Profile picture for bill_barrett

Algorithm error and Opt-out option

Drew

 

This alogorithm change just does not make any mathematical sense. My home is 3761 NE Sugarhill Avenue, 34957. The last sale was $675,000 on 5/24/2005. You are showing a current value of $528,000.

 

Take a look at the historical trends and select "Show as $". The "Since Last Sale" shows a drop of -$41,500.      $568,000 + $41,500 = $609,500    That is a full $65,500 LESS than I even paid on 5/24/2005.   The algorithm is NOT even adding up correctly.

 

 

My opinion of this whole sitiuation:

 

Regardless of the PUBLISHED drop of my property value by $100,000 and the negative emotions that caused me (as it has MANY others on this site), to say that you are "jut using public data" as you havestyated in several other posts is absolutely an incorrect and misleading statement. You are USING public data to DERIVE your own opinion and information about our properties. You then are publishing that derived information, and exposing US to the consequences of errors and miscaluations. You cannot hide behind a contention that "Zillow is just a starting place" because consumers and some institutions DO use this derived information on Zillow to make decisions whwther you think they are informed decisions of not. I cannot beleive that Zillow is not opening themsleves up to a tremendous liability here.

 

I believe there are serious privacy issues here as well. There absolutely should be a way for me to OPT OUT for having my Zestimate made public on this site. I agree that public information from the government is in fact public and you should be able to publish that data. But for Zillow to contend that your DERIVED Zestimate is public as well is very likely going to land this website in a class-action lawsuit. 

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January 13 2008 - US
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Replies (18)

Profile picture for earnestlee

Right on, Bill.  Zillow places a public value estimate on our property without our consent, using an undisclosed data analysis system.  If we disagree with that estimate, even if we have facts and data showing that the estimate is grossly mistaken, there is no method provided to correct it.  We're just told "...it's only an estimate," "...read the disclaimer," or "...it's a new algorithm."  The whole process doesn't sound like America to me.

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January 13 2008
Profile picture for slk23

I have to say that a lot of the complaints I read here are taking things a bit too far, shall we say.  Your house is worth what you can sell it for.  Just because some website makes an estimate does not mean your house is worth less or more.  It's just an estimate... there's nothing "official" about it!  In America we can all have our own opinions, and express them in public too.  You just don't like Zilliow's opinion, as far as I can tell.

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January 13 2008
Profile picture for abd1234

I have to agree with Bill.  The problem lies when a potential buyer looks at our property's and uses zillow values as a negotiating tool.  Which wouldn't be a problem if the value was in the park.  But when the values are so grossly undervalued it tends to hurt the sellers in an already tuff market.  And yes I know that this site is just an estimate...but you tell a buyer that when they know they have the upper hand in this real estate market.  When all is done and said with...there are more things to worry about than what Zillow has to say about our home.  The only ones that can truely put a price on our homes is us...the owners. 

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January 13 2008
Profile picture for bill_barrett

slk23... while techncially you are correct that a true market value is established when a buyer and seller consumate a sale, the fact remains that the algorithm used has a math error in it as described in my first post above. Buyers are using zestimates to gain negotition advantage and therefor sellers are being disadvantanged as a result of grossly inaccurate zestimates.

 

For my area of Florida, Martin County... the zestimates are shown as a number 2 star, "fair", accuracy on the scale of 1 to 4 stars. You have to REALLY dig to get to that qualification information. While that may get Zillow some wiggle room to say that statisticly the zestimates can be off from the actual sales price by a given percentage, I contend that very few people take the time and trouble to analyze and dig for that additional data.

 

The appropriate thing for Zillow to do is give the owner the same opt-out ability as we NOW have to show our owner's estimate as private or public. I can't help but wonder what the consumer media will pick up on regarding this situation if it is not rectified in some way. The gross unfairness of putting sellers at a negotiation disadvantage using proprietary derived data seems to be ripe for investigation if not regulation.

 

Finally, to say that if the owner does not agree with the zestimate that they should just ignore the site is pretty funny. When a home is on the market, you would be silly not to check zillow.com, cyberhomes.com, and other guesstimate sites to see what is being said to your BUYERS.

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January 14 2008
Profile picture for slk23

bill_barrett:  Good points. I'm not defending Zestimates, BTW.  The new formula is terrible and I really don't like how they've revised the history.  The whole thing has seriously undermined my confidence in Zillow.

 

But I still think people take it too seriously.  I have a hard time believing this website has a big impact on the final home sale prices...  The economic forces involved in real estate transactions are too large to be deeply affected by Zillow, etc., IMHO.  Just because buyers have seen an estimate doesn't mean you have to sell at that price.  If you disagree with the estimate you can make your argument to the potential buyers.   The outcome depends on if your arguments are good and your price can be justified on the market.

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January 14 2008
Profile picture for benjamin.merkley

Well SLK23, I think you're missing part of it here... you can't just make your argument to potential buyers, because some buyers will never even look at the house if they see the selling price is 200K over the zestimate.  That would be scary to me, if I were selling right now.

 

I am in a different category though, as the new zestimates for my house are now within the range of what I consider okay.... they had to jump up 140K on my house over night, but that happened and now I don't really have much to complain about on my individual house.

