Zillow launches home remodeling service

Seattle’s residential real estate websiteZillow on Tuesday rolled out a new home improvements service for homeowners.
Zillow Digs includes a database of photos of kitchens, bathrooms and other rooms that homeowners can view for inspiration, along with estimated costs to do a similar remodel in their area of the country. The company uses a proprietary algorithm to estimate the costs of various remodeling projects based on information provided by local contractors on labor and material rates.
The new service gives the Seattle company access to a lucrative market that accounted for approximately $300 billion in consumer spending last year, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. Zillow’s menu of residential services now runs the gamut from renting an apartment to buying or selling a home to financing a mortgage to remodeling a house.
With three in four new homeowners remodeling their homes within a year of purchase, it made sense to add home improvement services to Zillow’s website, said CEO Spencer Rascoff. The new service enables the company to leverage the millions of home buyers already shopping for houses on its website.
Zillow’s website provides pictures, descriptions and information about approximately 100 million homes across the United States. The descriptions include a listing price if the home is for sale or an estimated value, along with an estimated monthly mortgage payment and monthly rent payment. The website recently added information on rental properties.
The wealth of free information the website provides attracts 46 million unique visitors every month. Zillow’s revenue comes from the set of paid services that it provides to professionals, such as landlords, real estate agents and mortgage brokers, wanting to connect with these potential customers. Zillow Digs expands that market to include interior designers, architects, contractors and other professional providing home improvement services.
Zillow Digs enables users to create boards of photos of their favorite remodeling ideas to share with their friends and local contractors. They can also browse other users’ boards for inspiration. Additionally, Zillow Digs provides an online marketplace for homeowners to connect with home improvement professionals through free professional profiles that local architects, interior designers and contractors are able to create that include their contact information, photos of their past work and links to their company websites. Customers will be able to rate their services and write reviews.

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