Childhood Memories and Zillow

I recently found an interesting Web tool called “Zillow.” It’s billed as a Real Estate tool that both agents and home buyers can use to sell and compare houses in a given market. It’s pretty neat in that it lets you, as a homeowner, see what your neighbor’s houses are assessed for, along with square footage, etc. So, if you think your house is bigger than your neighbors, but you weren’t sure enough to go crowing about it…well, now you can.

Another interesting feature is that it uses other freely available aerial photographs to show the houses. Granted most of the pictures aren’t detailed enough to see what color paint is on the house, but you can see the top of the house and the surrounding land.

I thought it’d be fun to look up some of my old stomping grounds from my childhood and sure enough, I was able to find them. For instance, our first house in Mobile, AL is now selling for about 95K, which in Atlanta prices, would get you a hovel in an undesirable part of town. So, I then looked up our second house, the one my family built with our bare hands, and while there was no value listed, I was able to see the general layout:

My house

When I lived there, we owned five acres on the NW side of a huge tract of wooded land owned by a great uncle-in-law. It appears that it now has been junked up a little bit and more trees cleared off, but it’s still clearly my old house. And boy does that bring up some memories…some bad, some good, some just plain old indifferent. It’s funny though how nostalgic seeing the place makes me.

For instance, that bare spot to the SE of the house…I cleared that out myself over the course of a couple of summers. Mind you, this was in the heat of Alabama summer. I remember working out there during the day (because my dad made me) and being completely soaked in sweat; then going inside the a/c and drinking gallons of sweet tea. I remember our Dobermans running around in the woods as I worked, chasing after who knows what. I remember the girls who used to drop by…well….never mind about that. Suffice it to say that there is apparently something to be said for a sweaty, slightly overweight teen-age boy holding an axe and a pair of lopping shears in the middle of a sweltering Alabama summer. Ah…the memories.

And oh the fishing. Fly fishing, bass fishing or just sitting on the banks with a cane pole in one hand and my faithful dog lying next to me hoping I’ll throw her a piece of my PB&J. It’s almost enough to make a guy get all choked up.

I never really had any desire to go back and visit my old home, until now. Now, I just need a good excuse. Hey, only four more years till my 20th high school reunion.

Man…now that’s depressing.

One thought on “Childhood Memories and Zillow

  1. Mitch

    Zillow is a great site, I can’t use it though because they dont have my home in their system. If you like zillow you should check out this site that I use (it does have my home in it) HouseFront ( is cool and different about housefront from zillow is you can use text messaging.

    But it really is fun to look up places that you use to live on these sites and see how they have changed and what they are selling for these days. You said it “It’s almost enough to make a guy get all choked up.” Great post.

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