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Zillow: What to Know

Want the definition for home equity? What about the day of Mickey Mouse's birthday? Don't remember how to convert Tablespoons to Cups?

Google it! The answer to (almost) any question can be found online. And, for good reason. With a wealth of information spanning millions of sites, the internet is a great place to look for details on pretty much every topic. Which, to no surprise, is why many home buyers begin searching for potential homes on the web.

Many sites exist to help buyers with their home searches, including Zillow,, and Real Estate agent's personal sites. And, like anything else, there is a great deal of information to digest no matter where you start.

As a former English teacher, I have a great deal of experience training individuals how to find credible information online, which isn't always easy. Almost anyone can post anything they please on the web- no fact checking necessary.

One would be naive to assume that one article or post is accurate or even provides the best or most up-to-date information. Take Wikipedia, for example. Because anyone can post on this site, content must be taken at face-value. Many authors for sites such as this do, indeed, list their sources below. Wikipedia, actually, can be a great source of information for two reasons.

First, it is a great place to start. Second, those references listed at the bottom? Use those!

A great tip for finding credible information online is to triangulate your sources.

That's right, find at least three places on the web with the same information. Much like the news... If one network publicizes it, this doesn't necessarily make it so. If three or more report the same information, I'd be a lot more likely to believe it.

So, what does this have to do with Zillow?

Well, believe it or not, sites such as these do not always have accurate or up-to-date information. Not all homes you find on the searches are necessarily available. We have seen homes 'for sale' that were actually sold a year ago- sometimes more!

Myth: REALTORS® everywhere hate Zillow. This could not be further from the truth. We would be fools not to support convenience for our clients and search tools that can help narrow in on what it is they are actually looking for in a home.

The bottom line? Zillow,, and

many others- You're going to start there, and why wouldn't you?! Our suggestion? Call a reputable REALTOR® in your local area and then explore homes online. Not only can we evaluate the accuracy of the information you find online but we can then work together to take the next steps in the home buying process.

You should never feel like you're searching for homes on your own. Online is a great place to start much like Wikipedia when you're searching for basic information. Zillow is just the beginning.

Check out Heather's video to learn even more about Zillow's pros and cons.

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