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ERRONEOUS ZESTIMATES/COMPS

I think I may have realized why many homes are currently valued completely incorrectly in certain cases, including mine which is now shown as being worth roughly one third of its true value. When my ex moved out earlier in the year, we had to have the house re-deeded in my name only. The county records shows this as being a transaction with a sale price of 0. As soon as the transaction was recorded with the county, the zestimate on my house went through the floor. It also destroyed property values of the entire surrounding area, all because of my erroneous "comp" value of 0. Clearly, the house was not sold for $0, it was simply a legal instrument. Zillow needs to fix this in their "proprietary algorithms", or allow property owners to adjust, or remove the zestimate altogether. Yes, we all understand that the zestimate is "merely a ... and cannot be considered ..." legal bs mumbo jumbo blah blah, but then why have it at all if it's just going to be some arbitrary figure that can't be considered reliable information anyways? The fact is, people see the zestimate figure and it influences their thinking. A lot of people (especially inexperienced and first-time buyers) put a good amount of faith in zillow's site and consider it to be a good reliable tool, so to be displaying erroneous values kind of undermines your own reputation.

Anyone reading this on the Zillow staff, please explain how I may be able to get my zestimate figure corrected without selling my home back to myself for its true value.
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November 18 2011 - Concord
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Unfortunately, Zillow is only estimating value. By no means should anyone (sellers or buyers) rely solely on an online estimate of a home or a tax estimate. Proper valuation may be done by an appraiser or a comparative market analysis presented by a knowledgeable Realtor in your area.
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November 18 2011
Interesting point. Yours may be the first comment I've seen that--after complaining about an inaccurate Zestimate--actually provides some information that is relevant. That's a good thing!

I'm a Zillow outsider, too. But I wouldn't think it'd be too difficult to build something into the algorithm to ignore transfer figures that clearly don't reflect a property's value. For instance, ignore (don't include in the calculations) any transfer amount of less than Interesting point. Yours may be the first comment I've seen that--after complaining about an inaccurate Zestimate--actually provides some information that is relevant. That's a good thing!

I'm a Zillow outsider, too. But I wouldn't think it'd be too difficult to build something into the algorithm to ignore transfer figures that clearly don't reflect a property's value. For instance, ignore (don't include in the calculations) any transfer amount of less than $100.

One thing you might look into: some taxing jurisdictions (where I live, for instance) will flag transactions that aren't arm's length and aren't reflective of a property's value.

One thing you might look into: some taxing jurisdictions (where I live, for instance) will flag transactions that aren't arm's length and aren't reflective of a property's value.


See the "Market Value" column on the screen capture above.

It's possible that your jurisdication has such an indicator, but yours isn't so flagged. If that's the case, you might consider contacting your jurisdiction and correcting the record. Or Zillow might be able to take that field (where it exists) and use it to either exclude records or to reduce the effect of those non-market transactions.

Good question.

Hope that helps.
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November 18 2011
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When a transaction such as that you describe has been recorded and misunderstood as a sale, open your home details page, scroll down to the Price History table and then click on the little white flag on the right end of the row of numbers showing the transaction.   Zillow will investigate with the county records (it can take a couple of weeks).   With an alert, Zillow does not include such values in Zestimate calculations.
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November 18 2011
 including mine which is now shown as being worth roughly one third of its true value

My experience is that Zillow OVER values homes, if anything, at least in my area. I quantify my valations with Zestimates to show Zillow - if anything - is far more generous on values than I would be. I think its because....

1- Zestimates only look at sales, not pendings and listings, and most areas are still depreciating, hence the data they use is always historical, never forward looking.

2- A secretive xx% upside fudge factor is written into a algorithim for purely politicla reasons, ie they want their values to be higher than some of their competitors...

In your case. your 'redeeding' had no effect on your Zestimate as Zillow factors only GRANT deeds, and not non-full-value transfers. ALSO even though your specific home Zestimate may be out of whack, your AREAS ZHI - Zillow Home Index - is unaffected by your transfer.  I never look at specific home Zestimates for values, but the area's values - since they are basically algorithim-less - are a better indicator of where your homes value is...

Read more about the Zestimate here...

http://www.zillow.com/howto/DataCoverageZestimateAccuracy.htm
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November 18 2011
 
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