Why I Despise Zillow.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with McKinney Realty Group

There are many "tools" out there for buyers and sellers to test the water.. But as you read the article below you will come to understand that when it comes time to get serious about buying or selling you need to take those third party things out of the equation! Rely on your professional to guide you in pricing your home in the market or to give you guidance to make a reasonable offer.  


I hate Zillow, and I refuse to apologize for it. I consider Zillow my archival enemy of real estate. Let me explain...

Texas is a non-disclosure state. This means that home values are not disclosed to Zillow. PERIOD. Zillow can use algorithms, mathematical computations and virtual guesses if they like; it doesn't matter. The truth is, Zillow does not have access to what homes have sold for. Not in the Lone Star State.


So what's the big deal?


Not all home owners use Zillow for fun. Some use it to make "REAL" choices and very serious decisions. Some use Zillow to formulate an offer on their home purchase despite the fact that the information used to armor their decision is not only erroneous, but by Zillow's own omission not completely accurate.


Me, my wife and 2 kids live at 11830 Brydan Drive in Cypress, Texas. Any -->local<-- REALTOR® slash home Appraiser would very likely value my home at about $265,000. The rental rate for my home is about $2,500 per month. A conventional mortgage with today's interest rates would mean that you would likely pay about $2,300 per month for my home. This would include what we call in this business PITI. (Zillow is not part of this local business.) PITI is an acronym for Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance.


I visited Zillow's website tonight and entered my address. Here's what they displayed:


I don't think so


The letters EST stand for "ESTIMATED" in my book. 


So why am I being such a hard ass about Zillow? So unkind. Why do I waste my time bashing the popular Zillow Zestimate? After all, they are a very popular and publicly traded company with millions of raving fans. They've managed to be the cool place to play.


Here's why.....


My beacon score hovers around 790. I pay my bills. All of them. I have never had a home owners insurance claim. Last year while shopping for rates I was "declined" by Progressive. I was told.... "We can't give you home owners insurance." PERIOD! They didn't want my business.


They said the replacement value  for my home FAR EXCEEDED what my home was actually worth.

I suspect you guys know where I am going with this. After 15 minutes of arguing and on hold music I was told that Progressive uses "several models" to determine a "homes replacement value."




But this isn't just about me. It's about a lot of people.

It's about people like you reading this. It's about the elderly couple who is barely computer literate. They may not GET that Zillow isn't just designed as a neat online real estate "toy." When they go to sell their home or buy a home they'll use the computer computation to "guide them" as they travel through their own real estate choices. LET THE BUYER BEWARE shouldn't be defense of corporate America. To Zillow's defense they do offer a disclaimer outlining their accuracy, or lack thereof.....


zillow zestimates accuracy


A gold star adds "value" to my son's homework who attends kindergarten. It doesn't do that here; not in my opinion. The median error in Dallas is 11.3% apparently this is worth TWO gold stars.

Me and my family succeeded in getting home owners Insurance last year. We simply avoided Progressive Insurance. They are obviously putting their trust in Zillow to help them computate a "rebuilding cost" for their customers.

When I explained this to the representative at Progressive he transferred me to the RETENTION department. When I got there I was transferred to claims, then back to the MAIN MENU.


When you get serious call a professional. Period.








production award  RE/MAX HALL OF FAME, CLASS OF 2011

The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose. All information is copywritten and the property of Greg Nino.  






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Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

thanks for the reblog!!

Feb 12, 2013 01:06 PM #1
Wika Hutchinson
Eugene, OR
Melissa, I never liked zillow when it comes to pricing a home. It's never accurate and they often hit all kinds of sold homes including manufacture homes nearby to get the average.
Feb 12, 2013 02:03 PM #2
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

It's fun, but it's like reading a scandal sheet, you know lots of it is not real.

Feb 12, 2013 02:20 PM #3
Brian Rayl
Home Value Leads - Highland Park, TX
Active Agent and Co-founder Of Home Value Leads

Great choice for a reblog. Greg made some great points. Zillow is just awful in most areas when it comes to "Guestimating" a home value. 

Feb 12, 2013 04:16 PM #4
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Best advice ever!  Use a real estate professional who is in the trenches everyday working with buyers and/or sellers.  Zillow is neither an agent or brokerage.  They glean the information from agents' work product and every home owner in America and make a gazillion dollars by doing nothing but gleaning this information and greating a platform to pimp it out to the general public.  They are confusing and aren't even in real estate.  And businesses use their information?!?!?

Feb 13, 2013 07:24 AM #5
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for the re-blog..I missed this one! It's amazing to think companies would use their inaccurate information...tells me a lot about any business that doesn't take the time to gather their own data or research the place providing data to see if its trustworthy!

Feb 21, 2013 04:46 PM #6
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Hi Melissa~ Really just wanted to say hi. I've missed you! :-)

Feb 22, 2013 02:03 AM #7
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Melissa McKinney

Realtor, www.LivingFayetteville.com
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