I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
ARB57
Posts: 90
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:00 pm

I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by ARB57 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:34 am

I’m sure we’ve all seen threads on this site and others, questioning the accuracy of home valuations on Zillow.

Granted, coming up with a spot-on “zestimate” of millions and millions of homes is no small task. That said I was STUNNED recently to see their estimate of my home nearly CUT IN HALF IN ONE DAY!!. I bought the home for $265,000 a little over a year ago, and until the recent drop, Zillow estimated its value to be about $285,000. Redfin and Realtor.com had similar valuations Zillow NOW says it’s worth: $159,000.

Crazy or not...it is unsettling. The fact is that a growing number of people do their initial home shopping on Zillow (and similar sites) to get a general sense of what homes are worth. As much as I’d like to ignore it all, I’ve been unable to do so thus far.

I contacted Zillow and they say they’ve made some algorithmic changes in order to provide even more accurate zestimates. What??? More accurate??? They say that if the property description is incorrect, I can provide them with the necessary corrections...but they can’t just remove or change the zestimate. I have no problem with the description/features as listed. Based on that description, Zillow said the house WAS worth $285,000...not $159,000. I shudder to think what they are now using as “comps”. For what it’s worth, a couple of days ago, Redfin dropped their estimate to about $159,000. Coincidence? NO. Redfin doesn’t serve the area in which I live...SO (I’m assuming,) they simply plug in Zillow’s faulty data. To their credit, Realtor.com still has the home valued at $267,900.

While I’m not trying to sell the home now, I have some health issues that MAY cause me to list the property sooner than hoped. Anything I can do? Ignoring it has been very, very difficult so far...

HomeStretch
Posts: 2968
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by HomeStretch » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:37 am

Ignoring Zillow and keeping your house well-maintained and up to date are good options for now. Zillow values fluctuate like crazy which is understandably disconcerting. But your house will sell under market conditions which means you should get fair value (whatever it is) when you sell. When the time comes, ignore bottom feeders that try to get your house for 1/2 price based on Zillow.

Goal33
Posts: 1032
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:30 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Goal33 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:40 am

Nothing you can do about it.

My mom is also obsessed and constantly upset about it. I added an extra 20 bathrooms to her property and Zillow put her estimate up another 100k. Still couldn’t make her happy so she made me modify it back... and then it dropped 200k lol :twisted:

Once she listed the property, the Zillow estimate re-adjusted to be accurate.
A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.

User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 5360
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Kenkat » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:42 am

Look at pricing of houses similar to yours and near you that are currently for sale. Look at sold listings in the same vein. These are usually available through some governmental agency website for your area such as county auditor, county recorder, etc. These will be your “comps” or comparables that any serious buyer would look at to value your house and make an offer. Zillow would be pretty inconsequential to a serious buyer.

User avatar
RickBoglehead
Posts: 5021
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am
Location: In a house

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:45 am

Get worked up about a site that everyone knows has lousy valuations, with wide fluctuations, is simply silly.
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

User avatar
Bogle7
Posts: 324
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 9:33 am

Zillow has a GIGO problem

Post by Bogle7 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:49 am

Relax.
1. You can use Zillow (in most places) to see what houses have actually sold for. Just use the filters.
2. Start your own spreadsheet. You don't have to go crazy with it as I have with 978 rows.
3. What do you think your house it worth? What do you base that number on?

stlutz
Posts: 5467
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:08 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by stlutz » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:10 pm

Goal33 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:40 am
Nothing you can do about it.

My mom is also obsessed and constantly upset about it. I added an extra 20 bathrooms to her property and Zillow put her estimate up another 100k. Still couldn’t make her happy so she made me modify it back... and then it dropped 200k lol :twisted:

Once she listed the property, the Zillow estimate re-adjusted to be accurate.
If adding 20 bathrooms onto your house only increases the value by 100K--that's not a very good return on investment. :D

KyleAAA
Posts: 7599
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:35 pm
Contact:

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by KyleAAA » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:14 pm

Zillow and Redfin are competitors and don't share data. Redfin is part of the MLS so they have much better data on homes on the market. For homes not on the market, they rely on a combination of county records and info entered by owners (plus MLS in Redfin's case). Since they both changed at once, maybe some government data changed or the way it was formatted changed, which dirtied their data? Or maybe something happened to bias the results. Zillow tends to be very accurate in aggregate but that doesn't mean they will be very accurate for every home. Buyers don't pay that much attention IME. If it's really a data issue it will work itself out.

jacksonm
Posts: 192
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:48 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by jacksonm » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:19 pm

My house actually DID lose half it's value shortly after I bought it but that was in 2006. According to Zillow it's still not worth what I paid for it but RedFin has me up by about $30k. I'm not selling yet but obviously I prefer Redfin's estimate.

