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Zillow, the online real estate company, has come up with a new way to collect and organize your home remodeling ideas. Called Zillow Digs, the application, which is free on iPad and the Web, not only provides inspiration for your home improvement schemes but also can give you an estimated cost for the project.
Similar to Pinterest and Houzz, Zillow Digs lets you browse images and save them to idea boards. You can search by style (traditional, contemporary, etc.), cost (luxury or budget) and room (kitchen, bath, etc.). You also can search for specific elements within a room. For example, by searching for "quartz," you would find examples of kitchens and bathrooms with quartz countertops. You can share your boards with your family and friends or your contractor.
You can browse boards created by others and follow someone whose style you like. Home improvement professionals can create their own profiles and connect with homeowners.
Zillow has culled tens of thousands of images from homes it has listed for sale across the country. So if you find a kitchen you like, you can probably look at other rooms in the home to see how they were designed.
In addition to the images you find on Zillow, you can also save your own pictures or add ones you find on the Web to your board.
What sets Zillow Digs apart from Pinterest and Houzz is its Dig Estimates, a predicted cost of the renovation. Zillow hired contractors to price what it would cost to replicate each picture, including labor and materials.
For example, suppose you find a kitchen you like. You want to know how much it would cost for you to hire someone to install the cabinets, countertops and backsplash. Click on "Cost" and Zillow Digs will give you a price range, an estimate of the room size and a breakdown of materials and labor.
Now suppose the picture was taken in Seattle and you live in Charleston. Zillow Digs can also do a regional adjustment to give you a better idea of how much it would cost in your area.
For those who are considering a home remodeling project, the nice thing about Zillow Digs is that while it provides plenty of eye candy to inspire you, it also gives you an idea of how much those granite countertops and tile backsplashes will set you back. And while everyone likes to dream, it is helpful to know before talking to a contractor how much you can expect to pay for those dreams.