Does Zillow Have A Bad Rap With Homeowners?

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Zillow

I often get people that ask me questions about Zillow through my profile.  I try to answer each one, so keep them coming!  They give me good fodder for blog posts!  But it is also interesting to hear what is going through your minds with regards to Zillow

I was recently asked the following question from Carl Martens

Zillow really hit the market strong by providing a site where homeowners could find out what their home was worth, however once the data was determined to be inaccurate Zillow caught a bad rep...what has Zillow done to correct this and/or regain the trust of consumers?

To answer his question:

 Actually, based on internal research, we don't have a bad rep with homeowners.   We found that 88% of our audience is likely to recommend Zillow to someone they know.   And 65% of our monthly traffic comes from repeat visitors.  Further, 25% came 10+ times last month!  So I don't think people would recommend the site or continue to visit it if they were having trust issues.   

Zestimates are something that we are constantly working to improve.  However, we know that we will never be 100% accurate.  We have tried to be as transparent as possible about this by 1) Posting our accuracy numbers for every county and 2) by placing a disclaimer next to every Zestimate that says if they would like a more accurate valuation the homeowner should contact a real estate professional.  We have also let home owners 'claim their home'which allows a homeowner to update/correct any information displayed online by creating an 'owner's estimate'.  An owner can publish information such as a kitchen remodel or a view they may have that adds value.   

We are also working to expand our product offering, beyond Zestimates, to make Zillow a site where people routinely come to discuss real estate.  Since launching Zillow in Feb 2006, examples of some of the functionality we have added include:

  • The ability to advertise "For Sale" properties for free.  You can upload unlimited photos to each listing. 
  • Real Estate Guide with 100's of articles that anyone can read, post to or edit.
  • Q&A modules on each home which anyone can ask or answer questions about a specific home.
  • Over 6,500 online neighborhood communities across more than 130 U.S. cities where people can discuss their neighborhoods.  This is a huge opportunity for real estate professional to jump in and showcase their neighborhood expertise. 

And right now we are working on a tool that will allow Brokers to bulk upload their listings for freeto the site.  All of these components of Zillow are attracting an audience of about 4.4 million uniques each month. 

Hope this answers your question!

Sara

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Rainmaker
136,951
Jessica Horton Jessica Horton Realty
Jessica Horton - Jessica Horton & Associates - Griffin, GA
Jessica Horton: I'm not #1... You Are!

Please send me an e-mail when it goes live.  I will go slumming that day and check it out.  =]  J/K

I understand the need to take baby steps...but you guys are getting there.  Slowly but surely.

Oct 24, 2007 01:04 PM #38
Rainmaker
704,370
Brian Block
RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President - McLean, VA
Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate
Sara, I find that the majority of my clients have been using Zillow on their own as well.  By the way, one of my most recent listings was found and sold because a homebuyer found the listing I posted on Zillow.
Oct 24, 2007 10:40 PM #39
Rainer
51,758
Catherine McKendry
Re/Max Connection - Williamstown, NJ
Realtor Associate

                I need to ask a question on up-dating of the homes that are used to determine the comps.I find that when used by a seller or a buyer to get the value on an area that some of these homes sold are to old to be used in todays market.I myself do add my listing to the site and have had some off the wall estimates and pose the question do I leave it or delete it from the site ? The homes that it shows as comps are not even close to what I am listing in features or size.I as a Realtor know the difference because it is my job to know the area I am listing and selling and what homes are the same as what I am going to list for sale.The average consumer does not know that the one around the corner that sold either higher or lower does not compare to the home they have or want to buy.When I hear a buyer quote pricing off of any site they can search that is 50,000 lower than what they are buying I have to do damage control for the mistakes of inadequate info on the sites.Consumers look to the Web Sites for up to date information and take what is posted as or given to them as a solid price. On the other hand ones that are over valued also cause an issue with the same out come for the consumer as well.I think we have become an industry that has been flooded with to much incorrect information and sites that have not perfected the consept of controlling the information the consumer recieves by making sure it is up-dated every week or so. Our Realtor sites are up-dated every day for just that reason.Either do it correctly or not at all.

