3 Zillow Alerts Everyone Should Set Up in 2021

published Jan 1, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: DOUGBERRY/Getty Images

I was never much of a gamer. While my peers were busy leveling up, battling the final boss, and counting down to new game releases, I was preoccupied with sketching floor plans and perusing design magazines. Now, in a way, my nightly Zillow-scrolling has taken on a game-like quality as I sift through listings and search for treasured features

Now, I’m ready to level up. And to do this, I can simply take advantage of the site’s greatest feature—alerts! I spoke with Zillow’s home trends expert, Amanda Pendleton, to learn about the best Zillow alerts to set for 2021. Here’s her advice for taking your house hunting to the next level.

First… why set an alert at all? The housing market is moving at lightning speed, and if a shopper is truly interested in a house, there’s no time to delay. “Nationwide, homes are selling at a median of 13 days because of the sky high demand, so if you want to be competitive in that kind of market, it’s really imperative that you get notified the moment that a new home comes on the market that fits your criteria,” Pendleton says.

When saving a search, the browser can select the frequency with which they receive updates on their search: instantly or daily. Right now, an instant notification might be just the ticket for securing the perfect home. There are three practical alerts for both the serious shopper and the nightly scroller who just wants to gawk at seriously cool homes. 

Tailor-made saved searches

An alert that produces hundreds or even thousands of matches hardly serves a house hunter. Fortunately, Zillow is made to respond to individual users’ preferences. “The more information that you’re sharing through your searches and your saves, the better that Zillow can tailor your experience,” Pendleton says. Buyers should utilize the customization options to narrow down results by identifying the features they find critical for their next home. And for the budget conscious (a.k.a. pretty much every house hunter), this is the place to lock in your price parameters.

Some buyers focus on conventional identifiers, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. But Zillow also has an option to select homes with mountain views, a cityscape, or on the waterfront. Other pandemic-friendly necessities, like balconies, private green spaces, and even home gyms, can be searched. “If there’s something really specific that’s on your ‘must-have’ list, like you need to have a workshop or a mother-in-law-suite… that’s when you use that keyword search term,” Pendleton says. You can even add “horse” as a keyword and find a home not just for you, but your steed, too! It’s a functional and fascinating tool for shoppers and casual browsers alike.

Custom borderlines

One of Zillow’s newer features is its “draw” function, which is especially useful for those who already have fallen in love with a particular location. “You can use the draw function to draw a circle around the specific pocket of that neighborhood you’re interested [in],” Pendleton says. Your favorite street lined with those cozy bungalows? The homes across from your favorite park? The condos around the corner from your favorite shops? Draw a border around those locations and set up your search alert.

Virtual tour availability

For health-conscious folks needing to relocate during the pandemic, Zillow has an designation for a search alert that will simplify purchasing a home during the age of coronavirus. The first is “3D Home.” Readers may have seen this viral Kentucky home’s 3D tour. “3D Home” provides that first person perspective experience. 

“3D tours… are these virtual tours that kind of give you the sense that you’re there and you’re walking through the home, but it’s all digital and all from the safety and comfort of your living room,” Pendleton says. This is a critical feature for those maintaining social distancing and protecting compromised loved ones.

Another option to customize an alert is “Owned By Zillow.” This feature is “for people who [are] looking for a turnkey-ready home that has already been inspected and repaired professionally,” Pendleton explains. 

In these cases, Zillow actually purchases homes and prepares them completely for buyers. Especially for those relocating cross-country, this option provides a sense of security for remote house hunters. “Zillow-owned homes have gone through a rigorous checklist to make sure they’re safe and they’re functional, so that can offer a lot of peace of mind to a buyer,” Pendleton says. Between the “3D Home” and “Owned By Zillow” selections, a house hunter could find a home through their email alert and buy it sight unseen.