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January 14 2008
Profile picture for slk23

Hmmm.... do you really think potential buyers won't even look at a house because the asking price and a website estimate don't agree?  I think buyers look at houses offered around the level they can afford.  As a seller I would think the worst case scenario is you are challenged by potential buyer to explain the discrepency between the website estimate and your asking price.  In the end buyers will compare the house and the asking price to others on the market, not a website estimate.

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January 14 2008

slk23,

 

You said, "do you really think potential buyers won't even look at a house because the asking price and a website estimate don't agree?"

 

Yes, they do.  I've heard at work a few times (as really stupid as it is).  If folks are the least bit Internet aware, they'll check Zillow.com, et al.  Hey, there were articles in the Boston Globe about Zillow and how folks took Zillow as "gospel".  It's hard to measure folks who won't even look at your property, so the liability is difficult to prove.  Somebody might comment that I wouldn't such stupid folks looking at my property if it were for sale.  But in this market, I'd want offers, period!  I don't care if the person is stupid, just buy my properyQ

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January 15 2008
Profile picture for jmeirhofer

slk - I have lost two potential sales due to the Zillow craptimate already.  And that was before the new al gore rythm knocked $30,000 off overnight.  In both cases neither was willing to offer above the Zestimate.  In one case I was accused of paying off the appraiser to get a higher appraisal.  I even offered to let them hire an appraiser of their choice.  The response;  "I already have one from Zillow why would I pay for it". 

 

It does cost and is costing home sellers.  It is not just my Zestimate that is skewed.  Houses that sold in my neighborhood in the last 9 months are not listed as comps.  In addition their values are $70,000 - $100,000 below their sale prices.  Lastly when Zillow implemented their new Zestimates they changed all historical data making it look like previous sales were above market value.  The whole process is complete crap, not publically available information, just guesses as to what the public information means to one group of people.

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January 15 2008

Bill-

You're confusing sales transactions with zestimates -- they are not the same thing. Change the chart to "since last sale" and "$ dollar". The zestimate at the time of the last sale was not $675,000. Based on the chart, it looks like it was closer to $600,000, which explains the -$41,000 figure.

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January 15 2008
Profile picture for KimberHall

slk23-

  Right after the New Year, I had a call on my FSBO. I told him it was appraised @ $245K, we're asking $230K, he said he loved the neighborhood, the price was great and he was ready to buy. Having no idea of the new and improved changes that they've made to the website I told him go to zillow and check out the pictures (because he was from out of town). He was looking at the pitures while we were on the phone and ended the conversation with, "I hope no one buys it out from under me." I guess he hasn't called back because he saw the zestimate. Little did I know that the new and improved zestimate was $167K. Does that qualify as costing me a sale or am I just a crook whose asking to much for my property. After all, one of my comps was a little house in the hood that sold for $21K. To bad they didn't send their buyers to zillow, their zestimate was $86K. Boy did thay get ripped off.

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January 16 2008
Profile picture for KimberHall

slk23-

  And you wanna hear the kicker SLK23? Other websites are linked with zillow. So us sellers are getting it from all directions. The market, zillow, other websites... Can I at least get a kiss here, a little KY? This hurts!!!!!!!!!

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January 16 2008
Profile picture for Alisande

I agree totally with Bill.  Something has to change here.  If they aren't willing to do it on their own maybe we should force them.

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January 16 2008
Profile picture for erickerick

Why is nobody from Zillow ever responding to our real concerns in these email threads? Seems like they can only say that the algorithm changed.....   duh....

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January 16 2008
Profile picture for RWW
  • RWW
  • Contributions:21

Hey ... my house's craptimate (my moniker for z-word) jumped up over $100k in a period of one month. Am I happy? NO ... somebody is going to get ripped off ... this useless side does fluctuate the craptimates by its own logic that does not reflect any reality or reason. The craptimate also claims that the value difference in last 30 days is only $38K despite the fact that the real change it projects is over $100k.

BTW, I hate courts but I am more than willing to participate in a corrective action against craptimate! Just let me know how ...

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January 16 2008
Profile picture for RWW
  • RWW
  • Contributions:21

Hey ... my house's craptimate (my moniker for z-word) jumped up over $100k in a period of one month. Am I happy? NO ... somebody is going to get ripped off ... this useless side does fluctuate the craptimates by its own logic that does not reflect any reality or reason. The craptimate also claims that the value difference in last 30 days is only $38K despite the fact that the real change it projects is over $100k.

BTW, I hate courts but I am more than willing to participate in a corrective action against craptimate! Just let me know how ...

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January 16 2008
Profile picture for beesonr

Count me in for the class action should the crap-timate cost me $400k+ on a sale.  My crap-timate is $400k under going prices and has dropped $100k in the last month while neighbors with the same or smaller homes have gone up.  What a joke.

 

Skillow also goofed and let an old listing, at a lower price, from two sales ago, get publicly posted that my home was for sale again by a particular agent. 

 

Is there an email to contact Skillow?  I haven't seen one yet.

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January 16 2008
Profile picture for earnestlee

Count me in too.

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January 17 2008
 
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