  I also fell the site is a great tool when it becomes an up-dated system with more information fields that correctly search what a home has in more detail. That is why it is called a Comp not aall most !! 

Oct 27, 2007 01:43 AM #40
Rainmaker
182,150
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment on this post.  Your points-of-view are fascinating to hear and discuss.  We are constantly digesting what we have from the real estate professional community.  Special thanks to David G (from Zillow) for jumping in and addressing some of the concerns and questions.  Michael really hit the nail on the head in his comment above with the following statement.

"David Gibbons from Zillow on a couple of occasions. He's been gracious and willing to listen to what I and others have to say. What I've come to realize is that they are making a real effort to put out some of the fire Zillow's drawn since it launched." 

 

 

Oct 27, 2007 10:01 AM #41
Anonymous
Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

If you are OK with homeowners, why don't you let them opt out of the zestiamte, especially if it is inaccurate & they are trying to sell their home? 

 Isn't it true homeowners have asked for the opt-out?

 

 

Oct 31, 2007 09:57 AM #42
Rainmaker
346,423
Dawn Maloney
RE/MAX Trinity Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist - Hudson, OH
330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio
That would be a good solution.
Oct 31, 2007 11:13 AM #43
Rainer
11,334
David Gibbons
Zillow.com - Seattle, WA

Aaaaaaah Joe. We're going to have to find you a new question. ;-)

Seriously though - below this I've posted my reply from a week ago when I was asked that exact same thing by "sellsius" on your blog. I assumed you'd posted it (here's a link to that post for context.) Is it possible I had that conversation with Rudy? Anyhow, please read that post and my comments - I explained in some detail why it's important for Zillow to be a neutral destination, equally benefiting sellers AND buyers (and agents, brokers etc.) This win-win-win dynamic has been fundamental to Zillow's success so far and we're not messing with it. We acknowledge the fact that a seller's list price is infinitely more important than the Zestimate value but buyers (and others) are genuinely interested in Zestimate values, so no, we don't plan to remove those from the site.

Here's my response from the conversation referenced above; 

"Sellsius - we’ve had this discussion countless times. As I have pointed out, the far more common complaint is feedback like GoodCall’s - i.e. “why is my home not on Zillow?” We listen intently to our users. Most people want their homes and Zestimates on the site and four million visitors vote for Zestimates with their mouse each month. You are wrong on this issue and every time we have discussed it, I have conceded that we’ve had some requests to have Zestimates removed from Zillow - so, you’re not breaking any news here.

I could introduce you to homeowners and professionals who are unhappy that their sale price and tax information is part of the public record. The first example you list above actually falls into that category. That doesn’t change the fact that transparent and publicly available property records are good for society and that we as a society should not make random exceptions to this law.

Transparency aside, do I need to point out that you are arguing against free speech here? Does it really surprise you that some people would like their Zestimate to be different?

We listen to our site’s visitors and have received had a lot of feedback from sellers and agents about Zestimates on listings. When a home is for sale its list price is FAR more important than the Zestimate value and user feedback has helped us to realize that. In response to this feedback, we’ve significantly redesigned the way listings are posted on Zillow to make the list price the primary value attached to the home. And we will continue to innovate for our sellers based on their feedback.

If you have any constructive feedback, we’d love to hear it. This discussion however is getting old."

Oct 31, 2007 01:47 PM #44
Rainer
11,334
David Gibbons
Zillow.com - Seattle, WA

Michael -

Sorry if you read my reply as flippant. Fact is, we gave this much thought before even launching Zillow. Zestimates were a big bet and Zillow's audience has clearly indicated that many many people value free and instant access to estimates on all homes. No-one benefits from 'hiding' Zestimates. Today, as you know, buyers can find free value estimates on many many media and brokerage sites; it makes no sense to remove them from Zillow - especially considering Zillow's the most transparent about accuracy and owner participation in data published on the home. Zillow is the only website where owners can claim their homes and publish facts and estimates.

