Are You Relying on Zillow for Your Numbers? Well, Don’t!

By
Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

Are You Relying on Zillow for Your Numbers? Well, Don’t!

 

This is a caution for buyers and sellers who are consulting the Internet to gather information about pricing in order to make decisions about buying and selling.

 

Are you relying on Zillow for your numbers?

 

Well, don’t!

 

Be careful of the pricing data you draw from the InternetNotice I didn’t say to avoid Zillow, or not use it at all.

 

Just don’t rely on it solely for accurate information OR use it as your only source of data.

 

I shudder whenever I hear someone say “Zillow says my home is worth $xxx,” or “We’ve been consulting Zillow and want to make an offer based on what Zillow says the home is worth.”

 

Curiouser and curiouser, but that Zillow estimate [“zestimate”] is always waaay lower compared to the asking price in the case of buyers, or waaaay above anything comparable in the case of sellers.

 

Don’t get me wrong, there are other sources of data out there and some are even worse.

 

And it’s true that Zillow does point out the likely percentage of errors in different metro areas, and more details about their zestimates, but I doubt any buyer or seller ever reads this, understands it, and takes it to heart.

 

You’re looking for information, you see the zestimate, it’s in writing, so it must be right. Right?

 

Sooo wrong. THAT is the fallacy.

 

Zillow dollars may not be YOUR dollarsThe reality is that your best source of information is a REALTOR® who knows his or her numbers. WHY???

 

  • We have access to all the actives, pendings, expireds and solds on the MLS and all the data
  • We work in the real estate market all the time so we know what is selling and what is not and why
  • we know what appraisers are looking at
  • we understand the factors that impact pricing on a regional, local, community and neighborhood level and
  • we can interpret what all this means for you and your buying or selling decisions.

 

You of course don’t want to overpay for your new home. We can help you avoid doing that.

 

And you want to sell your home quickly and for the best price. We can help here, too.

 

Zillow can’t.

 

My opinion. But let’s see what others who are in the profession think of relying on Zillow. Hmmmm????

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Rainmaker
3,254,317
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

applause applause...when we are asked if Zestimates are accurate,,,we just say no.

Sep 21, 2012 10:49 AM #1
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Sally and David

What else can you really say. So many folks don't even ASK that question, but should. It's a good opportunity to demonstrate our value, isn't is?

Thanks

Jeff

Sep 21, 2012 10:52 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,287,171
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Jeff~ with one blog I am instantly a huge fan, thanks! I can't agree with you more, I will take it a step further and say you can't trust them for anything....of course, in my opinion... 

Sep 21, 2012 10:53 AM #3
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

John

Well, thanks!!  I am flattered! And I totally agree. I will say I have seen a couple of zestimates that did seem close to the mark but most are pretty far off, and while they make all these disclaimers I doubt most buyers and sellers realize this OR understand what it really means.

Perhaps our paths will cross some day - you're not that far away. I will be at the C.A.R. Expo off and on...

Jeff

Sep 21, 2012 11:20 AM #4
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Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

Jeff: I love the disclaimers. People just do not seem to be aware of them. You are right that there is no substitute for you ;-)

Sep 21, 2012 11:29 AM #5
Rainmaker
669,398
Martha Brown
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Annapolis MD 21403 - Annapolis, MD
Your Homes Around Annapolis Agent

Great blog Jeff an suggested. Zillow has its place but not in determining value of a home to purchase or sell. Good job.

Sep 21, 2012 11:56 AM #6
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Melissa - my guess is consumers have no clue they are there nor what they mean. I stand by my original comments!!

Martha - thanks. I don't feel one should ignore Zillow entirely, but you have to understand how they get their data (whatever they are able to get) and what this translates into. There is still no replacement for an agent who works the local market and knows the numbers.

Jeff

Sep 21, 2012 01:29 PM #7
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William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional
Hi Jeff, When I print out and do my CMA presentations, I include from Cloud CMA the Zillow Estimate of values. Usually the properties are relative to each other but usually below my value determined by the comps. I do this because I remind them that Buyers are probably looking at them and they need to see what information is out there. I enjoy their responses, :-)
Sep 21, 2012 02:13 PM #8
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

William

I talk about Zillow as well, because buyers do look at it and they will make offers based on what it say. Sellers need to know what the data out there are saying - it's another data point, whether accurate or not it's something that may enter the equation.

I love CLoud CMA and use if for buyers and sellers.

Jeff

Sep 21, 2012 03:41 PM #9
Rainmaker
3,204,954
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Jeff great observations as always, I find it ironic that Zillow is litigating Trulia about Zestimates as being their proprietary product. I like Cloud as a starting point combining with my own CMA as well!

Sep 22, 2012 12:08 AM #10
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Endre

I thought the litigation was ironic as well - will be interesting to see what happens. I haven't looked at the Trulia product yet.

Jeff

Sep 22, 2012 02:46 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,317,958
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Jeff, this post is so deserving of a little gold star.  So many times I get clients saying "Zillow" or "Trulia" Says....

I've ended up telling a couple of clients to quit using those sources because it really has wasted a lot of time when I have to do leg work on a foreclosed property that they want to buy found in Zillow and then I have to tell them, yes, it was foreclosed on two years ago and the new buyers have been in the home for the last year and a half with no intention of selling...hey...if it's on the internet it must be true, right???

Sep 22, 2012 08:49 AM #12
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude
Nick - it's scary how wrong data can be out there, but most consumers probably assume it's accurate. Providing our own market reports allows us the chance to show that WE know our numbers, and buyers and sellers have the benefit of accurate information.
Sep 22, 2012 10:00 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,287,171
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Jeff~ just to let you know how far off they can be...."On the same house, the mentioned company has shown the value of it to be as low as 1,780,000 and as high as 3,900,000"- 

I think that's says it all....And BTW, I agree and I will be at the expo as well...Thanks again....

 

Sep 22, 2012 02:08 PM #14
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