Buying a house is about as fun as a pony ride.
When the pony’s saddle is lined with spikes.
There’s nothing quite as soul-crushing as falling in love with a house, imagining where you’re going to put your vegetable garden (the one you’re never going to water, only you don’t know that yet), and picturing barbecues in the backyard and Thanksgiving with a roaring fireplace, only to have the bank reject your offer. So to bring back the fun of the initial shopping process, sites like Zillow have cropped up to allow prospective home buyers shop around and see what houses in different neighborhoods are worth. Earlier this year, Zillow filed an S-1, pricing its IPO at $12 to $14 a share. But on Friday, the company filed an amended S-1 to bump up its share price to $16 to $18.
The new share price would raise an estimated $71.6 million, up from the previously anticipated $51.8 million. This pegs the company’s valuation at $485 million. No date has been set for the IPO, but the company plans to trade on Nasdaq under the symbol “Z.”
So is it worth that much? If the company’s financials are any indication, it’s doing pretty well for itself. It still isn’t profitable, but its losses have been shrinking every year. In 2010, Zillow brought in $30.5 million in revenues, while taking a loss of $6.8 million. But by comparison, in 2009, the company took home $17.5 million in revenues while suffering a loss of $12.8 million. In the three months ending in March 2011, Zillow only took a loss of some $800,000, compared to the three months ended in March 2010, when the company took a loss of $2.8 million.
And Zillow’s user base is growing. In May 2011, Zillow’s website and mobile app saw 22 million unique visitors, representing an increase of 103% over May 2010. Also in May 2011, Zillow was accessed on mobile devices over 8.8 million times, with more than 1.7 million homes viewed on mobile devices each day.