This morning Zillow launched a range of enhanced features lead by what it calls “Home Q&A,” which allows homeowners, agents and would-be homebuyers to ask open-ended questions about particular properties or their surrounding neighborhoods and characteristics. Below is a sample Q&A form (click image to enlarge), which is tied to a particular address:
Zillow has also created the ability for homeowners, buyers and agents to create profile pages. Here’s Zillow CEO Rich Barton’s profile page. In addition, one can now add unlimited property photos to Zillow address listings.
Here’s a sample home listing in my old neighborhood in San Francisco. In the upper left Zillow has also enabled anyone to identify whether the home is for sale and, if so, for how much. This is one of several novel, non-MLS ways that Zillow is getting for-sale listings into its database.
Today Zillow is also launching “EZ Ads,” a simple, CPM-based ad creation tool that allows agents to target buyers or prospective sellers by zip code. The company also sees the Home Q&A tool as a marketing vehicle for agents, who will be motivated to answer questions about a home (especially if they’re the listing agent) or area to establish their expertise or credibility with potential buyers.
Zillow made an interesting choice in deciding to tie all the Q&A traffic to particular addresses, rather than simply create a new centralized area of the site that offers the functionality and content. But it makes sense given that this feature is intended to expand content and information around individual properties and it also prevents the appearance of a huge content hole at the outset before the community gets fully engaged.
Zillow began with hard-to-assemble data on home valuations for theoretically every home in the US. Building off of that (and massive VC funding) the company added enhanced mapping and some novel other features (e.g., “Make Me Move“) and is now turning itself gradually into a community for buyers and sellers of homes and their agents. In roughly a year it has just over four million uniques and has successfully built one of the few consumer brands in online real estate.
Here’s the Zillow blog with more detail on the new features.