Debuting today on the Internet is a new website that aims to take a chunk of power away from the Real Estate Agent monopoly. Zillow is a real estate value estimation machine. Use it to find home values, track the value of your existing home, or see values in the surrounding neighborhood. How much is that childhood home worth now? You can find now out.
I ran a few tests on the software using addresses from my past. What I found was mostly decent information, but one property didn't show a sale from a year ago. They also use a fairly wide value range in their estimates. So the guess work really isn't taken out of the equation. Home sellers and buyers will still be left wondering if they've set the right price. It's just easier to get the available comparision reports now. Where was Zillow a month ago when I was getting ready to make an offer on a property.
Will this website, and ones like it, result in a reduction of business for Realtors? Possibly. It certainly might result in a cut of commission for them. The whole home selling and buying machine needs to be rethought. Someone with the right ideas and the ability to implement them could make a big difference. I don't think Zillow is that site, but it's a step in the right direction.
See this CNN Money story for more info.