Zillow Zestimate is Zilly: How You Can Combat a Low Valuation

zillowRecently I listed a beautiful home in Cobb County that was unique in the sense that there weren’t really any close comparable sales to help us price it. In order to protect my seller’s best interests, I suggested he get an appraisal, which he did. Much to his and my delight, it came back at $770k, and we agreed to price the property at $775k.

My seller was disappointed with his “zestimate” that zillow.com was broadcasting at $563,470, and his concern was what it may be communicating to the buyers out there given we were over $200,000 higher. As a result, he reached out to Zillow for advice on how he could change his zestimate to reflect his new found value. After some back and forth, here’s how Zillow responded:

Hello,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us about your Zestimate concerns. To begin, I would like to note that the Zestimate is an estimate derived from our proprietary algorithm. The data included in this algorithm include physical attributes, tax assessments, and prior and current transactions. The Zestimate is simply an estimate using the best information available to us. Please know that we do not intend for the Zestimate to replace a comparative market analysis as they can take into account market intricacies that the Zestimate cannot. The Zestimate is really meant to be a starting point in determining a home’s value and is not an official appraisal. To learn more about the Zestimate, we encourage our users to follow this link: http://www.zillow.com/zestimate/.

Please also note that we do not directly edit or remove Zestimates. While we monitor customer feedback for systematic issues with the algorithm, we do not change individual Zestimates in response to customer feedback. We understand however, that some homes may be unique in ways that are not well captured by existing data. To provide more information on your Zestimate, we encourage you to include your estimated value in the ‘Owners Estimate’ section of your property page. This provides the opportunity for you to explain what you feel your home is worth given its unique features. The following link provides further instruction on adding your owner estimate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDWoOSfBJwM&index=6&list=PL19997636F72B70D8

If you notice that your home facts are incomplete or incorrect you can edit them at the following link:

http://www.zillow.com/sellerlanding/edityourhome/

Updates to your home facts will be factored into your home’s Zestimate, however, if the updates are not significant enough to impact the home’s value, your Zestimate may not change.

If you are looking for further clarification around the Zestimate, then please go to the link below for a short video explanation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnrlgU9DrS4

I hope the information I provided today was helpful in addressing your concerns; however please do not hesitate to reply to me with anything more you would like to discuss.

Thank you for your understanding.

Thank you for using Zillow,

Erin H
Zillow Consumer Care

If you really want to update your property, feel free to do so, but realize that Zillow is just a big data company who is trying to gather as much information as they possibly can in the real estate space. It’s not quite clear what Zillow’s end game is at this moment, but they are vastly more concerned with mindshare amongst the the real estate buyers than they are in what your home is worth. Zillow loves the attention that this little blind dart hurling towards a dart board affords them. Don’t get bent out of shape about it, and certainly don’t listen to it! It was never meant to be accurate. In fact, it’s meant to be controversial because controversy sells.

Did you know that Zillow’s agreement with the MLS community allows them to market real estate agents’ listings and then sell the leads that they generate back to the very agents who provide the listings? That’s why you see all the featured agents next to the listings you view. Those people aren’t featured for free. Hey, we live in a capitalist world, and I can’t blame them for creating a snappy revenue stream. I just want everyone to see Zillow for what it really is, a mouse trap. There is hardly a week that goes by on the list side that I don’t field a question about the zestimate or Zillow, but it’s just one of over 40 sites that our listings feed to now. As much as everyone would like to think it moves the needle, it doesn’t. It takes a lot more than Zillow or a zestimate to sell property. The Peters Company’s listing experience will ensure that you get top dollar for your home in the least amount of time. We’ll provide you with a customized marketing plan to achieve your goals. Visit us today at www.ThePetersCompany.com, and let’s get started!

Written by Andy Peters

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