Minding my own real estate business when out of the blue came an email from Zillow telling me my Schaumburg Market Area here in Northwest Chicago had decreased 5.3% and had I been aware of it? WHAT? CUMON!
I knew the market was in a slight downturn but 5% a quarter in the Midwest? Seemed suspicious but I left it aside and thought nothing further about it. But it stewed and stewed in my head! How did they come to find those numbers? How could I verify those numbers that were being spread thru the internet like a bad case of athlete's foot? How could I keep my blood pressure down!
A little background here first. I have always been suspicious of Zillow and their numbers and on two different occasions have found them faulty and downright ficticious with available listings in my market area. Duplicates, padding, going outside the area and including them in specific 'high hit' zip codes - naw, that doesn't happen with Zillow! Yes it's true - that's what I found on two separate occasions.
SO NOW THIS! After a bunch of exhaustive research this is what I've found. Using our MLS solds for the 1st quarter of 2008 this is the scoop. (Nudge yourself if you fall asleep during the numbers presentation).
Sold Volume May 2007 - $10,604,700 Sold Volume May 2008 - $20,202,201 -402,499 or -3.8% Down 3.8% FOR THE YEAR This is only off by $403,000 which is about 1.25 homes in my market area. SO THAT'S NOT BAD!
Average Sold Price May 2007 - $342,000 Sold Price May 2008 - $319,000 - 7% Down 7% BUT WAIT, WHAT IF MORE LOWER PRICED HOMES SOLD WOULDN'T THAT BRING DOWN THE AVERAGE PRICE. I had thought that first-time homebuyers were spurring on the market here and according to these numbers I think it's true.
# of Units Sold May 2007 - 31 May 2008 - 32 I'm not even going to bother figuring this out it's so minuscule. SO THAT'S NOT A DECENT PERCENTAGE THAT ZILLOW COULD HAVE USED??
Hmmm. Where does Zillow get the numbers? I have all the closed sales with fairly certain accuracy from the MLS here in the area. What does Zillow use to tout these numbers?
The email also went on to tell me how I should help sellers set realistic prices for their home using Zillow! Yikes - but where did they get those numbers! I've got numbers too and nothing matches up!
Working my fingers and pencil to the bone I have come up with one conclusion - THEY MAKE THEM UP! That's what I think and my pencil proves it. Why not try it in your market area & see if it isn't true for you too?
What's truly sad is the public is not aware of this scam. It's a plain and simple "information" scam that the public doesn't realize yet. You can provide all sorts of numbers, statistics, and whatever fancy graphs you can chart but they are of no effective use to Mr. Public. Mr. Public just wants those numbers that the shifty realtors are hiding from them, so in steps Zillow.
SCAM. The site just doesn't work.
So folks I've posted what and how the market truly is in my area. I've got numbers too!
Lyn Sims at RE/MAX Suburban (847)230-7324
Northwest Suburban Chicago Areas of Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Elk Grove Village, Roselle, Medinah, Itasca, Bloomingdale, Hanover Park, Streamwood, Bartlett, Elgin, South Elgin, St. Charles.