With all due respect and with full appreciation that people's homes are their most valuable assets, there isn't a good argument for hiding Zestimates and there are about 4 million arguments every month for not hiding them. A true market outcome is not made more likely by removing transparency - if estimates are clearly ill informed, the owner or listing agent has the ability to set the record straight. 

Remember that for better or for worse, a Zestimate is only an opinion of value - it's not an appraisal. We are quite confident that we've published that opinion in a prudent way.

We agree that the list price is far more important than the Zestimate value and it's treated as such on the site (e.g. find the Zestimate on this listing) Where we disagree is that it wouldn't benefit anyone (seller included) to 'hide' that Zestimate.

Oct 31, 2007 04:08 PM #45
Rainmaker
440,212
Ted Baker
Carmody and Associates LLC - Winter Haven, FL
MidFloridaMediation.com

I am going to have to come back into this conversation - as I was one of the early commentors at the beginning of the thread.

Zillow is not free speech.  Free speech is what gives Michael and the others the opportunity to voice their opinions.  But while everybody gets their own opinions - they do not get their own facts.  

Zillow is a commercial application of public records - and you don't opt out of public records any more than you can remove pages from the Supreme Court Reporter just because you don't agree with the result of the case.  

There are a number of automated valuation systems available on the internet.  Some are professionally oriented, some are targeted at consumers.  Zillow seems to get a lot of flack because they are perhaps bigger and more innovative than some of the others. ("you can tell the pioneers - they are the ones with the arrows in their backs" - Adam Osborne, creator of the Osborne Computer)

The numbers provided by the Zestimate are approximate.  Folks - Zillow has never visited the home in question.  That is our job as Realtors or Appraisers. They don't take into account the new carpet in the living room ? It is not on the public records. But they have the sale price of all reported sales from public records and the square footage of the house - also from public records.  They can do the math and come up with some excellent comparative information down to the neighborhood level.  They can crunch numbers better than I can and they give me trends and patterns that I don't want to take the time to develop on my own.  Do I take the Zestimate as something written on a stone tablet for Moses ? Of course not.  I am going to use my professional knowledge and experience to adjust the value based upon the fact that I actually have visited the property and I know about the neighborhood, having been selling there for "x" number of years.  

Zillow is a tool.  I find it useful and I find that my clients have already looked at Zillow - so I think I need to be aware of what they are looking at so that I can give them my professional advice.   But if any of my friends at AR don't like Zillow, my advice is - don't use it.  Your choice.  But you have real professional assets in Sara Bonert and David Gibbons and other Zillow representatives who are willing to listen to your views and constructive criticism and take your thoughts back to corporate to try to improve the product for your use.  If you don't like Zillow today - tell them what you would like to see and come back in a few months and keep an open mind - because they seem to be responsive to our comments.

It is hard for me to understand what more we could ask for.   

Oct 31, 2007 04:54 PM #46
Anonymous
Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

 Michael--Well stated.  We are in complete agreement. 

 Ted.  The zestimate is NOT a public record.  It is a proprietary creation of zillow.com. There is a difference.

The Zillow tool---A shovel is a tool, but it doesn't give you the right to dig up your neighbor's lawn. What I mean my that remark is that just because something is useful to you (or the buyer, or the advertiser) does not justify a violation of a homeowner's right, one of which is the right to REMOVE false or misleading information about their most prized possession.  An inaccurate zestimate is false & misleading--- it is really that simple.  If you disagree, then we will be forever miles apart.

Leaving an inaccurate zestimate (which Z readily admits is an error prone "first step") next to a calculated "for sale" price is unfair to the seller and may jeopardize their (& the LA) efforts to sell the property.   It is the equivalent of me standing in front of your house with a sign that says "This house is only worth $300,000.  This estimate was calculated using public data" --when you have it fairly listed for $340,000.  I guess you would think that perfectly fine-- but your seller, if it were me, would show you the door.