User avatar
onthecusp
Posts: 733
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:25 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by onthecusp » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:21 pm

I wonder if a "comparable" house nearby recently sold cheap. Maybe a pre foreclosure or a transaction between relatives or just a beat to death house that was empty for a couple of years. Zillow has no way of knowing details like that, but instantly provides updates due to public records.

fposte
Posts: 1729
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:32 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by fposte » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:23 pm

No big change on my house. Since they think it's half the size it is (apparently missing the whole second floor) I don't worry about Zillow much.

Afty
Posts: 1099
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:31 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Afty » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:24 pm

Whether Zillow is right or wrong, I don't think there is much you can do about it either way. So your best bet is to ignore it.

hicabob
Posts: 2879
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 5:35 pm
Location: cruz

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by hicabob » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:28 pm

A realtor told me he could have Zillow change the zestimate, get rid of pricing history, etc. on any property. Such power comes with buying ads on Zillow.

KyleAAA
Posts: 7599
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:35 pm
Contact:

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by KyleAAA » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:29 pm

onthecusp wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:21 pm
I wonder if a "comparable" house nearby recently sold cheap. Maybe a pre foreclosure or a transaction between relatives or just a beat to death house that was empty for a couple of years. Zillow has no way of knowing details like that, but instantly provides updates due to public records.
That wouldn't cause a 50% drop. I don't know the innards of their algorithm but I would imagine something like this would have only a very small weight. It's pretty easy to recognize outliers and adjust accordingly.

KyleAAA
Posts: 7599
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:35 pm
Contact:

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by KyleAAA » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:31 pm

hicabob wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:28 pm
A realtor told me he could have Zillow change the zestimate, get rid of pricing history, etc. on any property. Such power comes with buying ads on Zillow.
I'm fairly certain that's not true.

User avatar
greg24
Posts: 3712
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:34 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by greg24 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:32 pm

Zillow mainly seems to be a site that homeowners use to obsess about the "value" of their current home.

DesertDiva
Posts: 637
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:49 pm
Location: In the desert

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by DesertDiva » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:35 pm

Zillow doesn't make money from it's Zestimates. Their revenue comes from Realtors who advertise on the site.

The Zestimate is just click-bait to pull you into the site.

trevorshhh
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:40 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by trevorshhh » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:37 pm

I keep a net worth spreadsheet where I track a few values about my house over time: mortgage remaining, amount paid off (and percentage), and approximate current value. I base my house's percentage of my net worth based on approximate current value minus amount remaining on my mortgage.

For the approximate current value, I use Zestimate because it's easy to automatically query. It also seems to be about right (houses in my neighborhood were all built around the same time and have similar square footage and property and the Zestimate is close to what the recent ones have sold for). I thought about making it an average of similar estimates from other sites, but figured it wasn't worth it. I mostly pay attention to the other numbers in my net worth, but I want to account for this too.

Does anyone else use Zestimate for calculating net worth?
"Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land." -Ecclesiastes 11:2 NIV

crystalbank
Posts: 205
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:21 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by crystalbank » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:41 pm

Zillow is most unreliable of all the online real estate estimates. I'm in the process of going through a Refi and had to get an appraisal. The appraised value is so much more than Zillow's zestimate but lower than Redfin.

I wouldn't lose sleep over it.

Johnny Thinwallet
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:07 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Johnny Thinwallet » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:59 pm

trevorshhh wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:37 pm
I keep a net worth spreadsheet where I track a few values about my house over time: mortgage remaining, amount paid off (and percentage), and approximate current value. I base my house's percentage of my net worth based on approximate current value minus amount remaining on my mortgage.

For the approximate current value, I use Zestimate because it's easy to automatically query. It also seems to be about right (houses in my neighborhood were all built around the same time and have similar square footage and property and the Zestimate is close to what the recent ones have sold for). I thought about making it an average of similar estimates from other sites, but figured it wasn't worth it. I mostly pay attention to the other numbers in my net worth, but I want to account for this too.

