If You Really Want To Buy That House, Stop Doing What You're Doing

Real Estate Agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate 516-457-7103

When I asked a buyer how they were coming up with the numbers when they made offers on the last three houses they liked and lost, the answer astounded me.  In each case, the offer had no relation whatsoever to the listing price and seemed to make no sense at all.  It wasn't as if any of them were within $10,000 of the asking price, or $5,000, or anything else that might have given me a clue.  They looked at me, wide eyed and said they based it on Zillow's Zestimate.

It took me back to my days at Sotheby's.  Whenever there was a major auction, the press was there in full force.  All the major news services were represented, some reporting on the spot coverage, others writing their articles, yet to be printed.  One evening, during a very important and well attended auction, people were spread out in three rooms to accommodate the huge numbers.  I watched and listened as one reporter made a statement live that was absolutely untrue.  It was a mistake, to be sure, but it was broadcast on a major network on television, thereby giving it credibility.  I would have been hard pressed to convince anyone who heard the report that the information was wrong.

It is the same, I'm afraid, with sites like Zillow.  Because it has authority status by sheer numbers of visitors alone, people believe what they find there, right or wrong.  I can't tell you the number of times I have to caution both buyers and sellers to take the data they find with a grain of salt.  Sellers are often expecting inflated numbers based upon an erroneous Zestimate, seemingly in their favor, while buyers sometimes have to lose a few properties before they let go of their instinct to follow the numbers they see.  As for the couple in this story, they finally got it, and their next appropriately priced offer bought them a house they loved.



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Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Oh those Zestimates are all over the board aren't they.  They drive me nuts!  Sellers pull them up as well and tell me my market analysis based on comps in the area are wrong because Zillow says their home is worth more.  Argh!

Jan 29, 2014 08:10 AM #1
Kaye Swain
Keller Williams Real Estate Roseville CA - Roseville, CA
Your Roseville Real Estate Agent

Good points!

Jan 29, 2014 12:48 PM #2
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

So glad it all worked out. Trying to tell them Z is often wrong is an uphill battle, for sure.

Feb 08, 2014 09:12 PM #3
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Geri Sonkin

Long Island Real Estate & Staging Expert
Need a staging, or real estate help, contact me now!

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