Zillow lets you ask Facebook friends for Neighborhood Advice

Zillow has integrated into its Facebook Connect service and built a new Neighborhood Advice feature. When looking for a new place to rent or buy, you can now ask nearby Facebook friends for help.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Online real estate database Zillow this week announced the launch of Neighborhood Advice. The new feature helps buyers and renters learn about neighborhoods from their Facebook friends (without giving away their exact location, of course).

So, how does it work? While shopping on Zillow, users are prompted to login to the social network via Facebook Connect. Once they do, they can see where their Facebook friends live and check-in the most. In other words, when you search for homes in a specific city or neighborhood, Neighborhood Advice will recommend Facebook friends connected to the area not only so you can figure out if you want to live near them, but so you can contact them for personal tips and advice.

"When people are looking to rent or buy a new home, they always ask friends, family and co-workers questions about different neighborhoods. Neighborhood Advice takes this further and deeper by allowing shoppers to quickly and easily tap into their broader online social network as they shop for homes on Zillow," Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff said in a statement. "Integrating social media tools and friend networks into the core Zillow home-shopping experience is yet another way we are giving our users access to previously hard-to-find, yet sought-after, information."

One of the biggest factors people take into consideration when they want to move is their potential new neighborhood. Any real estate agent will tell you people always want to know about how safe the area is (crime rate, murder rate, nearest police station, nearest fire station, and so on), as well as what's nearby (schools for kids, transit, shopping malls, restaurants, and so on).

Leveraging Facebook is a smart move because the social network has over 800 million monthly active users. That being said, Facebook only started pushing its users to share their location as five months ago, when it added new location features to its service. Zillow is hoping enough location data has been shared on Facebook by now to make Neighborhood Advice useful.

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