Zillow Group Unveils New Tools For Safer Home Shopping (Z, ZG)

By Amit Chowdhry ● July 28, 2020
  • Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ: ZG, NASDAQ: Z) accelerated the development, rollout, and adoption of real estate technology, which makes it easier and safer to shop for a home

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ: ZG, NASDAQ:Z) accelerated the development, rollout, and adoption of real estate technology, which makes it easier and safer to shop for a home. The digital tools have been advancing the future of home shopping and they are driven by buyers who want easier ways to move.

This summer, Zillow is bringing its innovative self-tour feature to all Zillow-owned homes. And it allows shoppers and agents to use the Zillow app to unlock and tour an unoccupied for-sale home on their timeline thus minimizing person-to-person contact. While piloting the feature in Phoenix, self-tour homes sold 6 days faster than homes without the feature.

And  Zillow accelerated the rollout of self-tour technology to help shoppers and agents follow social-distancing recommendations and feel safe while touring a home in person. According to a Zillow survey, a majority of U.S. adults (55%) say they’re less comfortable touring an occupied home during the current coronavirus outbreak.

So Zillow is augmenting its popular 3D Home virtual tours with floor plans that include room dimensions to help shoppers better understand the layout of a home and quickly visualize how their furniture would fit in the space. And in the coming months, Zillow-owned homes for sale in all 24 Zillow Offers markets will feature a custom digital floor plan. In the future, the automated floor plan generator could be a feature on all homes for sale with a 3D Home virtual tour on the Zillow platform.

Another Zillow survey found nearly 80% of buyers (79%) say they’re more likely to view a home if the listing includes a floor plan they like. And more than 70% of buyers (71%) say a dynamic floor plan would help them determine whether the home was right for them.

Zillow Premier Agent Cynthia Wallace explained a floor plan attached to her for-sale listing in Eatonton, Georgia gave a Tennessee-based buyer the confidence to make a full price offer on the home sight-unseen.

“The floor plan enhances everything,” said Wallace, an agent who works with the Algin Group. “It allowed the buyer to visualize how the home was set-up. With the floor plan combined with a Zillow 3D Home virtual tour and an enhanced video tour, it’s like you’re almost there in person.”

The Zillow 3D Home virtual tours have provided home shoppers with a safer and more convenient way to experience a home. And the creation of Zillow’s free 3D Home virtual tours surged, climbing over 750% in the month after many stay-home orders went into effect.  Even as some states start opening up, agents and sellers are creating three times as many Zillow 3D Home tours as they were in early March.

“Zillow has been developing cutting edge tools that make it radically easier for people to move, and up until now, those tools were being adopted at a slow and steady rate.  Now they have become essential for buyers, sellers and agents looking to move forward and stay safe,” explained Zillow President Jeremy Wacksman. “We expect these tools will quickly become the new standard, and we’re already envisioning other ways we can help to enhance the online home shopping experience. ”

Zillow expects the future of home shopping will include virtual tours in many more listings, virtual staging, custom options, and safety standards.

Virtual Tours

In April, listings with Zillow 3D Home tours attracted 66% more visitors and drove 90% more saves by users than listings without a 3D Home tour. And a Zillow survey finds 3 out of 4 U.S. adults want the option to tour a home remotely through virtual or video technology if they were home shopping right now. In a survey of select Zillow Premier Agents, 86% said they started or continued to use virtual or video home tours during the coronavirus outbreak. And 72% said they are likely to continue providing those tours after the current outbreak has ended. 

Virtual Staging

With virtual staging, Zillow has been building features to help shoppers better envision lives in a home and they will simplify the process of getting there. And virtual staging will let shoppers see how furniture looks inside a home, starting in select markets.

Custom Options

Zillow is imagining a future in which buyers have more options to personalize their home shopping experience to match their lives. And for instance, buyers of Zillow-owned homes can choose cosmetic changes so the walls are the perfect color when they move in.

Industry-Leading Safety Standards

At every stage, safety is a top consideration for everyone involved in the process. And Zillow has adapted to the expectations and concerns about safely shopping for a home with its new Move Forward. Stay Safe. initiative — which includes new protocols guided by the principles of: Clean. Protect. Distance.

“COVID-19 has required us all to adapt our activities of daily living to stay healthy and that includes changing the way we shop for a home. People are looking for a way to tour their next home safely, whether virtually or in-person, and that means using new technology,” added Zillow Health Advisor and former U. S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin. “Zillow’s digital tools support a broader health and safety initiative, which is designed to give home shoppers a level of confidence that will move real estate forward into the future, right now.”