Zillow, the juggernaut real estate network that also owns Trulia, Street Easy, Hot Pads and Naked Apartments, recently announced the launch of its newest website, RealEstate.com. RealEstate.com is specifically targeted toward first time home buyers, many of whom are millennials. (Zillow acquired the URL RealEstate.com as part of its Trulia acquisition in 2015.) RealEstate.com is unique in that it enables first time buyers to search for homes by using a monthly payment index that includes all costs of homeownership and a down payment that they can afford.
RealEstate.com grew “…out of the mistake we made,” said Jeremy Wacksman, CMO of Zillow Group on NPR’s business blog, Market Place. “We had thought that millennials were not interested in buying houses, that they were only interested in renting apartments. We were wrong. Millennials are now the largest segment of homebuyers nationwide.” Data indicates that 42% of homebuyers are first time homebuyers and 56% of those homebuyers are Millennials. Millennials are not only the biggest demographic among homebuyers today, they are also a more diverse demographic than older generations.
The 2016 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report points out two glaring concerns…1.) First time home buyers are nearly twice as likely to exceed their budget limitations as repeat buyers and 2.) Finding a home within their budget is the top priority of first time home buyers. Finding a home in a safe neighborhood comes second.
RealEstate.com has created an “All-In Monthly Price” calculator for every home. This calculator includes and breaks down every estimated expense involved with owning a home. These expenses include principal and interest, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, homeowner’s association fees, utilities, and closing costs. “…we know that affordability is a huge driver for homebuyers…by tailoring the home search experience on RealEstate.com around a home’s monthly cost, we hope to make the home buying experience less daunting and more transparent for first time home buyers,” said Zillow’s Wacksman.
Zillow also knows that Millennials crave tech research to help them in their home search. 70% of millennials couple their online home search with a real estate agent in their buying and selling process, 29% are likely to find their agent online and 61% evaluate agents by using online reviews. So not only is RealEstate.com a vehicle for first time and millennial buyers to search homes based upon monthly costs, agents can use RealEstate.com as a vehicle to connect with first time and millennial buyers directly by maximizing the listing details.
Zillow’s RealEstate.com is the how and who of first time homebuyer home search…it is currently available on desktop and mobile web and the site is available in English, Chinese and Spanish.