Does anyone else use Zestimate for calculating net worth?
I do the same in regards to tracking net worth and attempting to approximate my home's value, though I have somewhat of an elaborate formula for trying to calculate my home's value.

I run a calculation with six different variables, assuming they are somewhat reasonable on the face of their values. Zillow, Redfin, Trulia and realtor.com are four of the six variables. The fifth variable is a standard inflation adjustment from my previous year's home value (so right now that fifth variable is +1.8% of my 12/31/18 estimated home value). The sixth variable is an adjustment from my previous year's home value using actual sales year-over-year figures from our local board of realtors (right now that sixth variable is +3.4% of my 12/31/18 estimated home value).

I take all six of those variables and average them. Then in an effort to be slightly conservative, I subtract 1% and then round down to the nearest thousand dollar mark. Finally, I take that final figure and compare it to recent sales comps of my immediate neighborhood of 500+ homes to see if it's reasonable. If yes, then that final figure is what I plug into my spreadsheet. I only update this once annually on 12/31 so it only takes about two minutes to update.

The only reason I do it this way is to try and "smooth over" any odd jumps up/down from sites such as Zillow or Redfin. Just for kicks, I checked now and the difference between the highest and lowest of my six variables is only $11k. The other four variables are all within that range.

User avatar
MillennialFinance19
Posts: 160
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:06 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by MillennialFinance19 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:03 pm

My house is $280k on Zillow and the FMV would be in the $450k range. My neighbors was the same until he listed at $580k, at which point the value adjusted.

Long story short - if you list, Zillow will adjust.

KyleAAA
Posts: 7599
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:35 pm
Contact:

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by KyleAAA » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:54 pm

MillennialFinance19 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:03 pm
My house is $280k on Zillow and the FMV would be in the $450k range. My neighbors was the same until he listed at $580k, at which point the value adjusted.

Long story short - if you list, Zillow will adjust.
Zillow does not take list price into account. What likely happened is that they got a lot newer/better data when the listing went live because the agent added it.

Bmac
Posts: 331
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:58 am
Location: Seattle

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Bmac » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:06 pm

Maybe you should just sell your house and see who’s right. You or Zillow/Redfin. Otherwise it doesn’t seem like a particularly useful thing to obsess over. Focus on things you can control.

User avatar
FlyAF
Posts: 475
Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:14 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by FlyAF » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:12 pm

greg24 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:32 pm
Zillow mainly seems to be a site that homeowners use to obsess about the "value" of their current home.
This. Bought and sold a lot of homes, I've never once visited Zillow.

User avatar
Phineas J. Whoopee
Posts: 8824
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:18 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:27 pm

I don't know if it's still there (I'm not interested enough to look), but they used to show a chart of their past prices. Mine were all over the place, so I give them no credence, at least with respect to my dwelling. They may or may not be useful for anybody else.

That's part of why I carry my place on my books at book value, - the price the seller and I agreed to more than a decade ago - I have no reliable way to estimate its value as anything else. Marking it to an unknown market wouldn't be rational.

PJW

abner kravitz
Posts: 486
Joined: Tue May 05, 2015 7:42 am
Location: Beaufort County, SC

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by abner kravitz » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:35 pm

Goal33 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:40 am


My mom is also obsessed and constantly upset about it. I added an extra 20 bathrooms to her property and Zillow put her estimate up another 100k. Still couldn’t make her happy so she made me modify it back... and then it dropped 200k lol :twisted:
Is your mom Queen Elizabeth by any chance? That's a lot of bathrooms :shock:

Anyhow, Zillow had my house at 50% of value for a few years, but it seems fairly accurate now.

surfstar
Posts: 1852
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by surfstar » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:36 pm

Zillow has always overestimated our home. Redfin seemed accurate, but now seems to be a bit underestimated.


Also, who cares? Are you selling now/soon?

We don't closely track our NW or would we add home equity #s into it. We look at our retirement accounts and don't assume we would tap home equity to live off of in retirement. Kinda moot for us; again, unless selling.

User avatar
vitaflo
Posts: 1182
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:02 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by vitaflo » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:40 pm

trevorshhh wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:37 pm
Does anyone else use Zestimate for calculating net worth?
No, I use the appraised value my county uses for property taxes. Zillows estimates are both wildly inaccurate and are very volatile in our very non-volatile local housing market.

