When searching for a new home to buy or rent, you’ll want to cover all bases to make sure you’re aware of all the options available in order to make the most informed decision. Zillow is an enormously popular real estate platform with good reason; it is easy to use and is full of accurate and up-to-date information on property listings.
However, there are some websites you can use in conjunction with Zillow to discover data that Zillow lacks, or there are many impressive alternatives you can use to Zillow if you want to switch things up.
What is Zillow?
Zillow is a real estate platform that lists over 110 million homes across the US. It was founded in 2006 and has since become one of the go-to sites for buyers searching for a new home. Zillow lets users search for available properties and also offers comparable properties so users can work out what is and isn’t a good deal. Using Zillow, you can also find out the estimated value of properties that are not listed for sale, based on past sold prices and current averages in the local area.
Alternatives to Zillow
Trulia was first launched in 2005 as a California-wide real estate platform to connect buyers and renters of property to up-to-date local information. It was the brainchild of Pete Flint and Sami Inkinen, who rolled the website out across the United States less than a year from its initial launch. Trulia and Zillow had many similarities, and as such, Trulia was acquired by Zillow in 2015 for $3.5 billion.
The Trulia website is still a separate entity to Zillow; however, they share all data, so aside from the layout and design, they are essentially the same offering. If you have exhausted all of the data on Zillow, then you won’t find anything on Trulia that you don’t already know, but some people prefer the Trulia interface and so opt to use this real estate website as an alternative to Zillow.
One additional feature you can find on Trulia, which Zillow doesn’t offer at present, is the Celebrity Homes Section in the Trulia Blog, which is a fun way to spend time finding out what the properties of famous people look like and are worth.
This real estate platform is more than simply a listing website as it also offers real estate services so that buyers and sellers do not need to employ a realtor. This radical way of buying and selling properties is revolutionizing the industry as people realize they can save thousands of dollars by taking their business online instead of to a local real estate agent. Home Bay allows property owners to list their own properties, therefore bypassing the need and cost of a listing realtor.
Buyers can also significantly cut buying costs by earning a commission when purchasing a property instead of handing it over to a realtor. Home Bay takes care of much of the services you would receive from a traditional realtor, such as listing the property on most major real estate platforms, providing a ‘for sale’ sign, scheduling showings, completing paperwork, and negotiating terms and prices.
What you will miss out on by not having a traditional realtor is somebody to accompany you on viewings when purchasing a property or somebody to carry out open house showings when selling a property. Some people are happy to give this up to save thousands of dollars, while others will prefer the norm of what they are used to and will pay more for the service.
Redfin is a real estate listings platform as well as a realtor brokerage. It updates directly from MLS (multiple-listing service) and claims that listings are on the website within 15 minutes of going live, so you can be sure that the info you find is always up to date. If you’re a fan of Zillow, you’ll probably get on well with Redfin because the user interface and how everything works on the site are very similar. You can search for properties using a map or enter a zipcode or city to find a potential home. Like Zillow, you can also find information specific to the property, such as the age, square footage, and other data, as well as estimated values.
Redfin is also great for allowing you to see side-by-side comparisons of properties you have shortlisted. Redfin employs realtors who are known for their excellent customer service because their commission is directly linked to their Redfin rating given by users. One reason why buyers might be drawn to Redfin as an alternative to Zillow is that they incentivize customers by offering a percentage of the commission back to the buyer on completion of a property purchase.
There are some disadvantages to using Redfin. For example, they do not always list the precise address of a property which is for sale, so if you were hoping to drive by the house to scope it out before booking a viewing, you might struggle to locate the exact location.
Redfin has also been in hot water over claims of racial discrimination, which has resulted in a fair bit of bad press. In 2020 a number of fair housing organizations filed a suit against the property platform on the basis of systemic racial discrimination. It was claimed, following a two-year investigation, that Redfin offered fewer services to those living in minority communities because of a ‘minimum home price policy.’ The suit is still ongoing.
