But Zillow Said…

J Philip Faranda February 10, 2009

One of the biggest thorns in my side is how Zillow offers to estimate home values for consumers. It never fails to amaze me how I can walk through a home, sit with the owner, apply my 13 years of experience to a detailed market analysis, quote the owner my best price opinion, and then be told with a straight face “but Zillow said it is worth $50,000 higher.” I have had irate buyers call me at 9pm, almost screaming that they just overbid on a home because Zillow said it was worth $25,000 less.

There was a time that I just thought that Zillow hated agents. After watching the site evolve and reading Sara Bonert’s writing, I no longer hold that opinion. I believe that Zillow does want to be a valuable tool. Sara tipped us off to Zillow’s self-published accuracy statistics, which are very instructive.

According to Zillow’s own data, in my own Westchester County, Zillow’s median error is 18.3%. Now, this is Zillows own data, which to me speaks volumes.

zillow

What they are saying is that they aren’t throwing agents under the bus, or that they are 2nd-guessing our local knowledge. 

Consumers who use this feature would be well advised to read the small print and take this into account when using the zestimate feature. Knowing that this transparency is evident at Zillow gives me far more peace of mind in dealing with their valuations.   

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