ARoseByAnyOtherName
Posts: 353
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:03 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:45 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:27 pm
That's part of why I carry my place on my books at book value, - the price the seller and I agreed to more than a decade ago - I have no reliable way to estimate its value as anything else. Marking it to an unknown market wouldn't be rational.
The market isn’t unknown though. You could certainly look at comps of recent sales to determine fair market value, and then discount that by some amount of you wanted to be conservative.

Unless you have a very unusual location/situation carrying the place at the value paid 10 years ago seems very unwise. You don’t have a clear picture of your assets/net worth if you do this.

User avatar
Phineas J. Whoopee
Posts: 8824
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:18 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:12 pm

ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:45 pm
Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:27 pm
That's part of why I carry my place on my books at book value, - the price the seller and I agreed to more than a decade ago - I have no reliable way to estimate its value as anything else. Marking it to an unknown market wouldn't be rational.
The market isn’t unknown though. You could certainly look at comps of recent sales to determine fair market value, and then discount that by some amount of you wanted to be conservative.
...
That's what Zillow does.

PJW

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 17644
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Watty » Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:19 pm

ARB57 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:34 am
That said I was STUNNED recently to see their estimate of my home nearly CUT IN HALF IN ONE DAY!!.
That is really no big deal since it is so obviously wrong that any reasonable person would realize it and ignore it.

A bigger problem would be if it was 10% low which might look plausible to potential buyers.

CMD1
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:10 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by CMD1 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:26 pm

What do you think caused the change - I know you mentioned a change at Zillow. But was there any new listings in the area, I notice often when someone lists, the estimate changes to nearly match the list price. Do you live in an area with a number of sales and listings or very few? What do recent comps show? What is the actual zillow estimate range listed on the site?

User avatar
jfn111
Posts: 1081
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:42 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by jfn111 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:34 pm

I hate Zillow but a lot of my customers use it as a search tool. I just looked at the Zestimate for my home and it's about 10% low.
Actually, being plus or minus 10% isn't bad when your creating a data base of millions of houses.
To answer a previous poster, Zillow is changing their focus from fleecing real estate agents to buying and selling homes. (Zillow Offers) They are also getting into the mortgage and title business. (I'm sure home warranties will be next). They want to be the Amazon of home sales. I called for a client to get an offer on a house I had listed. They were spot on the price but they wanted a 7.4% commission, $1,500 for closing costs and $5,000 for surprise damage repairs. (They are supposed to refund the excess back to the seller but I haven't heard of anyone getting any of it back).
They were pleasant to deal with and offered a quick cash close. I ended up selling it at the Zillow price for a 5% commission. :D

ARoseByAnyOtherName
Posts: 353
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:03 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName » Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:42 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:12 pm
ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:45 pm
Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:27 pm
That's part of why I carry my place on my books at book value, - the price the seller and I agreed to more than a decade ago - I have no reliable way to estimate its value as anything else. Marking it to an unknown market wouldn't be rational.
The market isn’t unknown though. You could certainly look at comps of recent sales to determine fair market value, and then discount that by some amount of you wanted to be conservative.
...
That's what Zillow does.
No, that’s incorrect. They take into account other data other than just comps. And, in my experience the comps they choose are terrible. You could very easily choose better more accurate comps then they do, from what I’ve seen.

And even setting all that aside, just because Zillow may do something poorly doesn’t mean that it’s not doable!

Just because I can’t bake a good apple pie doesn’t mean it’s impossible for anyone on the face of the earth to bake a good apple pie. Just because Zillow can’t accurately estimate the market value of homes doesn’t mean its impossible for anyone on the face of the earth to roughly estimate the market value of homes.

pharmermummles
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:02 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by pharmermummles » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:02 pm

One thing I noticed is that my previously sold history made it look like if I ever sell, I was flipping the house. I purchased in a LCOL area for $109K, but refinanced a few years ago for a new ~$60K mortgage. The mortgage figure actually showed up as a sale on the close date of the refinance, implying the home had been sold for ~$60K at that time (and was the listed price on the map overview). I contacted them, and they were actually pretty good about fixing it, but if I was looking to sell at that time, I can see how that may have affected the market.

fru-gal
Posts: 1189
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:48 pm
Location: New England

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by fru-gal » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:12 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:45 am
Get worked up about a site that everyone knows has lousy valuations, with wide fluctuations, is simply silly.
Zillow is nuts. I've known that for a long time. Just for jollies, I just looked up my house after I read your post, and zillow says its about $550,000. The town property tax appraisal, which is generally accurate is about $350,000.

