Technology

Sarah Maurer: ‘Zillow asks employees to move fast and think big’

School information, Wii Fit and more from a portal hacker

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Sarah Maurer is the program manager at Zillow.

Thanks to my dad, I’ve always been interested in real estate. He was constantly talking about it while I was growing up, teaching me the concept of home values and what homeownership meant as an investment. At the time I had no real grasp on a sum like $500,000. But I did understand the concept of an investment and how cool it would be if I could buy something for $5 and then sell it for $10. I grew up hearing all about how the process of buying, improving, selling or renting a house worked. This fascination has persisted into my adulthood, and it inspires my work at Zillow.

These days, I use Zillow to monitor real estate in my favorite neighborhoods and send my boyfriend way too many emails with current listings. Going to open houses has become a favorite activity on weekends. My goal is to be very well-informed about where I want to live and how much it will cost to remodel an old house into my dream home!

I love my job because it combines my inherent interest in real estate with my love of technology. Every day is different and full of new challenges. I get to collaborate with smart, passionate people to create consumer-centric products that offer tons of insight into buying and renting homes and connect those consumers to the best agents or real estate professional essential to securing their next home.

Zillow asks its employees to move fast and think big in our product development. One of my favorite projects thinking big at Zillow was adding school information to the core shopping experience. Rather than simply add school markers on the map, our team implemented a way for buyers to filter home results by assigned school zones and by school rating and then to get updates about new homes matching those criteria. We know how important schools are when buying a home, and I believe that additional data points and features like this really empower consumers to make better decisions.

I’m now focused on Zillow’s mobile apps and bringing the best home shopping experience to consumers on the go. Our traffic is shifting toward mobile, especially on the weekends, and nearly two-thirds of properties viewed on Zillow are seen on a mobile device. I’m very excited to continue transforming the way people find their next home.

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Sarah Maurer's workspace.

Sarah Maurer’s workspace

Time at Zillow?

Two-and-a-half years.

Describe what you do in one sentence.

I help define and build the Zillow real estate and rentals apps for iOS and Android.

Age?

25

Degree, school?

B.S. in computer science, Chapman University

Location?

Seattle, Washington (Queen Anne neighborhood)

Social media?

LinkedIn, Twitter

Name your favorite Twitter account.

I don’t spend very much time on Twitter, but my current favorite person on Instagram is @astro_terry.

What is your favorite food?

Chocolate! And cheese.

What is your favorite video game?

I’m not a big video game fan, but I do love Wii Fit! Especially the balance games.

What is your favorite city?

Seattle! I can water ski and snow ski within an hour of my house.

Who’s your favorite band or singer?

Currently it’s a tossup between alt-J and Imagine Dragons.

What do you hate about technology?

The immediacy we expect from it. The constant impatience for information.

What is one thing you would like to fix about the real estate industry?

Eliminating politics and territoriality. Everyone deserves to make the most informed decision about where to live.

Do you think technology can change the industry?

Absolutely! In my opinion, it already has and will continue to do so.

In or out of real estate, is there one problem, large or small, that you would like to solve?

Empowering women to achieve their career goals and be successful, especially in the tech professions where we are dramatically outnumbered.

What motivates you?

People! They fascinate me. I love solving problems with groups of smart and passionate people.

Are you a real estate hacker interested in participating in Inman’s profile series? Email amber@inman.com.