How to Make your Own Zillow Using the Onboard Developer Platform

Zillow is a dominant force in real estate. As the largest national portal, they have perfected the art of attracting and engaging online real estate consumers. If you are a developer looking to do the same, you can use the Onboard Developer Platform to recreate and improve upon some of Zillow's most popular features.

Today we'll break down how to build your own Zestimate, neighborhood search and filtering capability, and unique property pages. The Onboard Developer platform has information on all 150 million properties in the US and the communities around them. Using this data, you can create powerful tools that not only rival, but surpass national brands like Zillow and

Here's how:

Create Your Own Zestimate

Zillow's Zestimate is an AVM, or Automated Valuation Model. An AVM is a handy tool for quickly and simply providing an estimated value for a property. To create your own formula for the AVM, you'll need to access the Property API within the Onboard Developer Platform.

If you are looking to get all of the best data for a property, the /allevents/detail API call returns all of the details for a property, along with our AVM data and sales transaction history. Listed below are a few of the fields returned in the response:

  • Value estimate and high to low value range
  • Confidence ratings for the values returned
  • Over 94 million valuations
  • Bedrooms and Bathrooms
  • Year Built
  • Living Square Footage
  • Lot Size
  • Number of Stories
  • Property Type
  • 10 years of sales transaction history
  • Tax assessment value
  • Latitude/Longitude, City, Zip, Neighborhood

To get a better idea of all of the available fields, use the interactive docs in our developer portal documentation to make calls to our production API.

Buliding An AVM

You can use the property data to quickly and automatically generate the estimated value and comparative analysis of any property in the country. AVMs are often used to identify likely home sellers before they put their home on the market.

The /property/snapshot, /avm/snapshot, and sale/snapshot calls can also be used to deliver all of the data from the /allevents/detail and more within a certain zip code, neighborhood, or radius from a given property.

A behind-the-scenes look at what the API delivers to help answer some of your customers' most important questions

A behind-the-scenes look at what the API delivers to help answer some of your customers' most important questions
We also have a turnkey AVM if you are looking to plug in an AVM to a larger development project.

More information on myAVM can be found here.

Create Better Neighborhood Search

Whether you're building a listings page or the next Foursquare, you might need to build a robust neighborhood search within your application. The Onboard Developer Platform has a Community API which enables you to do that.

Our Community API has 387 fields of data grouped into the following categories:

  • Population: Total Population, Seasonal Population, Population Change and Projections, Age Breakdown, Age
  • Ancestry: Ethnic origin and heritage
  • Ethnicity: Race, Hispanic/Non-Hispanic, including history and projections
  • Languages: Primary language spoken in households, including change over time
  • Education: Level of education achieved, Educational Climate Index
  • Housing: Owned/Rented/Vacant, Median Dwelling Age, Median Home Sale Price
  • Households: Total #, Family/Non-Family, Average Size, Median/Average Income and Breakdown
  • Income: Median by Age Group, Disposable Income, Per Capita Income, and Household Income
  • Employment: Blue Collar vs. White Collar, Employee Count by Role & Industry
  • Transportation: Commute to Work by Type, Average Travel Time to Work
  • Crime: Total Risk and Risk Breakdown by Crime Type
  • Temperature: Average High and Low, Weather Risk Indexes
  • Miscellaneous: Closest sports teams and universities, Gross Rent Estimates, and more...

You can include basic information on every community in your region, things like demographic information, climate and weather, and recent home sales. The API allows you to search by neighborhood, subdivision, zip code, county, city or state to make for a more intricate and robust user experience.

Our /area/full API call allows you to enter any Area ID in the country to deliver all of the data fields mentioned above. A large amount of the data is delivered in increments that make it easy for you to chart, graph, and display the information in a way that engages your users. Once you have your API key, you can use the following example call to get access to the community data:
Century 21 using Onboard data to deep dive into the demographics of an area

Century 21 using Onboard data to deep dive into the demographics of an area

The Community API pulls from the following sources:
The U.S. Census and other government agencies. USGS, EPA, FBI and local crime agencies. American Community Survey, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, CDC, Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration,Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, Federal Housing Finance, IRS, NCES, National Center for Health Statistics, National Parks Service, Social Security, USPS, Mediamark Consumer Survey, Applied Geographic Solutions, School Digger, Niche, CoreLogic.

You can now have access to a large amount of valuable community data without having to pull from over 20 different sources.

Create property or area landing pages

The reason Zillow pops up to the top of every organic search is because of their huge online footprint. They get this by creating landing pages on every property and neighborhood in the country. You can do that as well through the Onboard Developer Platform.
Within the Property API, we have property records. Property records include the following:

  • property records
  • property assessments
  • property tax figures

Within the API, make the following request:

This will bring back the characteristics of this specific property. You can now easily create this content on your site for every property in the country.

You can also create neighborhood landing pages to give your customers a better idea of what is going on in the places they are looking to live. The Onboard Points of Interest API is a great compliment to the Community APIs and can help you to showcase what is going on around your properties.

See how Corcoran uses Onboard data to give users a clean and easy-to-use view of what is nearby to a property

See how Corcoran uses Onboard data to give users a clean and easy-to-use view of what is nearby to a property

Regardless of what you are building, if you need information on a property, area, or home-owner to build it, the Onboard Developer platform is a great place to start your project. Free trials and pay-as-you-go pricing available so you can get started with little risk. Here's the link:

Be sure to read the next Real Estate article: In Other API Economy News: Real Estate Coding Competition, GDAX Streaming API and More


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