Zillow Gets Zinged

By
Managing Real Estate Broker with San Diego Previews Real Estate CA BRE# 01101958

 A consumer protection complaint has just been filed with the FTC against Zillow by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC). They allege that Zillow, the "Internet financial services and real estate provider(sic) is misleading consumers, real estate professionals and financial service providers in online home valuations."

Uh oh....they go on to charge that:

"Zillow is placing the American dream of homeownership at risk for countless working families," says John Taylor, NCRC President and CEO. "For a company that represents to consumers that they are the 'Kelley Blue Book of Homes,' this is a very dangerous situation. We call upon the FTC to intervene and ensure that Americans receive accurate appraisals and valuation information to protect the single most important investment of their lives: their home."

The full story  goes into much greater detail. I am still digesting the ramifications (if any) of this complaint--and the purposes behind it.

Thoughts and concerns?

....and for an accurate picture of the San Diego real estate market, go to http://www.sandiegopreviews.com/ 

How's that for shameless self-promotion>

 

 

 

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Rainer
119,269
Rob Robinson- Lehigh Valley PA
Bertrum Settlements (Title & Abstract) - Allentown, PA

Is Zillow truly impacting your abilities as realtors?  I find most people (not in the industry) understand its limitations and just use it as everything else on the web.  Just more info.

 

Oct 27, 2006 12:17 AM #39
Rainer
2,485
l kk
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Very interesting, Ive used them a few times as well, and I think its a great resource for individuals to get started.
Oct 27, 2006 12:34 AM #40
Rainer
29,394
Michael Roberts
Real Estate Professionals of Glynn - Saint Simons Island, GA
Zillow to me is somewhat like a book for all seasons.  The rpinciple sounds nice and that it will work.  But in practical application it does not.  Afterall its bases isn't market specific.
Oct 27, 2006 01:15 AM #41
Rainmaker
1,462,622
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Rob Robinson wrote "Is Zillow truly impacting your abilities as realtors?  I find most people (not in the industry) understand its limitations and just use it as everything else on the web.  Just more info." 

Consumers run the gamut from those that don't have a clue and those that take it as gospel just like anything else on the web.  I don't think the issue with the NCRC is REALTOR® driven.   

Some REALTORS® have embraced Zillow for marketing and other's think it is the devil's work... I personally swivel back and forth but am always aware of what is happening with Zillow.  I'd say the reception at CAR last week is an indication of how we act as a mob.  I believe Lloyd Frink was jeered.  Allan Dalton's speech was supported by the crowd from what I understand. 

Mob mentality.  Hive thinking.   

 

 

Oct 27, 2006 01:48 AM #42
Rainer
48,480
Lisa Dunn
Edina Realty - Minneapolis, MN
www.TwinCitySeller.com
I too hope Zillow doesn't shut down. I use it to build my case on why consumers need me!
Oct 27, 2006 01:59 AM #43
Rainer
48,480
Lisa Dunn
Edina Realty - Minneapolis, MN
www.TwinCitySeller.com
I too hope Zillow doesn't shut down. I use it to build my case on why consumers need me!
Oct 27, 2006 01:59 AM #44
Rainer
119,269
Rob Robinson- Lehigh Valley PA
Bertrum Settlements (Title & Abstract) - Allentown, PA

"I too hope Zillow doesn't shut down. I use it to build my case on why consumers need me!"

Lisa, excellent point.  If in fact Zillow is 'off the mark' in your particular area.....it can be a great selling service to you as a Realtor, to EDUCATE the client as to 'the evils' that lurk on the web, misinformation, 'limited' information, etc. 

Oct 27, 2006 02:16 AM #45
Rainer
30,530
Toby Boyce
C.G. Boyce Real Estate Co. - Delaware, OH
MBA, Delaware Ohio

I love the "kill the messenger" attitude that many realtors have. Is Zillow great? No. But, it isn't going to destroy the real estate industry -- unless we allow it too.

The agents that use "information" as their primary selling point for a listing are going to go away. These agents are going to be replaced -- if they haven't been already.

But those that welcome consumers that are more interested in how you are going to serve them, will survive and even prosper.

Look at the travel agents, what did they offer beyond information? Not a lot. Those that did are still around, those that just sold you on "knowing" about places you didn't are gone and serving you coffee at the local diner.

