Now, Zillow is looking to make it a bit easier to find properties that have entered foreclosure or are about to. Today, it took the covers off a new real estate search offering, allowing any user of Zillow’s site or iOS apps to track down 1.2 million pre-foreclosure and foreclosed properties across the country. (Correction: This post has been updated with the correct number of listings).
Typically, the homes are not listed for sale, and therefore can’t be found through Multiple Listing Services. Zillow notes that foreclosures “have made up a large, yet invisible, part of the housing inventory” over the years.
“Zillow is taking information that was really only available to a select group – in this case, savvy investors – and making it more easily available to interested home buyers,” said Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff in a press release. “What’s more, bringing this information to light, and taking this inventory out of the shadows, can help bring these homes to market faster than ever before.”
A Zillow spokeswoman said they are pulling the information on foreclosures from public records.
Findwell CEO Kevin Lisota, a real estate agent in Seattle, said the move into foreclosures is a big deal for Zillow.
“This is data that has up until this point been locked behind a paid subscription,” said Lisota, noting that Zillow’s move could take a bite out of companies such as RealtyTrac. Lisota added that it is a “Rich Barton moment,” referring to the Zillow co-founder’s mantra of making data free and accessible to the masses.
“They may put a few companies out of business with this move,” said Lisota.