How do I get you to correct libelous misinformation you posted about my property?

Zillow's posting for 1130 W. Linden St. misrepresents the rents and the mortgage

  • January 11 2012 - Allentown
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Answers (14)

Profile picture for blue screen exile
If you truly believe it is "libel", you have your lawyer contact Kathleen Philips; Zillow's general council on staff.

As for correcting "opinions" it is unlikely that you will do so; but for any public records information that is incorrect, you can flag it, and for general things like # bedrooms, you can edit that yourself after claiming the property.

Zillow will remove data points for estimates if substantially outside of the stated tolerance range due to use of recent sales in the area that didn't apply, or that had substantially wrong recorded information.  They calculated new values automatically each week as new data comes in, so one should not get too attached to any one number.

Rent Zestimates are based on modeling the listed for rent properties on Zillow, and does not consider actual rental costs after negotiation with a renter, nor already rented units, nor units privately rented that are not advertised.  The U.S. Census data would be more useful for that if that was the objective.

It is unlikely that buyers will be persuaded one way or the other by machine generated opinions.  The disclaimers on Zillow are extremely clear for those that chose to read them.  And anyone represented by an agent will be given alternative information for consideration.  Not to mention, there are many other websites that provide similar opinions, and people that want machine generated opinions typically look for a number of them and do their own analysis.

As already mentioned, the "mortgage" is not intended to represent the present mortgage amount; it only is an extrapolation based on the AVERAGE ZMM quote for the day for 30 year fixed, 20% down, 740+ FICO.  It will typically calculate for "list price", but will also use a "make me move", or if neither provided, it will use the "Zestimate".  You can change many of the parameters for other assumptions for comparison, including your "offer" amount.  The intent is a "quick comparison" of "buy verses rent", but it is never intended to replace people's own study, research, and homework.
  • January 11 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
What Zestimates do accomplish is:
A few people posting their Opinion as if it were a Fact

I think what they accomplish is obviously open to debate
  • January 11 2012
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Profile picture for hpvanc
Debbie Rose wrote an excellent reply here.  I agree with all of it except forgetting about the Zestimate completely.  Keep in mind #1 from her list

"1. zestimates have no bearing on true market value."

Properties are selling for both far more and far less than the Zestimate value even in markets where they are fairly accurate.  What Zestimates do accomplish is:

1.    Adds transparency to the market, something the real estate market badly needs to recover to a healthy stable market.  Transparency on all sides of a transaction is necessary for an efficient market.
2.    Gets more people talking about values, reducing the prices subjectivity to manipulation by various parties not the least of which is the government on the behalf or special interest groups, allowing capitalism to flourish.
  • January 11 2012
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Tug of War: Thanks, again.  My entire experience with Zillow began this morning.  Your input has been very helpful.  I plan to do exactly what you suggest. Regards. David
  • January 11 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
Good Luck David...
They seem to have responded to questions all around yours but....so if you wish the opinion of or a response from Zillow Email is probably your best bet

Now I'll be honest..
I'm a jerk so I'd just be emailing the CEO non-stop until I got an actual response from someone (From Zillow)..
Why...because I have little Patience or Respect for the type of lackadaisical Customer/Consumer Contact/Response system employed/used by Zillow and their excuses for their poor (imo) performance are pretty lame (again imo)
(Seriously..I would)
Spencer Rascoff Zillow CEO
  • January 11 2012
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Well, the property won't be sold for the "right" price if a prospective buyer considers the Zillow price to be authoritative and the posted information (in this instance incorrect) appears to confirm Zillow's judgment.
  • January 11 2012
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Profile picture for hpvanc
I forgot to mention that you will have to claim the property to update the unit count.

Unfortunately the estimates will not reflect the renovated status unless it is reflected in the tax assessment or is resold at a value that reflects the renovation.  As usual the Zestimate range is a better starting indicator that would allow potential buyers/renters to have a starting point and then make a judgement call base on what they observe.  Unfortunately it is the Zestimate number that is front and center instead of the range.
  • January 11 2012
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Profile picture for hpvanc
As a consumer, I can see what may be causing the problem and would take it with a grain of salt if I were searching for an apartment.  It is listed as multi-family with 1 unit, 8 bedrooms and 4.5 baths.  I would update the unit count, while Zestimates don't work well for multi-family housing, you will at least provide better information for the statistical rent estimate (I'm not sure how they can even derive a useful number since signed leases are not recorded public or even consistently consolidated as proprietary non public information).

As to the mortgage estimate, it is based on 20% down at current rates and current estimated value.  Given the current state of the market and lending practices of the past many peoples actual mortgage will be less than the estimated mortgage payment.
  • January 11 2012
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Thanks Tug O War.  I'll reach out to the names you suggested.  For the other contributor, it's the posted rent figure that is badly misleading.  For that matter, the osted market value figure does not take into accoount the total rehabilitation of the property in a neighborhood of largely derelict housing.  An uniformed prospective buyer who looked at the Zillow site would get a very bad impression of a very nice property.
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Green tags are next to all Zillow employees screen names. I haven't seen Zillow change a rent estimate ever, but you can ask.

I am curious though. How is an estimate based on current mortgage rates in a mortgage calculator libelous?
  • January 11 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
If you are asking if they are employed by Zillow the answer would be No Employees have a Green Zillow Tag next to their Picture

If an employee does not respond here or you wish to skip the Q & A process I'd suggest Emailing one of these Zillow Staff members
Ice L.

Neil Roxas

Nida Makein

If that does not work I'd Email
Russ Hatfield  ..Customer and Community Support

I've also seen this Number tossed about as a Customer Service number but have no clue if it would be of any actual help
1-877-661-3170


Good Luck
I

  • January 11 2012
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Do you speak for Zillow?
  • January 11 2012
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Profile picture for Lori200
If you are the owner, you may claim the property and edit it.  The response below is probably accurate.
  • January 11 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I think that the mortgage and rent information shown on home pages are for demonstration only and do not reflect your (or any) specific mortgage balance or rent. The amounts posted are based on going mortgage rates and the Zestimate not an actual mortgage amount.

There is information on the Rent Zestimate here, but I believe that it is loosely based on HUD fair market rent plus otehr things and it may be higher or lower than your actual collected rents.
  • January 11 2012
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