OP, I really would not waste one moment worrying about this.

stoptothink
Posts: 6542
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by stoptothink » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:29 pm

fru-gal wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:12 pm
RickBoglehead wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:45 am
Get worked up about a site that everyone knows has lousy valuations, with wide fluctuations, is simply silly.
Zillow is nuts. I've known that for a long time. Just for jollies, I just looked up my house after I read your post, and zillow says its about $550,000. The town property tax appraisal, which is generally accurate is about $350,000.

OP, I really would not waste one moment worrying about this.
It can be all over the map, depending on available comps. I'm in a row of townhomes, my neighbor sold a few months ago within $5k of the zillow estimate, but the estimated value of my mom's home (a SFH ~12 miles away) is easily $100k off.

Trader Joe
Posts: 1277
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Trader Joe » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:00 pm

ARB57 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:34 am
I’m sure we’ve all seen threads on this site and others, questioning the accuracy of home valuations on Zillow.

Granted, coming up with a spot-on “zestimate” of millions and millions of homes is no small task. That said I was STUNNED recently to see their estimate of my home nearly CUT IN HALF IN ONE DAY!!. I bought the home for $265,000 a little over a year ago, and until the recent drop, Zillow estimated its value to be about $285,000. Redfin and Realtor.com had similar valuations Zillow NOW says it’s worth: $159,000.

Crazy or not...it is unsettling. The fact is that a growing number of people do their initial home shopping on Zillow (and similar sites) to get a general sense of what homes are worth. As much as I’d like to ignore it all, I’ve been unable to do so thus far.

I contacted Zillow and they say they’ve made some algorithmic changes in order to provide even more accurate zestimates. What??? More accurate??? They say that if the property description is incorrect, I can provide them with the necessary corrections...but they can’t just remove or change the zestimate. I have no problem with the description/features as listed. Based on that description, Zillow said the house WAS worth $285,000...not $159,000. I shudder to think what they are now using as “comps”. For what it’s worth, a couple of days ago, Redfin dropped their estimate to about $159,000. Coincidence? NO. Redfin doesn’t serve the area in which I live...SO (I’m assuming,) they simply plug in Zillow’s faulty data. To their credit, Realtor.com still has the home valued at $267,900.

While I’m not trying to sell the home now, I have some health issues that MAY cause me to list the property sooner than hoped. Anything I can do? Ignoring it has been very, very difficult so far...
I am not sure why you are so concerned about Zillow. I would (and do) ignore.

CurledMoss
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri May 03, 2019 7:08 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by CurledMoss » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:07 pm

Dosen't zillow buy houses now? Buy low sell high 🤣

MarkBarb
Posts: 252
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:59 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by MarkBarb » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:15 pm

Create your own website and value your house on it at whatever you'd like. It just doesn't matter. Worrying about what Zillow thinks about your house is up there with worrying about what your neighbors think of your car. It just doesn't matter.

User avatar
Cubicle
Posts: 135
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2019 1:43 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Cubicle » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:36 am

How can I lower my zestimate? I'll send that to the town for my property tax appeal. And post a note on the door:

"Would be theives, my house is the lowest valued home on the block. The real bang for your bucks will be 3 houses down & across the street."

Put zero confidence in Zillow's numbers. Zero.

bob60014
Posts: 1241
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:59 pm
Location: The Land Beyond ORD

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by bob60014 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:38 am

I still use the 90-10 rule for most sites........dont believe 90 percent of what's on there and be highly suspect of the remaining 10 percent. :)

Kagord
Posts: 110
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:28 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Kagord » Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:41 am

Like it or not, buyers are looking at Zillow as a data point, and I believe Zillow has a contributing role in the efficiency of the housing market, for better or worse. I would not discount it as meaningless, coming soon, "Alexa, how much should I bid for that house?".

andypanda
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:11 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by andypanda » Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:50 am

Zillow is a joke.

They have my house listed as being "3 beds 1 bath 1,602 sqft" when it's only 1350 sq.ft.

