Profile picture for David Cherbonnier

Can Zillow justify Zestimate? How can it be appealed?

The Zestimate of our home, in an exclusive mature estate, has depreciated in the past 9 months while similar homes have been stable or appreciated.  Realtors familiar with the area feel our property has appreciated due to improvements.  How can one find the basis for the depreciation.  Is there a department or contact within Zillow where one can appeal Zestimates?
  • April 03 2012 - Tampa
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Answers (42)

Best Answer

Profile picture for Dunes ..
Well it appears you found the Zillow Volunteer Response Dept. easily enough....




If you're looking to actually communicate with Zillow you might try Emailing one or all of these Zillow Staff members


Ice L.

Neil Roxas

Nida Makein

If you do not hear back in a reasonable amount of time then go up the ladder & try

Russ Hatfield  ..Customer and Community Support

Rachel Rosen ...Customer support

or you could go directly to the Top (or what they say is the Top)
Spencer Rascoff CEO

  • April 03 2012
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Profile picture for user687192
I have a house that is worth around 223,000.00 they say it is 194,900.00
that is very incorrect. In the same area they have a house smaller at 230,000.00 that was for sale do 240,000.00 real close on that one.
Whats up with our price??????
  • April 11 2012
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Profile picture for David Cherbonnier
Why do people not understand.  MY NEIGHBORHOOD HAS INCREASED IN VALUE WHILE MY HOUSE HAS DECREASED 16% IN SPITE OF IMPROVEMENTS!   HELLO WAKE UP ZILLOW AND ITS SUPPORTERS.  MY HOME SHOULD BE WORTH 180,000 but ZILLOW says 140+.  How many people will be interested in looking?  I think all I need is one disgruntled prospect to prove Zillow affected my sales potential.  Either back up what you say or shut up.
  • April 11 2012
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Profile picture for David Cherbonnier
I did and no Reply.  My home neighborhood has seen an increase in value except ours.  They don't have a reply to that.
  • April 11 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..





"You are the "Zillow supporter".."I certainly am not a "Zillow supporter"

LOL...Reverse Role Playing



  • April 10 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
"ONLY MY HOUSE DEPRECIATED FROM $176K to $148K WHILE ALL OTHER HOUSES ON THE SAME STREET EITHER ARE STABLE OR APPRECIATED!!!!!!!!!!  Even when you shouted the Zillow supporters still don't get it. They come out staunchly defending Zillow like it's some holy grail." -

Ridicules!   Your house didn't depreciate, and the others on the street didn't appreciate.  You are the "Zillow supporter" believing that machine generated statistical numbers are supposed to mean that, and be interpreted that way.

I certainly am not a "Zillow supporter", nor do I assume your home value appreciated and your neighbors depreciated.  You are reading your own imagination into the circumstances, just as if you were a horoscope addict.  The "estimates" are NOT "market value", and the changes in the estimates only reflect the statistical changes in recently sold properties, and has NOTHING to do with the values of individual housing units.

Sue your local newspaper for publishing a horoscope if it makes such a difference to you.
  • April 10 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
Thank you David..appreciated
  • April 10 2012
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@David

ANYONE WHO TRIES TO JUSTIFY BY RHETORIC IS EITHER NOT LISTENING OR PART OF THE ZILLOW PROBLEM!!!

ONCE MORE!!!!

ONLY MY HOUSE DEPRECIATED FROM $176K to $148K WHILE ALL OTHER HOUSES ON THE SAME STREET EITHER ARE STABLE OR APPRECIATED!!!!!!!!!!


Even when you shouted the Zillow supporters still don't get it. They come out staunchly defending Zillow like it's some holy grail instead of BS designed as a novelty website to attract advertising revenues. The fact that the Team which developed the zestimate algorithm has ZERO real estate
experience prior to joining Zillow demonstrates the 'novelty' factor.

