It's been a popular year for answers sites as well as adding answers to existing sites and now real estate search engine Zillow is getting in on the action. Their new feature, Zillow Advice, provides a much needed answers niche for an industry going through much upheaval.
"In today's changing and unprecedented housing market, homeowners, buyers and sellers are hungry for advice and information," said Rich Barton, CEO and co-founder of Zillow.com. "This is apparent in the traffic and activity we are seeing on Zillow, with unique visitors up 44 percent over this time last year - it's clear more people than ever are searching for answers. Zillow Advice is a place where people can ask questions, find information on a very specific and local level, and connect with the real estate professionals in their area who can help. This, in addition to Zillow's updated home value and for-sale data on 80 million U.S. homes, creates an invaluable resource for consumers trying to navigate today's market."
Here's what to expect:
- Localization - Users can tag questions by locality, at the state, city, or neighborhood level. Professionals and other Zillow users can then answer with information pertaining to that specific location. For example, if a user had a question about pricing their home in a specific Seattle neighborhood, a local Seattle real estate agent, or a recent seller from that neighborhood could answer with relevant information or advice.
- "Local Expert" Badge - Users who ask questions can notate the "best answer" to their questions. Those whose answers are frequently voted "best answers" earn points towards a "Local Expert" Badge - a way for the Zillow community to know which experts are active and frequently commended for their helpful contributions.
- Subscription - Professionals can subscribe to specific locations or topics in their area of expertise. When a question is tagged with a city, neighborhood or topic they have subscribed to, they are notified immediately via an email or RSS feed and can quickly respond with relevant information. This feature helps consumers connect quickly and easily with the local experts who can best answer their question.
- Key Word Search - Users typing in a specific word or phrase, like "refinancing" are directed to all the questions that have been asked, or discussions taking place on Zillow Advice around that word or phrase.
- Profile Pages - All Zillow community contributions link to a user's free Zillow Profile Page, where real estate professionals can choose to include contact information, photos and a narrative about their areas of service. Profile pages show all of an individual's contributions to Zillow.com - from active listings, to questions answered or discussion participation.