Looking at homes on Zillow is my new hobby. I don’t plan to move. I don’t plan to sell my home. But I find myself visiting Zillow all the time.
If you haven’t been in the market for real estate in a while, Zillow is one of several websites that list homes for sale. There’s nothing fancy about it. No learning curve to worry about. Just type in a city and boom! Pictures and descriptions of homes for sale in that area appear.
Traffic to Zillow’s mobile apps and websites was up 21% in 2020, so I’m not alone when it comes to my Zillow habit. People are buying and selling houses like crazy. While I’m not in the market at all, Zillow is my Zen these days.
I’m visiting Zillow as a hobby like I used to scroll Twitter, Facebook or TMZ.
I scroll through the listings and click on the images of the houses. It’s become one of the only stress-free places I can go online these days.
First of all, it’s a natural evolution of addiction to HGTV paired with the isolation of the endless quarantine. I’ve watched Chip and Joe, Erin and Ben, Jonathan and Drew, and Karen and Mina buy so many houses. So. Many. And I’ve seen them remove walls, popcorn ceiling, and front doors for Pete’s sake! Looking homes for sale is an HGTV episode in my mind.
“All this one needs is a fresh coat of white paint….”
I’ve written in this space that home improvement and DIY has been my salvation from the endless sameness of staying at home. I’ve painted the trim, for Pete’s sake! I asked Santa for an electric sander, for Pete’s sake. Looking at real estate online is a safe but creative outlet. A fun game of “what if.”
Browsing Zillow also saves money. You can’t put a house in your online cart and expect free shipping. I have purchased zero things from Zillow. Also, there are no gorgeous food photos. I can’t ruin my healthy eating plan on Zillow. I’m also not faced with anyone’s perfectly curated life. No unrealistic beauty standards to live up to, no comparisons to feel bad about.
And back to that stress-free component of my Zillow pastime. I’ve become incredibly frustrated with social media obstinance. For a long time, I’ve tried to fight the good fight. I tried to explain how to find facts. I’ve cautioned about the dangers of copy and pasting stuff you didn’t check yourself. I reminded folks that no one was giving away a free RV. I pointed out that online quizzes were really ways to get you to share details that should remain private. But it was nagging into a void. No one wants to hear it, least of all me anymore.
I find myself withdrawing from several social media platforms. A trend I’m going to continue. If I have a resolution this year, it’s to go 365 days without checking Facebook before brushing my teeth.
Instead, I’ll be scrolling through Zillow and pondering removing theoretical dining rooms to create huge kitchens with walk-in pantries. This may be a cry for help, sure, but you do self-care your way. I’ll do it mine.
Originally published in Monroe News, 2020