led me to browse through my lunch break listings casually. On the real estate site, I found my three-bedroom row home and at first sight, it was love. Then I called up a real estate agent that was referred to me by my friend, had a show the next day, and closed a couple of weeks later.

I’m not alone on that. According to research from the National Association of Realtors, about 51 per cent of buyers find the homes they ultimately bought online. Zillow, of course, lets you window shop to rent or buy locations, which is the key attraction. But that is just scratching the surface. Here’s what else you should use Zillow for, and real estate experts’ expert advice on what to bear in mind while looking at the online real estate portal.

Don’t Use Zestimate

Curious about what the appraise of your home will be? The “Zestimate,” or the calculation of what your home (or any home, for that matter) is worth, will be revealed by plugging your address into Zillow. Once a year, I get something in the mail from my county assessor calculating the value of my house, but I can check back every month or so on Zillow. It’s addictive. A Zillow representative told us that a 4.5 per cent median error rate should be accounted for. The machine algorithm Zillow uses pulls in loads of data to arrive at the Zestimate, including public records from county tax assessors, and similar home sales record information. To assess if you have a nice view and street noise data to determine whether you live in a noisy area, it also considers stuff like topographical data. You may also like to consider other portals when you sell your  house privately on

If, say, someone goes to sell and they depend on a “Zestimate” that may be inflated, the margin of error may be problematic. Those who get a high or more favourable Zestimate will generally not want to hear that their home is worthless, If a seller doesn’t want to budge on price in an environment where the Zestimate has a high margin of error, it might translate for an extended period into their home being on the market. According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors, homes nationally remain on the market for an average of 46 days. It can be a red flag for investors if a home remains on the market much longer than normal

Do Your Own Independent Research

Zillow will help you find a real estate agent. The “agent searching” tool helps you to check for agents in your area and apply philtres to help locate someone skilled as a buyer’s agent, seller’s agent or in items like relocations or foreclosures. You should find out the agents’ ratings, too. But certainly something you should be conscious of? Zillow is potentially strategically positioning agents who purchased into their “Premier Agent” programme in front of you. In some zip codes, agents can pay Zillow to get more exposure and receive more leads than those who use the site for free. Also, double-check when you look at a house because you’re probably seeing a pop-up for a “Premier Agent.” You’ll need to scroll down a bit to the “Listing given by” section to find the actual listing agent. Advertise on in addition to researching other portals.

Engage Your Agent Through Zillow

In addition to hiring an agent to buy or sell your home, you will also find home improvement firms, movers, property managers, home inspectors and photographers (to get high-quality photo listing for your home). You can read client reviews before reaching out to hire a professional.

Research Relevant Building Policies

Sometimes, data about buildings you’re looking to rent or buy is outdated or inaccurate, especially when it comes to policies about whether pets are allowed.Before you get too serious about moving in, you and your agent should take some fact-checking. For example, a Zillow or StreetEasy building (which is a Zillow-owned real estate marketplace in New York City) will claim that pets are permitted, but it does not specify that dogs need to be less than 35 pounds. (Sorry, Retrievers!)

Aside from cats, some other building details might be out of date. For example, a flip tax may have risen in co-ops, or financing rules have become more lenient.

Use The Software

Zillow contains many kinds of financial calculators. For instance, their mortgage calculator layers in loan programmes details, interest rates, home price, and down payments to give you a rough idea of how much your mortgage payment will be. Their affordability calculator helps you figure out how much you can afford to spend realistically on a house. Zillow also has a debt-to-income calculator, a calculator for refinancing, and a calculator for amortisation.

Track Homes Of Interest

If you are renting or buying on the market, Zillow tells us to use the “save” option while browsing listings. It’s an easy way to corral the properties you’re interested in, and if there’s a price drop or a shift in the listing, you’ll be notified. Moreover, it’ll recommend similar homes that you might have missed.