Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Zillow is my new favorite website. Based on public records, it lets you look up the estimated value of almost every house in the United States. In most cases, it will tell you when the house was built, how many square feet it is, how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has, and so on. In many cases, it has the sales history of the house as well. Its ostensible purpose is to help people buy and sell real estate, but what it's really good for is looking up your friends' houses.

There's something deliciously voyeuristic about it all. Today, for example, I learned that the house I visited for a church committee meeting has three bedrooms, one and a half baths, and an area of 2,031 square feet. It's worth about $286,490.

My daughter M went to her friend's house on Monday. Their house was built in 1971. It has three bedrooms, two baths, and 2,067 square feet of area. It's worth about $300,272. Their property tax bill for 2005 is $3,148. The house where my daughter T and my son often visit their friends is worth about $331,885. They bought it for $321,000. The people they bought it from paid $288,400 for it in 2002.

It's also fun to look up your own house. The place my family rented when I was four years old is now worth $1,116,189! On the other hand, the first house my parents bought, for around $18,000 in 1967, is now worth $552,191, while the one we moved to from there is worth $656,693. The house my Mom owns now is "only" worth around $347,065, even though it's a little bigger than the other two. She's out of the big city now.

My house? It's worth about $126,200. I like to keep things simple.


  1. Wow, I think I'd reveal my bra size before my home value.

  2. Anybody that looks at you can guess your bra size. And anybody that knows your address can look up your home value.

  3. I don't mind them guessing, if they are into that. I don't even mind them knowing.

    I guess it's not something I'd up and say, though. It seems a little too ... open?

    I guess I'm totally anal.

    I'm impressed that you'd post it, is all.

  4. My home didn't have its value. It still shows as empty land.


What do you think?