This real estate platform is easy to use, much like Zillow. It allows users to search for properties, view them on a map or in a list, and find out detailed information about the house and the area. One standout feature of Homesnap which separates it from other real estate platforms is its mobile app.
The app has a great feature that allows you to take a photo of a property that is for sale, and the app will then bring up all of the information about that property, including the price, internal photos, square footage, etc. This is where the name ‘Homesnap’ comes from, as you literally take snaps of the home to find out everything about them. This is a great feature if you are out in the neighborhood and spot a ‘for sale’ sign on a property and want to know more about it. It saves the hassle of having to remember the address of the property and having to go online later to search for it. With this app, you can even search homes that are not for sale, and the app will provide information such as the date it was last sold and what the buyers paid for it.
This website is often the first place a buyer will look to find out about available properties because it is very well known for having a plethora of information and data. It is linked to MLS and therefore has all of the most recently listed homes featured on the website. There are many advantages to using Realtor.com, including the fact that it connects buyers with lenders to begin the pre-approval process in order to know what sort of budget you have to work with.
The website is available in ten different languages, which is an amazing feature for people who have moved to the USA from abroad and want to be able to take control of their own home search. Realtor.com regularly posts blogs about news in the real estate market and has links to agents in the local area, which can help answer any questions you have about specific properties or local amenities.
Many users find that the drawback of using Realtor.com is in how user-friendly it is. It does not have a smooth user interface which can make it difficult to use, especially for anyone who is not experienced in using these types of websites. The information it provides is not set out in a clear, easy-to-understand manner, which also puts people off from using the site again in the future. The search function is also not as advanced as other real estate platforms, which can make it frustrating if you are looking for particular features in a home.
This website offers local information and statistics about every town and city across the United States. To use this site, you simply need to enter an address or zip code, and you will be presented with reports such as local crime data, local school performance, and average property prices. This is a great tool for investors because they can see the type of price they can see the type of return they can expect to get when selling a property or renting one out. Information about schools, crimes, and traffic data will also be important for families to investigate before making a decision on whether to move to a new area, so this is a great website to use in conjunction with other real estate platforms.
The advantage of using this, as well as other platforms, is that it lists information that is not accessible on the likes of Zillow and Trulia. There are some drawbacks of NeighborhoodScout, and for many people, that is the cost, as membership plans to access all of the data on the website start at around $40 a month. Another issue with this website is that some of the reports are not dated, so it might be questionable as to how accurate or up-to-date the information you are getting is.
This is a website that helps you to learn what other properties in a local area have sold for and what other properties might be worth. This information is useful when you are buying a home. For example, you could look at the sold prices of neighboring properties to see if you are getting a good deal. You could also look at what the website estimates your own home’s value to be so that you can think about whether you want to sell it or not. This is also a hotspot for curious people who want to know how much their friends or neighbors paid for their new properties!
The drawback of this website is that it is not linked to MLS and so cannot be used to search for a new home; however, it is a good tool to use in conjunction with other property search platforms. Eppraisal provides estimated home values based on what other local properties have sold for and is not able to offer a precise or custom valuation. This can mean that the value you are given for your home can be way off the mark. For example, if you have renovated a property or added an extension, the website will not take that into account when devising the estimated value.
Real Estate ABC
This real estate platform is designed to offer the home buyer or seller all the information they could possibly need to buy or sell a property. It is linked to MLS and therefore offers up-to-date listings of all the properties available and can be searched by location. It also features numerous articles and blogs on issues affecting homeowners when buying or selling and guides to help with the process. It also provides access to a number of mortgage calculators so users can find out what their budget should be, what sort of monthly payments they can afford, and how interest rates affect the payments.
The website offers a huge database of information, and so it is a great place to look for answers to specific real estate questions. However, for many people, the overload of information might be overwhelming, and the plethora of options and buttons of the website make it slightly tricky to navigate. The website doesn’t have a very user-friendly interface, and the mass of adverts on screen further adds to this issue.