To answer my own question : YES, owners have asked to opt-out (see this post: homeowner comments from Zillow forum (there are many more) 

http://tinyurl.com/2dvcxf    

Zillow's answer is no.  This is the equivalent of saying THEY have the right to leave a grossly inaccurate estimate on your home, regardless of th e consequences to you.  Hardly homeowner friendly.  Downright unfriendly.  

Also read this homeowner feelings from RipOff Report:

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/207/RipOff0207856.htm 

 David: Here was my response from that post which you did NOT address:

First of all, inaccurate zestimates do not serve anyone in the RE marketplace. Surely you must admit that. But there they are– staring owners in the virtual face. And you say tough cookies– others have a right to see those inaccurate values too– and you say we’re missing the perspective. Geez, find me a padded wall, I need to bang my head.

David, Zillow is doing a good job in other areas— it is a shame they are missing the boat on owners’ rights. What Zillow fails to realize is owners DO have a say, a superior say– regardless of what’s good for buyers, advertisers, neighbors, other sellers, Zillow, VCs, etc. It’s their asset, for gosh’s sake!

This is not a case of balancing what’s good for the most people in the RE marketplace. It is about “rights” of the individual home owner — which outweigh the group’s desire to know stuff (leaving aside that no one needs to know an inaccurate zestimate– that is totally without value)

It appears clear to me (jf) that Zillow does not recognize the exclusive/superior rights of owners we set forth– they use the group to override them. Can you address each right and tell us if you recognize that right?

[Here were the homeowner rights we set forth. RIGHT to decide:

  • where their property is listed for sale  (or not listed)
  • how it is marketed and advertised
  • not have false or misleading information attached to the home, and
  • who will list, advertise and market their home as their agent. ]

Do not focus on the others in the marketplace to justify what Z does– focus on the home owner. And keep in mind– Zillow DOES NOT EXIST without owners— it is their homes which put money in Rich and Lloyd’s pockets (well maybe not yet, with all the VC IOUs and such). It is their asset which draws eyeballs and ad money. That ought to be reason enough to merit them the HIGHEST regard.

I apologize, dear readers, for this extended comment.  

I would be curious of Sara's response as to these homeowner rights-- whether she agrees that homeowners have them-- or not.  (Of course, David, I would love to hear whether you think homeowners have these rights or not)

 

 

 

Nov 01, 2007 12:57 PM #47
Rainmaker
440,212
Ted Baker
Carmody and Associates LLC - Winter Haven, FL
MidFloridaMediation.com

Thank you Joseph, but we may agree to disagree. 

It is my understanding that the source of the underlying data is public property records.  My characterization is that Zillow is a commercial public record application.  The analogy that I draw is that the legal case reporter books are frequently published by private publishers.  There are for example three separate published versions of the Supreme Court Reporter. The information contained is drawn from the court cases with the addition of the publisher's proprietary indexing and comments on the cases.  But the case law must be presented in its entirety.

So I do not believe that an owner has the right (or should have right) to remove or opt out of the data base.  On that point we disagree. 

I believe that Zillow does give an owner an opportunity to identify his home and provide additional information that does not appear in public record (such as landscaping, remodeling, decorating, upgrades) for consideration by someone who is reviewing the record or a Realtor may provide additional information pertaining to a listing for sale.  Doesn't that help to avoid the potential for an owner to be harmed ? And, forgive me, but if a buyer showed up at the door with a current appraisal - the owner would not be bound to sell at that price.  This is still a negotiation and Zillow is only a piece of the puzzle. 

The underlying records of the property appraiser or taxing authorities are generally available on line to the public.  Do you suggest that the owner be permitted to remove their records?   

There is room here for disagreement, but I am not persuaded to alter my position.  Nor do I expect you to be.  Technology brings new challenges in areas of privacy and access to public records.  It may ultimately take legislation to resolve our differing opinions.  But at least our AR family is being exposed to both sides of the question with your help. 