Oct 27, 2006 02:19 AM #46
Ambassador
523,987
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life
This is just my take, but once again a class example of lack of personal responsibility.  Zillow is a neat, general tool or barometer, not a concrete idea of value.  If people want to know what their home is worth, get an appraisal done!  Any professional who uses Zillow to put deals together should probably find another line of work.  Zillow is neat, but not concrete.
Oct 27, 2006 03:23 AM #47
Rainer
340,092
Ken Smith
Suburban House Hunters - Arlington Heights, IL

Zillow is a waste of space. As a test I have tried it on 50 recently sold homes and the value was at the closest 8% off and the worst 39% off, and on average 18% off. That is WAY to much to act like the numbers are of any value. 

Had planned to write a blog post about it, but decided that it wasn't worth my time talking about Zillow yet again.

Toby, most travel agent now work in call centers and are paid the wages you would expect to go along with that. Not really the best example IMO. With that said I have always taken a service professional approach to this business, not an information provider one. There is a big difference that most agents don't understand.

Still think Zillow is a bad thing as it misleads consumers and if we provided data that was that far off we would also end up in a lawsuite wouldn't we? I know I would in my area, so why should Zillow be held to the same standards?

Oct 27, 2006 03:52 AM #48
Rainer
119,269
Rob Robinson- Lehigh Valley PA
Bertrum Settlements (Title & Abstract) - Allentown, PA
Mapquest would get sued every day.
Oct 27, 2006 04:04 AM #49
Rainer
4,920
Laurie Petranoff
Suburban House Hunters - Lake in the Hills, IL
I agree! The homes on Zillow are drastically overpriced in our area.  Consumers are looking at this information and it's up to us as Realtors to educate them.  Personally, I wouldn't mind there either being a huge disclaimer posted on the home page or the site being shut down.  No big loss to me or my clients.
Oct 27, 2006 04:13 AM #50
Rainer
3,978
David Love
David Alan Love, Realtors - Merced, CA
CRS,GRI,SRES,CDPE
I think NCRC is overreacting. First of all, Zillow is a work in progress and a 10% range is very forgiving. I have never heard Zillow suggest they would replace Realtors or Appraisers. The service is just a snap shot and sometimes can bring sellers back to reality. Based on the background of the two founders I would expect to see lots of improvements very shortly. Currently, they are just using recorded sales. When a Market is slow and prices are falling, it takes a while to adjust. That's where we come in. It was'nt designed to make our job easier.
Oct 27, 2006 03:18 PM #51
Rainmaker
275,259
Ken Cook
Content, coding, marketing, host. - Marietta, GA
Content Marketer/Creator

Let me just say how surprised I am:

http://activerain.com/blogs/reibroker/tags/zillow 

Work in PROGESS?!?!?!

So if I charge 10 points at closing can I just claim to be a "work in progress"???? 

Social responsibility. That's what we're really talking about. Something the Dixie Chicks don't comprehend either. 

Oct 27, 2006 03:24 PM #52
Rainmaker
97,722
Michael Trinchitella
Putnam, Westchester Real Estate - Mahopac, NY
Putnam Westchester Real Estate
Good article, hope they get what they deserve.
Oct 27, 2006 04:10 PM #53
Rainer
75,675
Todd Murphy
Fitts Agency - Tuscaloosa, AL

The real estate business will always be a people to people business. As far as home values are concerned, nothing will every take the place of a certified appraisal by someone physically inspecting the property.

 

Oct 27, 2006 11:26 PM #54
Rainer
30,530
Toby Boyce
C.G. Boyce Real Estate Co. - Delaware, OH
MBA, Delaware Ohio

Ken - I agree there is a lot of difference between us and travel agents. However, I think that the "Zillowites" of the world believe that they can take-over the industry in much the same way they did the travel industry. And someone else made the connection earlier in the thread.

Unfotunately, one of my best friends from high school went to school to become a travel agent -- and she is a waitress at the local diner. But, I'm sure that most of them have moved into other service industries.

Oct 28, 2006 10:20 AM #55
Rainmaker
1,108,361
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA

Before Zillow can take over anything, they're going to have to do what they claim to do now a whole hell of a lot better.

In my neighborhood, the estimates on Zillow are so far off it's a joke. I remember the big PR splash they made when they launched and people on our street were actually talking about it in casual conversation. I was shocked. But they all had the same thought... their numbers aren't right. Well, if the numbers aren't right how are you going to find the right numbers? 

A Realtor. Period.

Nov 30, 2006 08:22 AM #56
Rainmaker
275,259
Ken Cook
Content, coding, marketing, host. - Marietta, GA
Content Marketer/Creator
An appraiser, Jeff, an appraiser. They are our bestest buddies.
Nov 30, 2006 09:11 AM #57
Rainer
194
reo_homes for_sale
reo homes for sale - Indianola, WA

I always thought Zillow was overrated  

May 15, 2008 07:10 PM #58
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