We’re all guilty of it—scrolling endlessly through Zillow in search of that perfect house. Maybe you’ve used it to lurk on a property in your neighborhood that has long caught your eye. Maybe you’ve daydreamed about moving to another town or state while looking at their amazing home offerings. Perhaps you’ve gotten curious and looked up the value of your own home.

You’ve been on Zillow, but do you really know how to use Zillow?

You've likely pursued the site while daydreaming—but when it comes to buying a home, do you really know how to use Zillow? #househunting #zillow #atomicranch #midcentury #palmsprings
Courtesy of Zillow

According to the National Association of Realtors, about 51 percent of buyers found the homes they eventually purchased online. Now that takes the endless scroll to a whole new level. So how do you use this daydream-worthy site well? Apartment Therapy rounded up six helpful tips.


1. A “Zestimate” isn’t a Real Estimate

From Apartment Therapy:

A spokesperson for Zillow told us that you should account for a 4.5 percent median error rate. To arrive at the Zestimate, the computer algorithm that Zillow uses pulls in lots of data, including public records from county tax assessors and sales record information of similar homes. It even considers things like topographical data to decide whether you’ve got a great view and street noise data to determine if you live in a noisy neighborhood.

Talk to your actual real estate agent about your home’s value and be prepared to see different estimates on the homes you’re looking to purchase.

2. Find Your Real Estate Agent

Speaking of real estate agents, Zillow can help you find on in your area. The “agent finder” tool offers basic filters as well as reviews. Is this the perfect tool? Maybe not. Agents can pay to be part of Zillow’s “Premier Agent” program, and while advertising certainly isn’t a bad thing, the right fit for you might not pop up at the top of the list if they aren’t in the program.

As well, finding an agent that specializes in mid century homes will help a modernist’s search go far smoother. Ask neighbors, friends, and even your local preservation group for recommendations of agents knowledgable in your area’s mid century offerings.


3. You Can Follow homes You Love

From Apartment Therapy:

If you’re in the market to rent or buy, Zillow tells us to make use of the “save” feature when you’re browsing listings. It’s a convenient way to corral the properties you’re interested in, and you’ll be notified if there’s a price drop or a change in the listing. Plus, it will recommend similar homes you may have missed.


Want to read the other three tips? Head over to Apartment Therapy! For even more mid century style in your day, follow Atomic Ranch on Instagram!