Nov 01, 2007 01:37 PM #48
Anonymous
Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

I appreciate your opt-out analagy Ted but I think it off point.  First of all, opinions on cases & case law are not equivalent to economic values attached to a single home-- they do not affect the marketing of my home-- a transaction-- commerce.  There is a huge difference even talking about home values in a neighborhood and MY HOME value.  Also, in your analogy, there is a specific case to refer to from which the opinion is drawn-- where is the equivalent on Zillow?  Yes, if they listed the raw data & said "based on this raw data our opinion is this value"-- OK your point would be supported. For now, it is not.   Zillow's zestimate is cooked up with a "secret sauce" which may be stale and have ingredients that are not edible.  The result can be home poisoning.--- i.e. false & misleading information.

 Also, I am not suggesting an opt out of the public database.  I am suggesting, and homeowners have asked for it, is an opt out of the zestimate, which is a private creation.  In fundamental legal terms, a false or misleading statement about my home is not worthy of any right. is it?

Do you agree that a grossly inaccurate zestimate is false & misleading?  Simple question no one seems to want to answer.  Certainly no one at Zillow has ever answered it.  C'mon Ted, give it a whack.

(It would be also be nice if you can answer whether homeowners have the exclusive rights we mentioned. )

If we start here, maybe we can find common ground.  But if you think a grossly inaccurate zestimate is not false and misleading or that homeowners do not have the 4  rights set forth (which did not include the right to opt out of public records).. no bridge can ever be built to connect us .  In the end it may take a legal case to decide homeowner "rights" vis-a-vis Zillow.

Nov 02, 2007 04:24 AM #49
Rainmaker
440,212
Ted Baker
Carmody and Associates LLC - Winter Haven, FL
MidFloridaMediation.com

Thanks Michael and Joseph for allowing me to try and catch up.  You both are more familiar with the inner workings of Zillow than I am.

First, to close the loop on my law book analogy, The three versions of the Supreme Court Reporters are provided by Lawyers Coop Publishing, West Publishing Company and the official Supreme Court Reporter.  The case opinions are, obviously the the same but Lawyers Coop and West have their own proprietary material in the form of indexing the content (the West Key System) and different notes and comments.  My point was that there would be no right to exclude a case merely because the publisher was a private commercial publisher.  Public records are public records.  Not a perfect analogy - but your comments and mine have tended to be late at night and it was the best I could do at the time.

Second, I work in Central Florida where the accuracy of Zestimate is not all that bad.  I believe David provided a link that showed the relative accuracy of their data base for different markets - and on quick glance it appeared that my markets were considered to be more accurate than some.   

Third, I have assumed that the county property records (which will tend to be at least a year out of date) adjusted for more recent neighborhood sales from county transfer records and applied on a cost per square foot basis would be the simplified explanation of their calculations.  Most parcel ID numbers at the county level (I am speaking from my Florida experience now) define the actual neighborhood or subdivision, so trends based up sales in the appropriate subdivision should be applicable.  So if either of you or David could let me know what error exists in my thinking or what nuance or additional sophistication exists in their approach - then I would have a better understanding. (I may learn something here, if I am not careful). But that approach would seem to give me a starting point that would enable me to compare properties in a market based upon a consistent set of assumptions (like trying to compare grade point averages from different schools). Although I do not represent that I think the result of this process is a final usable estimate of value - only a starting point.

Then the owner or the real estate professional can improve on the zestimate by adding additional home or neighborhood information derived from actual inspection of subject property and  judgment and experience of the professional or the homeowners knowledge of relevant improvements to the property that do not impact on the public records.  It would seem to me that that gives the homeowner a chance to protect himself from an incorrect Zestimate - but don't be surprised if the county property appraiser uses the information to raise the assessed value.  I don't think you can have it both ways. 

But, I am sorry, I cannot agree with the "right" of the homeowner to opt out as long as the information is derived from public or independent sources.  The database must be complete to be useful.  Perhaps the better analogy would be the credit reporting system.  As inaccurate as that data is - and with the potential to harm the consumer - I could not argue for a right of a consumer to opt out of the system. 

