Online real estate site Zillow is launching a new home-price estimate tool today that allows users to create a custom and private estimate for their homes based on recently sold homes and comparable listings.
If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because Zillow has long offered price estimates for virtually every home in the U.S. through its Zestimates feature. Recently, Redfin launched a very similar feature and a number of startups like Surefield are also getting into the home-price estimate business.
The new “Price This Home” feature allows sellers to claim their home on Zillow and update facts about it (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, for example). After this, users can then select from a list of similar homes that are currently for sale or that recently sold.
Given that Zillow already offers estimates for millions of homes, this new feature may seem a bit redundant. But as Zillow also tells me, the Price This Home feature essentially puts sellers into control of its Zestimate algorithm.
It’s also worth noting that most automated tools can only select homes based on the basic data about them, but they can’t take different styles and preferences into account, for example.
Once sellers select their comparables, Zillow will provide them with a private estimate that’s likely a bit more precise that the Zestimate and — of course — try to connect the homeowner with an agent. At its heart, after all, Zillow is still essentially a sophisticated referral service.