Zillow vs. Trulia: An Overview
If you’ve ever tried to rent, buy, or sell a home, or even just checked to see how much your home is worth, you’ve probably used Zillow (Z) or Trulia. Both sites are real estate databases that provide for-sale and rental listings to the general public and connect people with real estate agents, and they share some key characteristics. They are now also part of the same company: The Zillow Group acquired Trulia for $3.5 billion in February 2015.
Both sites present listings using photos, a detailed description, prices, and information about neighborhoods. Property information presented on each site is generally similar because they both draw on MLS listings. Visitors can use a specific set of criteria to search for homes on each site including price, the number of bedrooms, type of structure, square footage, and lot size.
While the two are fairly similar, there are several key differences that set the two sites apart. Zillow offers what it calls Zestimates, which are estimates of home values based on publicly available information.
Graphically, each site presents listings in a different way, which provides the user with a different experience. For example, when you search for listings in a city on Zillow, the search results are on the right side with a map of the area on the left. The experience is flipped on Trulia, where the search results are on the left with the map on the right.
We'll look a little more at this, and at the two sites in detail, below.
- Zillow and Trulia are real estate databases that offer for-sale and rental listings and connect people with listing agents.
- Zillow provides users with a highly graphic experience when searching for properties, while Trulia has a simpler website design.
- Zillow offers Zestimates—estimated market value for an individual property—and lists properties in both the U.S. and Canada.
- Trulia gives users a visual breakdown of the monthly costs for a property as well as crime map data.
- Both Zillow and Trulia share the same corporate owner after Zillow acquired Trulia in 2015.
Zillow was founded in 2006. Based in Seattle, the company was formed by two former Microsoft executives, Rich Barton, and Lloyd Frink. According to its website, Zillow is "the leading real estate and rental marketplace" for consumers, connecting them to the information and real estate professionals they need to buy, sell, or rent a home. More than 135 million properties are listed on the site as of the first quarter of 2022, including those that are not currently on the market.
Zillow is free to use for both owners, listing agents, and landlords. The majority of its revenue comes from selling advertising space on its suite of sites—Zillow, Trulia, and Hotpads, among others—to property management companies, mortgage lenders, and other businesses.
Compared to Trulia, Zillow's user experience is much more graphical. On the left side, you'll see a map of all available properties in your search area that fit the criteria selected. Scrolling over each pulls up a small thumbnail with the price, along with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Individual properties are located on the right-hand side of the screen, starting with the latest listings on the market.
Property information is easily accessible in different compartments:
- Along the left-hand side, you can scroll through photos of the property, and click to enlarge any you find interesting.
- Key information is pooled at the top right-hand corner of the result including price, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and location.
- Just underneath the key data, you'll find an overview of the property. This section includes the number of days on the site, how many views the property has had, and how many times other users have saved it. There is also a detailed description of the property provided by the realtor, features of the home, other homes in the community, and community information.
- A "Contact" button allows you to connect instantly to the realtor or person responsible for the listing by sending a message.
Another feature Zillow offers is its Zestimates. This is the site's estimated market value for an individual property. The website emphasizes that Zestimates are only a starting point to determine the value of a home and shouldn't be taken as an official appraisal.
The Zestimate is calculated on a daily basis using a series of data gathered from public sources and from users. The site also provides a Zestimate forecast, which predicts what the price of the home will be after one year. This figure is based on current home and market information.
You can also stay updated on trends and research in the real estate and housing market through Zillow's research tab. This section is divided into different sections for the latest news, data, markets, buying and selling, renting, and policies involving the market.
The median error rate for Zestimates of for-sale homes, according to Zillow. Zestimates of off-the-market homes have a higher error rate, at around 7.5%. Since these figures are from Zillow, both figures should be taken with a grain of salt.
Trulia is another popular real estate website. The company was founded in 2005 and still has its headquarters in San Francisco.
Just like Zillow, Trulia offers real estate listings for prospective home buyers, sellers, and renters. Also like Zillow, Trulia makes most of its money from advertising.
Even though the company is now owned by Zillow, it provides users with a different experience online. Search results yield a map on the right-hand side and listings on the left. Once you click on a particular listing, the key information—price, address, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage—is listed on the top, along with an estimate of the monthly mortgage payment.
Property photos and listing information including realtor contacts are listed below. This is followed by a detailed description of the property provided by the listing agent, features, and similar homes in the area.
While Zillow and Trulia can both estimate the value of a home, these estimates are no substitute for a professional home appraisal.
Zillow vs. Trulia: Key Differences
Although the two services share the same owner, there are still several differences. Zillow is more international than Trulia, listing homes in several Canadian cities as well as the United States.
In addition, there are also variations in how they estimate home prices. Zillow's "Zestimate" claims to be accurate to within 1.9% for on-the-market homes, using a proprietary formula based on public and user data.
The Trulia Estimate is derived from the Zestimate, although it also considers other variables. Trulia claims its 34 neighborhood map overlays give consumers more insight into what it's like to live in a home and the neighborhood. Trulia also provides a visual breakdown of the monthly costs for the property, including mortgage payment, property taxes, home insurance, any association fees, and mortgage insurance. This gives prospective buyers an idea of whether they can afford a particular residence.
Another one of Trulia's distinct features is its crime map data. The site pools crime data for neighborhoods from both local law enforcement and news reports, allowing users to determine safety in the community.
While Zillow's acquisition of Trulia made it a clear market leader in terms of real estate searching, there are many smaller sites such as Redfin, Homesnap, and Realtor.com that offer similar functionality. In some cases, these competitors may offer additional features that are not available on Zillow or Trulia.
For example, Redfin employs a team of real estate agents whose compensation is directly tied to their user ratings. This gives Redfin agents a clear incentive to help find the best match between homeowners and potential buyers.
Another competitor, Foreclosure.com, is tailored specifically to the most price-sensitive consumers. This site is specifically geared for cheap homes, allowing users to search online for homes that are currently in foreclosure. Although there are some risks associated with buying foreclosed homes, the savings can be worthwhile for a careful investor.
What Is the Difference Between Zillow and Trulia?
Although Zillow and Trulia have the same corporate owner, there is some difference in the interface for both websites. Zillow has a more graphic experience for searching for a home, while Trulia has a relatively simple design. In addition, Zillow, unlike Trulia, goes beyond the U.S. in its listings. According to the site, properties are listed for a variety of Canadian cities including Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and Kelowna.
How Do You List a Home on Zillow and Trulia?
The first step to listing a home on either website is to open a Zillow account, and claim your home by searching for the address. Then you can set your price, upload photos, and include details about your home before submitting the listing for approval. Once a listing is submitted to Zillow, it will appear on Trulia within about 24 hours.
How Accurate Are Zillow and Trulia Estimates?
Both Zillow and Trulia rely on sophisticated algorithms to estimate the price of real estate properties, based on location, size, neighborhood data, and the recent sales of nearby properties. Like other algorithms, they are not always reliable: sometimes one will be more accurate than the other, and sometimes both are way off. Although both tools can be used for a ballpark idea of home pricing, there is no substitute for a professional home appraiser.