How accurate is your Zillow Zestimate?

Vicki Moore
Published on May 4, 2017

How accurate is your Zillow Zestimate?

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Realtors have been decrying Zillow estimates since the beginning.  When the cry got loud enough, they were forced to change their estimates to Zestimates.

“The Zestimate® home value is Zillow’s estimated market value for an individual home and is calculated for about 100 million homes nationwide. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value and is not an official appraisal. The Zestimate is automatically computed daily based on millions of public and user-submitted data points.”

What hasn’t changed is the confusion Zestimates create.  If they’re high, then sellers – wanting to believe they’re accurate – complain to realtors that they’re pricing the house too low.  If they’re too low, buyers want to buy the house for that low price and don’t understand why they can’t.

The name has been changed from estimates to Zestimates for a reason. They are not reliably accurate.  The computer does not look inside your house and say, “Oh, you have an updated kitchen.  That means that the value of your house is $50,000 more than the guy down the street.”  Or “I see that your neighbor doesn’t mow their lawn and their Christmas lights have been up so long they’re hanging askew.”

That name changed hasn’t helped one bit.

From Active Rain in 2008

The Financial Samurai first posted: You Can’t Trust Zillow And Its Estimates in 2011

Consumer Affairs rates Zestimates 1 star (and a smidge) out of 5  based on 95 ratings out of 210 reviews.

2012 Frank DeFazio writes for Bigger Pockets: What’s My House Worth? (Don’t Ask Zillow)

Geek Wire 2012: This real estate vet is sick and tired of Trulia and Zillow, and he’s not gonna take it anymore when Jim Abbott, president of the Abbott Realty Group and a 20-year real estate veteran in San Diego, announced plans to pull listings from Trulia, Realtor.com, Zillow and other online real estate sites.

Zillow advice 2016: BIG changes in your Zestimate? Read the Zillow announcement to find out why.

Sued.  Again.

In the latest kerfuffle, Barbara Andersen, a home seller and real estate litigation attorney, is suing Zillow trying to force them to take down the estimate of her home.

The title of this post is misleading – to me, anyway:  Zillow Sued By Homeowner Because Its Estimate Is Lower Than The Seller Wants To Sell The House For.

The problem is not what “she wants to sell the house for.”

“Buyers browsing the site may believe the estimates are actually appraisals, but Zillow doesn’t present these as anything other than estimates.”

Zillow doesn’t present these as anything other estimates but the public is relying on them as appraisals, now what?

“Since the recession, Andersen has been attempting to sell her home on different occasions. However, a tremendous roadblock to same has been the fact that Zillow posts a “zestimate” of person’s homes without their permission, consent and/or any license to do so…”

This non-appraisal has devalued her house and contributed to the difficulty in selling the property for it’s “real” value.  (My summation.)

The article writer comments, “Andersen doesn’t explain why she feels Zillow should legally be obligated to obtain permission from homeowners before posting its estimates. Nor does she attempt to link the multiple failed sales attempts with Zillow’s zestimates, other than implying (in a very conclusory manner) that price fluctuations in Zillow’s listing are keeping buyers away — even when the “zestimate” was higher than her asking price.”

kaz72 describes the problem with this higher price, “Price on my house went up about 30%.  Agree, just lost all credibility with me.  Disappointing as it seemed credible and trending accurately.”

Higher or lower is irrelevant.  Zestimates are confusing just about every person who tries to understand or explain them.  In my non-attorney mind, they’re interfering in the creation of a contract to sell a property – or possibly 100 million properties, as they say they provide Zestimates for.

I don’t know if Zestimates can be considered false advertising, but perhaps they should be.  I know this: they’re not helpful, they’re confusing and frustrating.

More on Zillow problems…

Move Inc vs Zillow in trade secret theft suit

Zillow has settled four federal lawsuits accusing the real estate website of harassment, discrimination, retaliation and of maintaining a “frat house” atmosphere at its Irvine sales office.

Zillow sued for sexual harassment

Zillow on The Real Daily


Today’s Real Estate article “How accurate is your Zillow Zestimate?.” was written by Vicki Moore, Today Sotheby’s International Realty.

You’ll find Vicki selling homes in Mid Silicon Valley, San Mateo County, in the cities of Foster City Homes and Condos For Sale, Pacifica Homes and Condos for Sale, Redwood City Homes and Condos For Sale, Redwood Shores Homes and Condos For Sale, San Carlos Homes and Condos For Sale, San Mateo Homes and Condos For Sale.

Call Vicki at 650-888-9268 or email Vicki@CallVicki.com if you have questions about boosting your home’s value.

Vicki Moore, a licensed California Real Estate Agent serving Mid Silicon Valley | San Mateo County since 1998. Today Sotheby’s International Realty, San Carlos, CA.

You can speak with Vicki by calling/texting her at 650-888-9268 or you can email her at: Vicki@CallVicki.com if you need to buy or sell your Mid Silicon Valley home.

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