I do, however, agree with both of you that Zillow and other providers should feature a prominent disclaimer that the figures are based upon public records alone and should not be relied upon as being a comprehensive opinion of value, probably listing factors that are not available to the provider to be considered. 

Personally, I believe that the easy availability of this information encourages commerce and facilitates a more informed consumer - just like the private listings of automobile pricing and option pricing protects an car buyer from an uninformed decision at the dealership.  

As computer technology improves, there are an abundance of privacy concerns and imperfections that  need to be addressed.  We are in a brave new world here.  But under current law (which can be changed) I do not believe that an opt out privilege is the answer.  My opinion only.

Where is David when I need him   (o:

 

 

Nov 02, 2007 05:06 AM #50
Rainer
11,334
David Gibbons
Zillow.com - Seattle, WA

I share Michael's handicap (too many meetings today) but I am definitely reading all of this. My favorite quote so far is that this discussion is ... "like chess without the pieces." I couldn't agree more. 

Joe - you and Michael don't actually agree. If I read you both correctly, Joe, you are suggesting that all owners opt out of Zestimates whereas Michael is arguing that only sellers do so. Michael - do I have this correct? At times both of you have argued that only "grossly inaccurate" be "hidden" by owners - which we should strike off the list of suggestions because it would be impossible to impliment (how does the seller know / how do you define inaccurate etc. etc.) Hopefully the one thing we can agree is that this is a very complex issue and yes, I'm thoroughly enjoying Ted's level headed analysis join the discussion.

Bottom line:

1) No buyer has ever asked that we allow sellers to hide their Zestimates.

2) Buyers (and others) expect to find Zestimates on Zillow. When they are not there, they complain.

3) The number of owners who have told us they want their home (and Zestimate) on Zillow totally dwarfs the small number of owners who have said they would like to hide their Zestimate.

We listen to our users and innovate on their behalf. It's working extremely well. We don't plan to change that.

Nov 02, 2007 07:09 AM #51
Anonymous
Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

I have stated that ANY homeowner that wishes to, should be able opt out of a zestimate. i.e not have it displayed.  This applies to ANY zestimate.  You often compare what happens in the offline world to justify what should, by extension, happen on the online world-- well, in the offline world you cannot put your estimate of the value of my home on my lawn.  The zestimate on my home is a sign on my virtual lawn.

The case of grossly inaccurate zestimates really requires no debate -- they are patently false and misleading. You have never disagreed-- your only objection is "how the heck do we measure what is grossly inaccurate."  That is not a logical refutation of the proposition and begs the question.  Why do you calculate median error rates?  Look at the upper error range and you will see those gross ones.  Are error rates calculated AFTER a sale or before it?

 Below the Bottom line ;)

1. Homeowners HAVE asked to opt out.  Zillow has said no.

2. Whether buyers expect zestimates does not affect 1.  It is not a question of what "buyers" want-- it is what homeowners are entitled to, and want.

3.  Unknown-- do a poll and see what % of owners want the "right" to opt out.  This is quite different than not displaying a zestimate (the exercise of the right).  

4. Zillow does not think homeowners have the right to opt-out of ANY zestimate. 

David, are you saying there are no grossly inaccurate zestimates?


 

Nov 02, 2007 04:11 PM #52
Anonymous
Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

Ted, your credit system analogy is much better than the case law analogy-- at least now we are dealing with numbers instead of words and attachment of that number to a specific person.  But, it is still a flawed comparison.  My credit score is not displayed on the internet-- perhaps you think it should be-- if so, we grow even further apart.

 BTW, Zillow does not "correct" zestimates based on owner input-- the original zestimates remain.

 

Nov 02, 2007 04:21 PM #53
Rainmaker
440,212
Ted Baker
Carmody and Associates LLC - Winter Haven, FL
MidFloridaMediation.com

Good morning Joseph.

Again the credit analogy may apply as you can post an explanation for a negative item - but the negative item remains unless you dispute the accuracy.  

