Zillow is moving quickly to become more than a home search portal — and it’s now developing products for agents that veer from its original conception as an advertising company.
Part of that move is its capitalization on the idea of “Zillow Surfing,” the consumer habit of using the site’s extensive listing content as a time-suck, a way to scroll endlessly through what else is out there.
To make that experience even more engrossing, especially for those who actually want to buy a home, Zillow has rolled out its interactive, automatically generated floorplan service nationwide. They’re calling the initiative, Zillow Surfing 2.0
“Zillow surfing has always been about imagining all the possibilities a move could bring, and Zillow surfing 2.0 is bringing those possibilities to life in a much more interactive, realistic way,” Josh Weisberg, vice president of Zillow’s Rich Media Experience team, said in a statement. “Now, shoppers can act more quickly and confidently, whether they’re searching in their own neighborhood or hundreds or thousands of miles away.”
Zillow uses machine learning to not only generate floor plans, but also imports each listing photo and places it on the floor plan. The floor plans rely on the user leveraging the company’s app, Zillow 3D Home.
After scanning a home for its visual, virtual tour, the app can be set to also generate a floor plan that’s linked directly to where a person “is” when scrolling around a listing. The app’s algorithms determine dimensions of each room scanned, its location according to others scanned, as well as its square footage.
There is no additional cost to create or publish a floor plan.
“An hour of teleporting through interactive floor plans on Zillow can replace an afternoon, or longer, of scheduling tours and driving around town to see homes in person,” the company said.
There is no denying the rapid rise of digital tour content. As its accuracy and ease of generation has grown, so has the expectation of consumers to see such content when shopping online for homes. It’s not a stretch to connect such trends to the fact that TikTok and YouTube are leading search engines. People want to learn from interactive, dynamic content, and the more of it listing agents can provide the more apt they are to win a showing.
Few companies have the ability to scale this kind of content, and Zillow is one of them.
Zillow’s research determines that more than half (56 percent) of buyers feel they wasted time looking at homes that a floor plan would have helped them avoid. Almost 74 percent agree that a dynamic floor plan helps them determine if a home is right for them.
Floor plans are automatically uploaded listing pages on Zillow and Redfin, according to the company. They can be imported to MLS pages, brokerage websites and published to social media accounts.
Floor plans tools are growing increasingly popular as software add-ons for brokerages and their marketing teams. They can be leveraged for interior design work, renovation planning, staging and even requested by appraisers and inspectors.
Zillow started the floor plan roll out in June, making the tool available in limited markets. It’s now available to all users of its 3D Home app around the country.