zillow.com Updates, redfin.com Expands

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Number three US real estate website zillow.com has upgraded its home search with new features during the past week, while online brokerage redfin.com has expanded to its 16th market.

zillow.com says this latest round of upgrades was inspired by the functionality of its iPad app. The new features include a keyword search option, a bigger map search interface, and the option to choose between a list or gallery view of similar listings at the bottom of the map search.

These upgrades follow zillow.com’s addition of searchable agent reviews in mid-January. The website says it currently sees over 13 million unique visitors per month.

Meanwhile, redfin.com has opened its doors in Denver – a market it says it had to put off while establishing itself in bigger cities like New York and Chicago.

“This initial ring of megapolises took longer than we thought because we had to learn how to ramp traffic quickly for free, how to be smart about the neighbourhoods where we could initially offer local service and where we had to rely on partners, how to get our costs down in markets where homes are more affordable,” blogs redfin.com CEO Glenn Kelman.

“We learned a lot, then, finally, we expanded a lot,” Kelman adds. “That process is almost done: we’ll open a few more markets, then take a break in expansion for a year or two, to figure out the next set of optimisations needed before we launch another tier of markets.”

Kelman adds that redfin.com now covers about a third of the US. The website last appeared on the Hitwise top 20 list of US real estate websites in September 2010, when it moved from 15th to 17th place.

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