Your comment about any legal action is an interesting one as Zillow, by condoning the comments by supporters, are condoning the 'don't be stupid you don't understand approach' that is witnessed on this forum many times everyday and the courts would look at that as 'approved harrassment'. I would have thought that Zillows Insurers would be reading this forum carefully and putting their business risk policy premiums up to reflect the implied approval of supporters posts here and the potential risks associated with that.
  • April 10 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
"ANYONE WHO TRIES TO JUSTIFY..." -

What don't you understand about the concept of "no one has any intention of justifying anything"?   It is a "machine opinion", thus there is nothing to justify.  If you don't like it, there are thousands of other opinions available.  You haven't paid for them to provide you an opinion, so what do you care?  Someone else's opinion has absolutely no affect on your net worth nor your ability to sell nor your ability to get a loan, nor whether someone will marry you or divorce you, nor whether you lose your job or not.

Why don't you try to justify why you didn't roll snake eyes in Las Vegas instead?  Or why some newspaper in your area published some random "Horoscope" that was supposed to apply to people born under the constellation sign of the Zodiac for your birthdate, even though the astronomical constellations have shifted a whole month from the published designations?
  • April 10 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
You had the opportunity to post the neighborhood that was relevant to you in the question, but you choose not to, because when it comes right down to it, it is only an "opinion" based on statistics, and the opinion matters to no-one, and your opinion doesn't matter either.

By the way, I don't work for Zillow, have never worked for Zillow, have no financial interest in Zillow, and have 10,000 more "complaints about Zillow that you do.

(removed by moderator)

You don't want an answer, you only want to claim your superiority.

If you don't want free statistical information, why didn't you just hire an appraiser in the first place?
  • April 09 2012
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Profile picture for David Cherbonnier
  • Pasadenan posted a cute chart but not in my district.  I'm a hundred meters from the east border of USF.  Walking distance to business school.  Can rent for $3.000.  (removed by moderator).
  • April 09 2012
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Profile picture for David Cherbonnier
END OF THE DAY

IS ZILLOW TO BE BELIEVED OR JUST A MARK ON THE WALL OF GRAFFITI?

DO YOU WANT ZESTMATES TO BE RESPECTED OR JUST A (removed by moderator).
  • April 09 2012
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Profile picture for homes on gmail

Why don't we take Zillow up on their offer to sue them!!  I have some great proof of their mistakes(errors).  Together we could do it to them like they have done to us!  What do you say?

  • April 05 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
By the way, just checking my E-mail archives, I see that Kathleen did E-mail me once when Russ was out in response to a forum concern that I had E-mailed him, so I do have Kathleen's E-mail address and she also put in her direct phone line and (message?) phone line; but as it was shared on an entirely different subject, I don't think I'm at liberty to share it.

I'm sure her profile page could be found with a Google Advanced search of the forum discussions, but it is probably easier to just write.  Or call the general number and see if they will transfer the call, or if you can get one of them to give you her E-mail address.
  • April 05 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
sorry for the multiple typos; the post is too long for editing.. I hope you can read the content intent without getting tripped up on leaving out words like "those" or typing "and" instead of "an".
  • April 05 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
"If Zillow has had lawyers in there pocket from day one proves they knew they were screwing people and needed protection." -

No, it "proves" that there are many different laws in different states and in different counties related to issues such as property sales disclosures, give away incentives, contests, ... and that there are always going to be screaming "copyright infringement" or "patent infringement".  The patent infringement allocations take a lot more of the legal resources and time.  The last "fun" one they had was regarding a patent that expires in a few months for a similar estimate modeling method.  Both sides were wasting so much time getting nowhere, that they finally decided to settle, with and "agreement" that Zillow would pay the patent holder not for the patent use, but for data access for various counties, since they have to have a contract with someone for getting the data from the county in an electronic format they can use regardless.  And that both sides would drop their suit and counter suit.

Of course the legal staff reviews every major statement regarding offers... to make sure they are in compliance with the laws in each State.

