Zillow Mobile

Zillow For Sale ListingZillow.com has gone mobile with a site at mobile.zillow.com.  Zillow is a familiar name for house hunters in the US. It’s s a real estate search site that was started by a couple of Microsoft and Expedia alumni and has really taken off,  thanks to its unique interface that makes obscure public records of home sales and assessments highly available and accessible to anyone.

The way Zillow works  is that you enter any US residential address and get back you all sorts of information about the property; square footage, number of bedrooms and baths and a computer generated “Zestimate” of the home’s value.  If the home is currently for sale, Zillow adds details from the sale listing including, photos, description and asking price.  You can also enter a zipcode or pick a city or neighborhood from a list and see a Microsoft Virtual Earth aerial map of the neighborhood with each house’s value printed on the roof!  Homes that are for sale are flagged with a red icon.  Zillow picks up realtor listings and also allows property owners to list their houses for sale.  Another feature for homeowners is the ability to set a “Make Me Move” price without actually putting the house on the market or even revealing their identity.  Make Me Move homes are displayed with a blue icon on the map. Interested parties can contact the  owner through Zillow.

The mobile site provides most of the same information as the full version with a couple of differences.  The mobile edition uses  Google mobile street maps instead of Virtual Earth.  A bigger difference is that you can only view data for a single home by entering it’s address. There is no way to search a neighborhood for homes that are for sale.

Even without “for sale” search, I can see Zillow being a useful tool for house hunters.  If you are out and see a home with a For Sale sign or are just curious about how much that mansion on the hill is worth, just enter the address into Zillow Mobile and get the price and other details.

Unfortuantely, Zillow Mobile is very buggy.  I entered over a dozen valid address into it and more than half the time I got either “We could not find that address. Please try again.” or an error message about a missing include file. The addresses I was using were copied from listings of homes for sale on Zillow’s full web site  so I know they are valid and in the site’s database.  I see Zillow Mobile as having a lot of potential, if it can be made to working reliably, but currently it’s too frustrating to use.

Other than that the inability to find valid addresses, the mobile user interface is pretty good.  There is one feature that drove me nuts, however. There’s some JavaScript that clears the Address fields on entry. Supose I’m looking at a listing and want to check “comps” by finding out how much other homes on the block are worth. Iinstead of letting me just change one or two numbers in the address; Zillow, by clearing the field, forces me to retype the whole address! Fortunately most mobile browsers don’t support JavaScript, but still what were the designers thinking? It’s a lot easier to manually clear a field than to retype something like “Collingsworth St”.  Source: Oh! Mobile Directory

Filed in: Wap Review Directory – Search/Real Estate

Ratings: Content: ***** Usability: XX___

Ready.mobi Score: 2 “Bad”

Mobile Link: mobile.zillow.com