Profile picture for mastermechanic

Has anyone ever sued Zillow over their estimates for lost home value?

I've been monitoring Zillow for 4 years as they have continually misrepresented the value of my home. I have 2 cabins without electricity within 1000 feet of my home estimated value at around $200,000. The house next door is less desirable then mine (no garage, no granny, less land, no garden or hot tub, etc.) and is valued at $295,000. While it is slightly larger then my home, it is less home.  When I purchased my home 12 years ago, the house next door comped LESS then my home! In addition, I recently upgraded my roof at a cost of $27,000. Yet Zillow lists my house for $239,000. That's just WRONG!!! If the hose next door is worth $295,000, my house should be worth $339,000, not $239,000. Why has Zillow continually underestimated my house? The last time I had it appraised, (before the new roof), it came in at $400,000. At that time, Zillow was saying $320,000. How do I get Zillow to bring their estimate closer to reality before it substantially effects my ability to sell or refinance?
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November 22 2009 - US
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Answers (9)

Profile picture for user148357
I just bought a house , zillow said is was worth 156,000.00 after I bought it the estmemate was 114,000.00 now a house that is two doors downs Zillow said it is worth 146,000.00 .. O and by the was the my I sold zillow said it was worth only 105,000.00 I got 142,000.00 it apparised for 149,000.00 Zillow needs to stick their estimates *******.. Not only did I buy a house I thought was a good deal but I really got ***** because I really thought I was getting a good deal but the house I bought should have been esteimated at 80,0000 thousand .. It is wrong what zillow is doing and they are doing it for the banks that is something I have noticed ,, really wrong what thery are doing ..
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June 01 2013
There's nothing I can really add to the many excellent responses here. Only this:

A Zestimate is not an appraisal. There's no way it could be -- we can't drive by your home, or go into your home, or directly see the fine new roof you've installed. A Zestimate is really the first step to researching the value of a property -- a place for someone to start, then have a look at all the additions you've made.

Do we want a Zestimate to be as accurate as possible? Yes. Zillow gives you numerous tools to help make your home data accurate; others in this thread have mentioned them. Do we still encourage people to get CMAs when they're deeply interested in a property? Absolutely. Zillow is great place to start. Thanks everyone for assisting this user. Zillow at its best.
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November 24 2009
Profile picture for lifebeyondEarth

How about if zillow estimate at 1 million. :)    :D

Are you ready to pay taxes? You can hire to submitt papers to your county office and get it appraised to $1,000,000. They would love to see extra revenue coming...
 

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November 23 2009
Now, about tuning your zestimate...

I assume you have claimed and updated info about your property.  If you have not done so, do it.  (Advice -> Zillow FAQs -> entries about zestimates).

When that is done, open your home's entry, scroll down, click Charts & Data.  Spend a few minutes playing with the selections there  (compare zip code to city, city to city if you have multiple city selections, etc).  Think about what you see.  You can learn a lot about your location's overall housing market this way.  And, in this economy, never doubt the overall market is going to impact you. 

If you (like me) live in a location largely dependent on 'feeder' cities (we sell a lot of vacation and second homes around here) - go back to the Homes menu option, enter a feeder city name/state.  Select a house and go check out those chart & data trends.  That can be impacting house prices in your city too.

Check out the comps Zillow is using as part of your zestimate calculation. If you disagree with the selected comps, drop them, add new.  (Advice -> Zillow FAQs -> Most popular questions -> the comps entries).   Wait a few days or weeks (it takes time to update every house in the country) and check to see how/if your zestimate has changed.  Tune again.

Finally and always (as has already been mentioned here) remember the zestimate is generated by a computer system that is trying to evaluate almost every house in the country.  It cannot know about every detail on every house.  It is one of several estimates your house has floating around on the internet (go check out cyberhomes).  When shove comes to push, none of these should be used to determine anything about your home's value.

PS - What IS a granny? 
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November 23 2009
"If you contact a lender for a refi or a loan on or for the property and they say "hold on let me check the zestimate", take your papers and run because it would be a scam and if you put your home for sale and the agent says  "we should sell it for "x" because that is what the zestimate quotes"  then get a new agent"

Can we get that engraved in stone somewhere?
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November 23 2009
Good answers guys,

 many people neglect to remember that the Zestimate is an estimate and not used by professional services for determining the proper bidding or value estimates of a home.

If you contact a lender for a refi or a loan on or for the property and they say "hold on let me check the zestimate", take your papers and run because it would be a scam and if you put your home for sale and the agent says  "we should sell it for "x" because that is what the zestimate quotes"  then get a new agent

... if you are unhappy because your neighbors zestimate is higher than yours, get an appraisal, and stick a sign with the value determined in your lawn so the neighbors can admire it too. other than that, take the zestimate for what it is (zillows, algorithm based opinion of value) and don't get too bothered by it being off.
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November 22 2009
Profile picture for Mr Caveat
yes, and they lost badly

zillow as a media company is entitled to their opinion, entitled to voice it and print it. further, if there ever existed a possibility of proving lost value, it becomes a chicken of the egg argument.

did the home sell for less because zillow undervalued it? or did zillow value it perfectly and thus the bids supported zillow?

btw i think it is a mistake to use your neighbor's zestimate to prove that zillow has undervalued your house. if you want a stronger opinion, contact a real estate agent
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November 22 2009
Profile picture for the_country_hick
An estimate is just an estimate after all. It could be perfect or very far off. Nothing can be done legally about an opinion which is all an estimate really is. 

You said you upgraded your roof. Although that is a nice improvement for you it may not add any value to the house. Up here one person added a slate roof at great expense to their house. But when they went to sell it no value was added to the house.

Zillows value is not what the banks look at. Buyers may if you ever sell, but the banks do not care about any non-authorized (by them) evaluation.
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November 22 2009
Profile picture for sunnyview
I am not Zillow, but I can tell you what I have seen after looking at lots of houses over time on the site. Two things may be substantially affecting your value on the site from what I have seen the last sale price and the assessed/real market value. You say you bought 12 years ago. If your neighbor house was sold more recently for a higher price it would likely have a higher tax assessment and a higher last sales price. Both the assessed value and the higher sales price might give the house a higher Zestimate than yours. Zillow figures both of those numbers heavily in the mix for Zestimates. Zillow also cannot see your improvements unless they result in a higher tax value or sale so in the meantime you might consider adding them to the home details and that might help adjust your value some.

There is an upside to being a long term owner. If your area drops in value as many did during the bubble, your house would probably drop less percentage wise that a house purchased during the bubble even if that buyer who got a really good deal because of the way that numbers seem to work on the site. Zillow is not an estimate and any banks or lender that use it to make lending decisions should be shot. Zillow doesn't even allow it's data to be used that way. You can add your last appraisal and date to your owner details section on your main home page so that people and banks can see that there is a difference between Zillow's estimate and the appraised value. Zillow does not decide how much your house is worth. Claim your house, take control of your home page and know that it is only an estimate based on numbers alone.
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November 22 2009
 
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