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Comps 2 doors away 10K diff?

Recently I began updating my property at 912 Summerbreeze Court including significant, expensive upgrades. However, since I did this I notice I've lost approximately $4,000.00 from my previous Zestimate. After checking comps right in my neighborhood I noticed that you have my neighbor 2 doors down who has the exact same sq. ft. House and plot as I do zestimated at 10,000.00 more than I even though I have an inground pool, RV pullout, a recently insulated attached garage (all single stories in this area have what appear to be "finished" garages ... None of them are insulated). The owner has to pay to have the 429 sq ft of garage attic insulated as I just did completing the insulation blanket the US DOE suggests. Ceiling drywall makes only a finished look. Yet putting that expensive upgrades aside (it cost me nearly 1,000.00 to "finish" my garage & the attached residential attic with 450 sq. feet of new R-35 insulation) + garage door. I have a legal (on the tax roles) 3rd bedroom. I also have an inground pool. Your appraiser/estimators apparently know nothing about Vacaville weather and the value and relief a pool makes to a property here since my house with a pool is appraised (estimated) at a lessor value than an nearly exact Property 2 doors away without a pool. The completion of the contiguous attic insulation as well as the upgraded installation of Solar UV window screens also makes a huge difference because Vacaville typically has summer day temps in the 90s with numerous triple digit summer days. I have been using my swimming pool already since late April. So, to Zestimate my comparable property with a "similar" Summerbreeze Ct. property but which has 1 less bedroom and does not have the 20' x 10' in-ground Viking fiberglass pool in an area with typical triple digit highs all summer raises questions to me about Zillow estimate methods. Why? How? If it is taxes paid I'm a disabled vet & receive a large break there.
  • May 29 2013 - Vacaville
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Answers (1)

Profile picture for MVanDyke912
I see that Zillow (Rachel Rosen) responds about such differences ( http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/Zestimates-Price-History-Tax-History/415515/ ) in zestimates as sales history + past tax assessment ... if such were the case then Zillow's zestimate is completely then Zillow has really got mine wrong.  My reply to Zillow and Ms. Rosen's zestimate explanation follows:  

"This eplanation is factually incorrect on its face:  BOTH the tax history and sales history on the home I bought last June in Vacaville is significantly higher than a "comparable" property 2 doors away yet Zillow has my property (with an in ground pool the other lacks, an additional bedroom which the other lacks and more recent custom upgrades) 10,000.00 lower than my neighbor. My neighbor's property, though nice, NEVER sold for more than 235K nor assessed for more than 227k whereas my home at 912 Summerbreeze CT sold for 349,900.00 in '04 and was taxed at an assessed rate in '07 of 371,317.00 and never assessed below 300k until the collapse began in '09.  

So this formula as you explain it is patently and factually untrue by Solano County public records.  Even at the current post collapse rates my discounted accessed property tax is 10K higher than the neighbor you zestimate 10K more than my property.  I was warned about Zillow's inaccuracies because I used to compliment Zillow when I was house hunting.  Now seeing how wrong your estimates AND your explanations for them are I will make sure I tell every home owner my experience."

Oddly enough Zillow publishes the Solano County tax assessors records for both my "nearly comp" neighbor's sales history + tax assessment history as well as mine as Ms. Rosen for Zillow explains.  However, if her explanation of sales history + tax assessment history were factual then my property would follow those public Solano County facts. Well, clearly they don't.  Instead, Zillow "zestimates"  AGAINST both property sales price history since '99 as well as property value tax assessment history.  Zestimate as a starting point or not Zillow damages property owner/sellers by not following their own formula (as Ms. Rosen explains it).  I've checked with building permits here in Vacaville and there have been no additions to my neighbor's property and it still assesses lower than mine with the County Property Tax Assessor.  If Zillow followed the supposed formula of sales history + assessment history without frilling it up with a secret algorithm maybe they would have far fewer complaints about their zestimates because in spite of Ms Rosen's claim (for Zillow) in my case past sales history and past tax assessment were ignored resulting in a lower Zestimate while they were also ignored in my neighbor's case (who has a nice house but lacks a pool and a 3rd bedroom like I have - both sets of facts appear on the tax assessors PUBLIC records) receiving a zestimate that goes against the sales history = tax history formula Ms. Rosen says Zillow partly relies on.  I refuse to put an owner estimate on my property as Zillow says I can. Why should I correct their error? When I sale I will hire an appraiser ... in the meantime I find it very off-putting that Zillow has so many complaints about Zestimates yet sticks with them and doesn't even follow their own explained sales history + tax history explanation.
  • May 30 2013
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