Zillow And Redfin – Is Nothing’s Sacred Anymore?

Magnolia Homes
1.7 Million Dollar Model Home in West Covina, Ca

Is it just me or does it feel like there was a time not too long ago when most people had only a vague idea exactly how much their friends or coworkers made in income let alone how much they paid for their house?  Well no longer.  Now with a few keystrokes and click of a button you can look up the exact price anyone paid on their home and most of the associated information on that house if you know their address.

My husband and I were saying how nothing’s sacred anymore.  A huge chunk of our privacy’s been taken away from us and I didn’t even realize it for a long time.  I’m sure the information was available in the past too, but a person would have to really work to get it and that makes them akin to a psycho.  Now it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, click!  By searching a person’s address on Zillow or Redfin you can find out exactly how much they purchased it for, how much they pay in HOA and property taxes and also maybe get to see some pictures of the house before you even have had a chance to be invited to the housewarming party!  And in effect, you can get a good estimate of how much their household income is.

For example, if you looked up your friend’s house on Redfin and you saw the purchase price was $850,000, you can assume they put in a 20% down ($170,000) and from there be able to estimate a monthly mortgage and property taxes (~$4000/month).  Heck, Redfin and Zillow both do that for you when your looking at a property on their site.  Seeing as housing is generally 30-50% of most household budgets, it doesn’t take much more math to guess their approximate income.  If you factor in other aspects of their spending habits, what car they drive, how they dress, what vacations they go on, you can get an even more accurate picture.

redfin
Redfin embedded payments calculator.   The estimate is a little too low I think.  Probably not taking into account the additional property tax fees found in Irvine.

Of course there’s a ton of details and situations you can’t account for with just this information alone, but it’s kind of eerie to me that all this information is available to anyone who has my home address which is everyone who sends me a Christmas card and actually come to think of it anyone who has access to my medical chart or the people working at Amazon.com!  Maybe I’m just old school and for the newer generation of kids this is just normal.  Actually my friend who’s older than me who recently moved just straight up sent me the Redfin link to the house she bought.

Also, I’ll admit, I’ve indulged a bit in the Zillow/Redfin stalk.  I’ve searched a few people’s home addresses in there and was surprised to see how much some of them paid for their homes.  I was like “daaang girlfriend/homie, you’re a baller!” ? Anyways, I’m probably just an old granny inside.  My husband’s always making fun of me for trying to hide my personal information from google or facebook or what not.  He’s like, “they already know everything about you, don’t even bother.” ?

What do you think?  Is it weird that anyone who knows your home address can Zillow and Redfin look you up and know exactly how much you paid for your home, your monthly HOA and how much it’s Zestimating at?  Or am I just outdated and not hip with the times?

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