Their price is $413,602. I wish.

That's about $50,000 to $100,000 too high considering that I'm renovating the interior - again - and haven't gutted the '86 kitchen or the '85 bath, or installed central air yet. I haven't taken the plaster down to the lath, but it's a real mess and I guess they can't see the 25k btu through-wall AC that's clearly visible from the public sidewalk. Sure, one the same size down the street sold for 499,000, but it was in pristine condition and averages are so useless when it comes to 100+ year-old houses in historic districts.

I don't care what Zillow says, they're always wrong in my neighborhood. I paid $40k for it in 1980 so it's easy for me to laugh at Zillow.

finite_difference
Posts: 1475
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:00 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by finite_difference » Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:56 am

ARB57 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:34 am
I’m sure we’ve all seen threads on this site and others, questioning the accuracy of home valuations on Zillow.

Granted, coming up with a spot-on “zestimate” of millions and millions of homes is no small task. That said I was STUNNED recently to see their estimate of my home nearly CUT IN HALF IN ONE DAY!!. I bought the home for $265,000 a little over a year ago, and until the recent drop, Zillow estimated its value to be about $285,000. Redfin and Realtor.com had similar valuations Zillow NOW says it’s worth: $159,000.

Crazy or not...it is unsettling. The fact is that a growing number of people do their initial home shopping on Zillow (and similar sites) to get a general sense of what homes are worth. As much as I’d like to ignore it all, I’ve been unable to do so thus far.

I contacted Zillow and they say they’ve made some algorithmic changes in order to provide even more accurate zestimates. What??? More accurate??? They say that if the property description is incorrect, I can provide them with the necessary corrections...but they can’t just remove or change the zestimate. I have no problem with the description/features as listed. Based on that description, Zillow said the house WAS worth $285,000...not $159,000. I shudder to think what they are now using as “comps”. For what it’s worth, a couple of days ago, Redfin dropped their estimate to about $159,000. Coincidence? NO. Redfin doesn’t serve the area in which I live...SO (I’m assuming,) they simply plug in Zillow’s faulty data. To their credit, Realtor.com still has the home valued at $267,900.

While I’m not trying to sell the home now, I have some health issues that MAY cause me to list the property sooner than hoped. Anything I can do? Ignoring it has been very, very difficult so far...
For your own tracking of your house’s net worth, use the average of the Realtor.com, Redfin.com, and Zillow.com. I wouldn’t worry about one being different until you plan to sell.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Kagord
Posts: 110
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:28 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Kagord » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:15 am

finite_difference wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:56 am
ARB57 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:34 am
I’m sure we’ve all seen threads on this site and others, questioning the accuracy of home valuations on Zillow.

Granted, coming up with a spot-on “zestimate” of millions and millions of homes is no small task. That said I was STUNNED recently to see their estimate of my home nearly CUT IN HALF IN ONE DAY!!. I bought the home for $265,000 a little over a year ago, and until the recent drop, Zillow estimated its value to be about $285,000. Redfin and Realtor.com had similar valuations Zillow NOW says it’s worth: $159,000.

Crazy or not...it is unsettling. The fact is that a growing number of people do their initial home shopping on Zillow (and similar sites) to get a general sense of what homes are worth. As much as I’d like to ignore it all, I’ve been unable to do so thus far.

I contacted Zillow and they say they’ve made some algorithmic changes in order to provide even more accurate zestimates. What??? More accurate??? They say that if the property description is incorrect, I can provide them with the necessary corrections...but they can’t just remove or change the zestimate. I have no problem with the description/features as listed. Based on that description, Zillow said the house WAS worth $285,000...not $159,000. I shudder to think what they are now using as “comps”. For what it’s worth, a couple of days ago, Redfin dropped their estimate to about $159,000. Coincidence? NO. Redfin doesn’t serve the area in which I live...SO (I’m assuming,) they simply plug in Zillow’s faulty data. To their credit, Realtor.com still has the home valued at $267,900.

