Woman viewing laptop screen that shows Zillow logo

Zillow's new AI-powered search helps shoppers find their ideal home 

The natural language search feature is the first of its kind on a major consumer real estate portal.

January 26, 2023
3 minutes

Key points:

  • Zillow's new AI-powered feature, available now on iOS, allows users to more easily customize their search results.
  • Instead of filters, users can search by typing in “$500,000 homes in Miami with a backyard” or a specific number of bedrooms/bathrooms.
  • It’s the latest example of a real estate company using artificial intelligence to simplify consumer and agent experiences and transactions.

Zillow is making it easier for home shoppers to find exactly what they want on the search portal — without all the clicks. 

The company announced a new "natural language search" feature that is now live on the Zillow app for iOS users and will soon arrive on Android devices. The search feature allows shoppers to "ask" for specific types of properties, using the same kind of language they would use when talking to a person. 

Zillow is the first major residential real estate marketplace to introduce AI-powered search for consumers. 

Most home search portals, including Zillow, have typically required shoppers to enter a location and then select from a variety of filters — price, number of beds or bath, amenities and more — in order to get the results they want. With its new AI-enabled search bar, Zillow users can specify those details all at once, and include features that aren't listed among the default filters, by typing something like "3-bedroom homes with a pool near a park" or "open house near me under $400,000."

Shoppers can also save their natural-language searches and turn on notifications to alert them when a new qualifying listing is posted.

"Beyond easy-to-filter criteria like bedrooms and bathrooms, buyers are considering many other specific features that match their unique lifestyle," said Jenny Arden, Zillow's chief design officer, in a news release. "This new tool is a game changer for home shopping, because it helps shorten the sometimes long and stressful house-hunting process by creating an easy, more modern way to search, and it delivers relevant  search results in a simple, uncluttered way." 

With millions of unique visitors each month, the new feature is expected to have an impact on how people search for homes. It's the latest example of companies using artificial intelligence on a consumer platform; other real estate and financial firms like Compass and LoanSnap have begun using AI to help with different aspects of the homebuying transaction, and the public launch of ChatGPT in December is likely to spur more real estate forays into natural language AI. 

Before introducing this feature, Zillow was already using AI for many of its most impactful features, including its Zestimate valuation. AI is also playing a role in the company's plans to develop a "housing super app" that provides solutions for all the tasks related to buying and selling homes.

"The future of real estate will be powered through AI," Arden said. "We are proud to be the first in the industry to offer this smarter way to search, and excited to see how it learns and evolves to help each Zillow shopper find their perfect home."

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