Regarding contact info for Kathleen, she is one of the few on the management team that doesn't have her profile referenced on the "who we are" management team page.  So I take it that means she prefers things to be sent to her in writing at the company address:

1301 Second Avenue, Floor 31, Seattle, WA 98101 (larger map).

If I remember correctly I did see one or two posts on the forum from her, but she tends to not respond directly on the forum and lets the customer service people and forum moderators do that.

You also could call their local number: (206)470-7000.  Open Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific Time.
  • April 05 2012
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@David

In a response to me Spencer Rascoff, the CEO of Zillow, stated that Zillow had a First Amendment right to publish erroneous zestimates without fear of legal action. That is the most arrogant response I have ever heard from the CEO of a Billion dollar Nasdaq company who basically is abusing the intentions of the Founding Fathers who no doubt, are turning in their graves at this type of BS.

In every aspect of daily life major companies are subject to Regulation, eg SEC for Investors, FCC for Communications, Insurance, Banking, Heathcare, Transportation, Utilities etc. It is time our legislators caught up with the Technology and imposed some form of Regulation of AVM sites like Zillow that give adequate protection to homeowners when these companies publish incorrect valuations the way Zillow does with its nonsense zestimates.
  • April 05 2012
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Profile picture for David Cherbonnier
Pasadenan is very confident in her rhetoric but doesn't have the nerve to provide a contact.  If Zillow has had lawyers in there pocket from day one proves they knew they were screwing people and needed protection.

I like the challenge Pasadenan suggests.  Zillow's disregard for the individual owner and the impact of their Zestimates is so evident it would take a jury of home owners about 15 minutes to decide.  
  • April 05 2012
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
"In the absence of any response from Zillow"...  Rachel Rosen of Zillow did respond to your question earlier in this thread.  Zillow does not tend to respond repeatedly to the same thread.

  • April 05 2012
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Profile picture for David Cherbonnier
ANYONE WHO TRIES TO JUSTIFY BY RHETORIC IS EITHER NOT LISTENING OR PART OF THE ZILLOW PROBLEM!!!

ONCE MORE!!!!

ONLY MY HOUSE DEPRECIATED FROM $176K to $148K WHILE ALL OTHER HOUSES ON THE SAME STREET EITHER ARE STABLE OR APPRECIATED!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE THESE TEXTBOOK ANSWERS IT SEEMS TO GIVE CREDIBILITY TO A CLASS ACTION.

By the way my field of Expertise is Statutory Compliance Audit.  I think you should restrict your answers to how Zillow will defend themselves.  In the absence of any response from Zillow this looks like no other alternative than the Courts that are so sympathetic with Organizations that may, knowingly or not, contribute to the depreciation of a person's equity.
  • April 05 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
Told ya the Zillow Zestimate Volunteer Response Dept would represent Zillow for Zillow...
  • April 05 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
Index trend for what has been happening in the Tampa area single family housing market.  (median value; all SFR):

  • April 05 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
"Has Zillow ever been sued for loss of opportunity or loss of value?" -

Yes, the cases were dismissed for lack of merit.

Zillow has always had legal council on staff since they started.

No it would not be a class action; there is no merit to such a case, and they were already dismissed.

"the only persons with interest will be ones who ignore Zestimate." -

Absolutely not true.  It depends on what else is on the market in their area of interest.  Offer prices are not set in a vacuum, and never dependent on one of thousands of available AVM opinions.

But you are welcome to spend your money on legal council and filings if you want.  No one will bother to try to stop you.

(No lawyer would take it on a contingency basis though considering the legal precedent).

Contact Kathleen Philips if you want more specific information.
  • April 05 2012
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Profile picture for David Cherbonnier
We bought our home at 175K.  It was within the Zestimate at the time.  Now not even one year later the Zestimate is $147,000.!!!!!  If we want to ask a fair market value of $180,000, the only persons with interest will be ones who ignore Zestimate. 

