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Zillow Real Estate Application Not Ready for Prime Time

Thursday, April 30, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Zillow, a real estate website famous for creating media fanfare and buzz, just made a big announcement about its real estate application for iPhone user’s.   From what we hear on the street, home shoppers shouldn’t buy into the hype.  User’s in even tech laden San Francisco report that the application is buggy, frustrating, and is so slow, it would test the patience of Job, (or should we say Jobs) himself.

What we’ve Heard on the Street about Using the Zillow App for Real Estate.

  • Hours of tinkering with your smart phone are required to get the application to work at all.
  • Even in area’s with full cell phone reception, 3G networks are unreliable.  After data is finally loaded, users find themselves staring at blank screens, forcing them to start all over.
  • Loading a basic map takes over a minute.  So, user’s must have a lot of time to waste while househunting.
  • No matter what area the user was in, the prices for homes appeared and disappeared at random.  Sometimes they would reappear after a while, sometimes they never did.
  • A lot of the Property information is outdated or does not display at all.
  • Zillow estimates of home value, which they call “zestimates” are unreliable, outdated and data is unavailable for a lot of regions in the country, making this feature nearly worthless for determining sales data.
  • There is no feature that allows “bookmarking” of the homes you look up or see.  So, tech users will have to write down addresses on a piece of paper or pull an information sheet from an InfoTube or InfoBox, anyway.
  • Only properties listed on the MLS by real estate agents appear in searches of Zillow home listings.   iPhone user’s won’t see thousands of great properties that are listed for sale by owner, builder or investor, or lender.

While the new Zillow iPhone app maybe a great concept, it is far from being a killer software application for real estate.   Unreliable and missing data, coupled with the lack of 3G reception, make using an iPhone to access real estate data a frustrating, hair pulling experience, even for the most diehard tech fan.  

Our Conclusion:  If you are seriously in the real estate market, forget about using an iPhone or any phone to learn about homes for sale.   For true, instant wireless communication, jump out of the car and pull an information sheet from an InfoTube or InfoBox.   If you are serious about real estate, sometimes, Low Tech is the Best Tech.