While I’m not trying to sell the home now, I have some health issues that MAY cause me to list the property sooner than hoped. Anything I can do? Ignoring it has been very, very difficult so far...
For your own tracking of your house’s net worth, use the average of the Realtor.com, Redfin.com, and Zillow.com. I wouldn’t worry about one being different until you plan to sell.
Agree with this average, with 2 additional points, it's worth what you would net from an actual sale:
1. Subtract 10% for selling costs (prep, fees..etc)
2. Adjust up or down based on the upgrades and aesthetics you have compared to comparable homes in the area. I.E. I believe this average based on market history primarily, and the market is usually homes with some nice upgrades (minimally, at least the kitchen and master bath with nice appliances). If you have a 40 year old home with no upgrades, yours is going to be a lot less.

Edit: I like to buy homes with the upgrades done, it's a better value as the upgrades rarely add to the sell price what they fully cost, it's more like 50%-80%.
Last edited by Kagord on Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

goblue100
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:31 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by goblue100 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:21 am

Contact your tax authorities and ask them to cut your taxes in half.
Financial planners are savers. They want us to be 95 percent confident we can finance a 30-year retirement even though there is an 82 percent probability of being dead by then. - Scott Burns

User avatar
MillennialFinance19
Posts: 160
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:06 am

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by MillennialFinance19 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:33 am

KyleAAA wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:54 pm
MillennialFinance19 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:03 pm
My house is $280k on Zillow and the FMV would be in the $450k range. My neighbors was the same until he listed at $580k, at which point the value adjusted.

Long story short - if you list, Zillow will adjust.
Zillow does not take list price into account. What likely happened is that they got a lot newer/better data when the listing went live because the agent added it.
I know what they claim, but by having a Zestimate of $280k and a listing of $580k would make Zillow look bad. We’re in a rural neighbor that lacks a ton of recent sales, so I’m guessing they made the necessary adjustment based on the huge disparity. I could be wrong, though.

Goal33
Posts: 1032
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:30 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Goal33 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:39 am

andypanda wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:50 am
Zillow is a joke.

They have my house listed as being "3 beds 1 bath 1,602 sqft" when it's only 1350 sq.ft.

Their price is $413,602. I wish.

That's about $50,000 to $100,000 too high considering that I'm renovating the interior - again - and haven't gutted the '86 kitchen or the '85 bath, or installed central air yet. I haven't taken the plaster down to the lath, but it's a real mess and I guess they can't see the 25k btu through-wall AC that's clearly visible from the public sidewalk. Sure, one the same size down the street sold for 499,000, but it was in pristine condition and averages are so useless when it comes to 100+ year-old houses in historic districts.

I don't care what Zillow says, they're always wrong in my neighborhood. I paid $40k for it in 1980 so it's easy for me to laugh at Zillow.
Depending on your market, the things you think you need to do might not matter in terms of price. Your house sounds like it could be worth more than you think.
A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.

User avatar
Phineas J. Whoopee
Posts: 8824
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:18 pm

Re: I wish I could ignore it...but I can't (ZILLOW!)

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:03 pm

ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:42 pm
Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:12 pm
ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:45 pm
Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:27 pm
That's part of why I carry my place on my books at book value, - the price the seller and I agreed to more than a decade ago - I have no reliable way to estimate its value as anything else. Marking it to an unknown market wouldn't be rational.
The market isn’t unknown though. You could certainly look at comps of recent sales to determine fair market value, and then discount that by some amount of you wanted to be conservative.
...
That's what Zillow does.
No, that’s incorrect. They take into account other data other than just comps. And, in my experience the comps they choose are terrible. You could very easily choose better more accurate comps then they do, from what I’ve seen.

And even setting all that aside, just because Zillow may do something poorly doesn’t mean that it’s not doable!

Just because I can’t bake a good apple pie doesn’t mean it’s impossible for anyone on the face of the earth to bake a good apple pie. Just because Zillow can’t accurately estimate the market value of homes doesn’t mean its impossible for anyone on the face of the earth to roughly estimate the market value of homes.
I don't know how you made the rhetorical leap from I don't try to I think nobody on the face of the earth can do it.

I'm sure there are people skilled in providing a reasonable Comparative Market Analysis, CMA. I don't think I'm among them. Polymath or otherwise, I don't have skills in everything. I carefully curate my areas of ignorance.

Therefore, instead of trusting Zillow (which I don't for the reason I gave), I would have to trust some other person or organization. I don't even know how to go about choosing among them, and unless I was actively looking to sell who would waste their time?

That does not mean, as you wrote, that I think the task is impossible for absolutely everyone.

PJW

Post Reply