Zillow has launched an iPad app and a Web site focused on the home improvement marketplace to provide inspiration, price transparency and lead generation for contractors.
Seattle-based Zillow disrupted the real estate industry seven years ago when it introduced a home valuation service and it quickly because a household name in the real estate information world. The company’s new service, called Zillow Digs, looks to leverage the large number of consumers who are using the Zillow Web site and predisposed to home improvement projects to provide inspiration and connect them with professionals who can perform the work.
"Tens of millions of home buyers shop for homes on Zillow each month, and home improvement is a natural next step for us in consumer empowerment and transparency of information to help people make smarter decisions," said Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff. "I'm also excited to introduce a revolutionary new tool for consumers: Digs Estimates. This first-of-its-kind remodeling cost estimate algorithm was created by Zillow’s industry-leading team of economists and data analysts who produce extensive housing data and research."
The goal of Zillow Digs, beyond providing home shoppers and homeowners visual inspiration and an understanding of the cost of remodeling projects, is to show the estimated cost of thousands of real bathrooms and kitchens. Those costs are based on a proprietary algorithm which includes real-world data from local contractors such as size, materials, finish level, and regional labor and material rates. Armed with such information, Zillow contends home shoppers and homeowners will be able to create more realistic budgets appropriate for their specific market.
In addition, users can browse tens of thousands of photos and see actual costs for where they live of the projects being viewed. The platform also enables the creation and sharing of ideas and provides a way for people to connect with others, comment on projects and follow those with similar interests. Home improvement professionals can create a free Zillow Digs profiles with contact information, photos of past work and a link to their website. Professionals also can market their expertise and their business by creating Boards, commenting on others' photos and answering questions.