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City Tax Assessment affect on Zestimate

About 18 months ago I petitioned the city to reassess my home value.  In summary, I bought my home in December 2006 at $239k (a good deal), two years later, the city was assessing my home value at $266k...which was likely a correct assessment; however, I wanted to save $$ on taxes.....so I petitioned for a lower assesment of $212k.  They agreed.  Fast forward to present and I am going to put my home on the market, but noticed that my Zestimate has dropped drastically in the past 12 months to $212k.  Of course market decline is partly to blame, but I live in baltimore city (the "good" part) where home prices are somewhat stable. 

So my question is
, if I petition the city to reassess my home at a HIGHER value would this then affect the Zestimate?
  • September 24 2010 - Federal Hill
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Answers (4)

My suggestion:  No Way! Don't ask for your taxes to be increased to change the Zestimate.  Here are the reasons:

1. I would guess that fewer than 1 in 5 buyers even know Zestimates or this website exist, and fewer than that actually check them for a property they are interested in.  
2. Zestimates are not used within the industry.  I am a Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors member, and the handful of times I've heard mention of a Zestimate is for entertainment purposes-as in, look how far off this estimate is.  The Zestimate simply isn't a factor, it isn't taken seriously.
3. Even if you did get your valuation changed, which typically takes time, then it takes time for Zillow to update their data, then recalculate, it could easily be 6 months before you saw an impact.

Zillow itself estimates that the Zestimate is almost 10% off on average in Baltimore, and one in four homes are 20% off.
http://www.zillow.com/howto/DataCoverageZestimateAccuracyMD.htm  This is why it isn't taken seriously by anyone with real estate knowledge or experience.

Here is an example of one of our flat fee MLS listings, where the Zestimate is off nearly 50%: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7600-Water-Oak-Point-Rd-Pasadena-MD-21122/36026210_zpid/  
Why so inaccurate?  Sometimes it is difficult to tell, but for this listing it is likely the fact that it is on the water.  Good luck.
  • September 24 2010
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You are over worrying.  The Zestimate holds no true weight with any reputable appraiser or real estate agent, and therefore you would have no benefit by petitioning to have your taxes raised solely for the POSSIBLE increase in your Zestimate.  In fact, I think you would be doing yourself a dis-service by intentionally having the taxes raised as some buyers will be looking at them specifically when they are making their decision on which home to buy. "it would cost me approx. $100/month in additional taxes, but may be worth it." It may seem worth it to you, but that's an additional $1200 a year someone else has to factor into their tax bill.  In today's market place you need every advantage you can get to sell your home and adding $1200 to the tax bill doesn't sound very wise to me, and if you were my client, I would STRONGLY recommend against it.
  • September 24 2010
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Profile picture for jxavierf12
Thanks Marney!....makes sense....my neighbor's house does not have the upgrades that I do and its Zestimate is higher!.  Would you recommend me petitioning the city to reassess at a HIGHER value?  I'm sure they would not hesitate!  If I did reassess at a higher value it would cost me approx. $100/month in additional taxes, but may be worth it.  I'm convinced that the Zestimate is becoming a critical component in determining the final sale value of a home these days....or am I over worried about it?  Thanks!
  • September 24 2010
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The answer is: YES.
The Zestimate formula takes what you pay in taxes into account when coming up with their "valuation". Since that is truly irrelevant since if you bought 30 years ago your taxes would be less than your neighbor who bought it 2 years ago...yet yours could have every upgrade imaginable and theirs could be in need of a rehab...(you can see where I am going with this, I am sure...)
Zestimates, according to the Zillow site, in the Baltimore area are about 70% of the time within 30% of actual sales price of a house.
I hope this helps!
Thanks!
Sincerely,
Marney Kirk
Keller Williams Excellence Realty
  • September 24 2010
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