Zillow Digs vs. Houzz For Home Improvement Planning & Budgeting

This past weekend, I was reading an 2004 Onion book I unearthed while cleaning (also known as tax procrastination), and laughed out loud at this short clip:

New Homeowner Suddenly Fascinated By Molding

Friends of Michael Ziglar said Monday that, since he purchased his three-bedroom ranch home in April, Ziglar has become endlessly fascinated by molding. “This is a guy who, one year ago, didn’t know molding from a ceiling fan,” said Colin Pasternak, Ziglar’s friend. “Now, suddenly, he’s lecturing me on the pros and cons of cavetto versus beak molding. I wish he’d shut up about wall niches and go back to Stargate.” Ziglar was unavailable for comment, as he was at a local hardware store pricing decorative wainscotting.

I mentioned it to my friend who just bought his first home (the same friend who wrote Your House Is An Undiversified Bond Investment) because he’s become fixated on the price of molding—from the wildly different bids he’d gotten from contractors, right down to the cost of a good saw and nail gun to maybe do the job himself.

That was Sunday. And this morning I woke up realizing that I was so focused on cracking jokes about The Onion piece with him that I forgot to mention Zillow Digs and Houzz. Both are services where homeowners can plan out and hire contractors for home improvements as complicated as a full remodel or as (supposedly) simple as molding.

Here are crown molding search results for Zillow Digs and Houzz.

Pretty amazing that you can get lost in designs about something (supposedly) so obscure. But great for planning.

For my friend and the rest of you home improvement warriors, it’s also worth noting that while both services allow you to shop for contractors to help you once you’ve designed your improvement plan, the main difference (for now) between Zillow Digs and Houzz is that the Zillow service allows you to do price estimates for home improvements whereas Houzz doesn’t.

Zillow is trying to do the same thing for the $300b home improvement market as they are for the real estate market: provide price transparency. This is a key goal in a home improvement world where some basic home improvements my friend wants to make vary by thousands of dollars.

As for ease of use, Houzz seems to have the advantage since they’ve been at it longer, and their site is very slick.

Also it’s worth noting that when Zillow launched Digs earlier this year, I wrote an extensive piece comparing Zillow and Houzz—good reference for homeowners and also for investors (since Houzz has huge backing from the same venture capital firm that originally backed Trulia—Zillow’s main rival—then took them public last fall). Click link below to read more.
New Homeowner Suddenly Fascinated By Molding (TheOnion)

Zillow & Houzz At War For $300b Home Improvement Market (TheBasisPoint)

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