Has Zillow ever been sued for loss of opportunity or loss of value?  I think that has more merit than spilling a cup of hot coffee on your self.  Would that be a class Action? 
  • April 05 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
"What I don't get is how over zealous these people get in their support for what is patently obvious a nonsense approach to valuing property." -

1) I'm not Zealous at all, except for about what God has revealed through scripture.

2) I don't "support" Zillow's calculations; I only offer an "explanation" for those that are frustrated and can't find the explanations (as they are on the site, but a bit "buried").  But I do take advantage of their "work" and data that I don't have to pay for.  In that sense, you might consider me a "free loader".

3) "patently obvious nonsense"?  You would have to
  a) Know what mathematical methods and principals they are using to make that judgment
  b) Understand the mathematics and statistics
  c) understand the concepts of tolerance range and "available data"
  d) understand what the "purpose" is rather than just your desire for what the purpose should be.

It may be completely "useless" and "misleading" for your intended use and opinion about what it "should" be, but that doesn't make it "nonsense".  That is like a first grader learning to add calling calculus "nonsense". Or a 3rd grader learning to divide calling "imaginary numbers" and taking the square root of a negative number "nonsense".
  • April 04 2012
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It seems that Zillow can't justify zestimates and  make no attempt to, but rely on "supporters' to do their dirty work for them. What I don't get is how over zealous these people get in their support for what is patently obvious a nonsense approach to valuing property.
  • April 04 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
By the way, if buyers really did make offers based only on Zestimate numbers, and only offered on ones where the Zestimate was substantially lower than the listing amount, first their agent (if they have one) will tell that it is unlikely to be accepted as the CMA's they did for the property don't support such an offer, second, after about 3 or 4 "rejections", the buyer would realize they are wasting time with their strategy and would quickly re-adjust their thinking on how to use the estimates.  Sure, they might be delayed in buying by a month or two, but it doesn't remove the buyer from the market, nor does it mean that Zillow had any influence on market price.

Sure, the buyer that has all those "rejected offers" from misinterpreting the tolerance and purpose of the estimates might want to "sue" for being mislead and wasting their time and for loosing that "savings" they had counted on from their assumed "strategy", but they don't have a valid case.
  • April 03 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
"because it is only a "machine opinion" with substantial disclaimers, and there is no cost to get the opinion, and there are plenty of other competing opinions on the market-place."

And because people that really want to buy something don't make their offer decisions solely based on a machine generated number with no site visit that has a published tolerance range of ±10% for 50% of the units, and ±20% for 73% of the units.  Buyers understand the concept of "starting point", and "reference data".

Besides, if you didn't pay "what it was really worth" at the time you bought it, why would you expect someone else to want to pay what it is worth if they can buy from one of your neighbors for less than market value?
  • April 03 2012
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Profile picture for homes on gmail
I just examined the zestimate of several homes in my area.   The zestimate for my home is way lower than other homes with less square footage, less acreage, older, lower property taxes (property tax was suppose to be based upon value of property).  There is no good reason for this.  This is hurting my ability to sell my home for what it is really worth.  Why isn't this negligence on part of zillow and why can't they be sued for such negligence?
  • April 03 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
"I have come to the conclusion that they genuinely don't know why individual Zestimates move up or down the way they do" -

Of course Yeng Bun knows why (there are only 9 major variables), but he is not going to evaluate 100 million estimates manually; only the ones of more curiosity and unusual conditions.  And even if he did try to explain it, the average public wouldn't understand what he was saying in the first place since he would use mathematical concepts the average person hasn't been exposed to.
(Read some of the Zillow Research blogs, if that is not clear to you).  For example, this one by Guy Yollin: Zillow home value forecast methodology

But does the typical person know why their bank account balance goes up or down each month?  Or how much the amount they spend on gasoline will go up or down in any given month and why?

Most people are too lazy to keep track of such mundane details.  Most people can't even tell you why the price of eggs go up or down.  Most can't even tell you why the 30 year fixed rate mortgage interest rates being offered go up or down.
  • April 03 2012
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