Zillow is an online real estate database company dedicated to “empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home…” Zillow’s interests essentially lie in helping you, whether you’re a home-seller or buyer, or even just looking for a place to rent.
Their mission is to “Build the largest, most trusted and vibrant home-related marketplace in the world.” and you can bet they’re doing a pretty good job at fulfilling that mission.
The company was founded in 2006 by Richard Barton and Lloyd Frink, former executives at Microsoft and Expedia. Since then, they’ve expanded Zillow into a powerhouse in the real estate world, having made multiple acquisitions since 2011.
Zillow’s services span over buying, selling, renting, remodelling and financing a home. They’ve set up various resources, such as Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, Zillow Mobile and Zillow Advice, all geared toward creating a consumer-friendly experience for homeowners.
Their website is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. Whatever it is you need (sell, buy or rent) Zillow’s got your back.
Zillow as a Real Estate Platform
Zillow really started to make waves in the housing industry in 2017 through the Zillow Instant Offers program. This allows home sellers to receive offers on their properties directly from investors. All you have to do is provide any information the investor may need in order to make an offer on your home. The program got rid of all the hassle of having to prepare a home for listing and the stress of not knowing exactly how much it would sell for.
The company has data on over 110 million homes all across the country and not just the ones on sale. Their program is able to estimate the value of these homes and the changes in that value through time (One year, five years, ten, etc.) Additionally, it has access to public data about the house, which includes information like square footage. You can even get a current estimate of your property if you’ve made any changes or renovations that haven’t been factored in.
These are just a few of the features and programs users get to enjoy for free on their website.
Zillow as an Investor
All the way back in 2008, the company launched the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, a service allowing borrowers to get custom loan quotes without having to reveal potentially identifying personal information. This service connected borrowers to lenders through the company’s platform in such a way that people seeking out loans could simply search for a mortgage with it.
In 2018, it completed its acquisition of the Mortgage Lenders of America, diving headfirst into the mortgage market as a lender. In early 2019, Zillow relaunched Mortgage Lenders of America as their very own Zillow Home Loans, transcending beyond facilitating a sale between a seller and investor to becoming an investor itself. Now, sellers can sell their houses directly to Zillow, essentially turning the company into an iBuyer.