No - I believe the credit score should be available only to authorized users.  We do not disagree on that one (I will notify the media).  But I believe that there is a legal framework under which the credit reporting agencies operate which establishes the confidentiality of their files.  This exemption does not exist in the real property valuation field (yet)

David did not address my question as to the method for calculation of the Zestimate.  Is there any procedural reason why the Zestimates in one state may be more or less accurate that data in another state because of differences in the accuracy of the underlying data.  In other words is the data of the county property appraiser less representative of the market value of the property in some states than in others.  In Florida, each county property appraiser is supposed to be establishing an assessed value that is 100% of the market value (although the number will lag by a year in real accuracy because of their appraising cycle).  Clearly some counties are not as accurate and there are discrepencies.  The rules provide for a request from the homeowner to seek an adjustment - but, naturally, we don't have many people complaining about assessments that are too low.  (oh please, please raise my taxes...)

I used to work in  mergers and acquisitions of privately held companies.  There was always a tension between the income reported by the owner for tax purposes as an indicator of value of the company and what the owner wanted to show as revenue for valuation purposes.  We may have the same problem here.  If we find a mechanism for Zillow to improve their accuracy - what happens when the property appraiser uses the Zillow information as part of their basis for raising the assessed value in the following cycle.  What are the owners going to say then.

In areas where the Zestimate is incorrect - is it your experience that the error is always to the low side - or do we have situations where the value is high? Is there any procedure in Zillow for the the real estate professionals to provide area data to support a review of a block of values and a subsequent adjustment.  Can we participate  in improving the accuracy of the data?  

I certainly support any effort to improve the quality of the database and I support the suggestion that a disclaimer screen be provided to warn users of the possible limitation on the accuracy of the data.  But, Joseph, I cannot agree with the suggestion that homeowners be able to hide their data or opt out of the system.  From a public policy standpoint, I believe there is more value to having a complete database available.  I would suggest that our disagreement on this issue would be an appropriate matter for debate in Congress.  But so long as the public record information is available on line, I can see no purpose to excluding segments of data from the commercial applications based upon that  data.  So to exclude owners data from Zillow - I believe you would have to favor ending availability of public records as well.  I do not believe that to be beneficial - nor could I support such a direction. 

If there is a rational relationship between the public record data and the Zillow (and other provider) data - and if there is a provision for a homeowner to  add information to his home's record - then I believe that the availability of Zillow type data is beneficial and useful.  The final correction is a part of the negotiation process in the market place.  And it is our task as real estate professionals (Realtors and appraisers) to represent our client's interests and to be familiar with the automated systems out there that the buyers may be viewing and be able to respond with rational argument that the list price is supportable with market data.

Thanks, Joseph for your consideration. 

Nov 02, 2007 10:23 PM #54
Anonymous
joseph ferrara

 It would take courage for Zillow to do this -- they know owners will choose the opt-out, they just fear how many.    The only reason not to give an opt -out is that they distrust owners to take down only inaccurate zestimates.  If I was on the payroll I would show them exactly how to do it and solve that problem (Ive given them enuf free advice :)

 Ted, thank you.  We share a desire for accurate information and the availability of public information, even if it is flawed.  Where we diverge is Zillow's blend of public data and proprietary secret sauce producing a value they permanent affix to a property without homeowner consent, which can interfere with the marketing and sale of the property.

Nov 08, 2007 04:24 AM #55
Rainmaker
440,212
Ted Baker
Carmody and Associates LLC - Winter Haven, FL
MidFloridaMediation.com
Joseph - All information is flawed because it is dated.  I understand we have disagreements, but it is always a pleasure to talk with a gentleman.
Nov 08, 2007 05:50 AM #56
Rainmaker
440,212
Ted Baker
Carmody and Associates LLC - Winter Haven, FL
MidFloridaMediation.com

Perhaps you could "opt out" Michael.  (sorry about that)

I won't add anything further to this thread - but I will look forward to seeing you, Michael, in another. We will assume a truce is declared here.

(by the way - email updates is a global setting that can be toggled off on the settings page, I believe.  Then you will be notified of updates only on your AR home page)

Nov 08, 2007 09:56 AM #57
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Sara Bonert

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