Profile picture for AC DC

I want Zillow to reevaluate my property's Zestimate. The new formula is seriously flawed!

Recent sale records of neighboring houses reflect a significant increase in my home value (if I select the actual nearby homes), yet the Zestimate for my home has dropped precipitously. I would like an accurate estimate of my house to gauge whether I should refinance, and other estimate sites suggest my home is worth $140,000 more than the Zestimate, based on actual nearby home sales. Is this just a flaw in the Zestimate that will be fixed, or is Zillow no longer a useful tool for gaging whether my home value is comparable to actual sales?
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July 02 2011 - Near Northeast
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Answers (8)

Profile picture for AC DC
Thanks Sharon. I've used the lender in the past with good results, and yes, she (representing THE major lender in the country) went directly to Zillow and even sent me the link to my home. It is apparently widely used. I also have my realtor looking into the value, but she too was concerned that appraisers start at Zillow as a basis for their valuations. It's incredibly frustrating, as you can imagine, to hear professionals are using Zillow, since clearly as a search engine it's more of a toy than a tool. Both of these professionals know exactly why I'm interested in my home value and they are much more helpful than the flawed Zillow valuation. Hopefully they can find an honest appraiser who does not start at Zillow when valuing homes. My home facts are the same as before - correct; the homes Zillow compares my home to are the problem, as they are miles away from my urban home in a completely different neighborhood.
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July 07 2011
oh PS, if your lender really did use Zillow.....and I question that....then I would suggest you change lenders....right away.
Talk to any of the mortgage people here on Zillow, I doubt whether you will find anyone using general search engines to value someones home.
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July 07 2011
DC is looking a lot stronger lately. What you can do is go in and tweak your home facts.
If you want to know whether you should refinance, call your loan people. If you want to know what your house is currently worth,have it professionally appraised or call a local realtor and see if they will do a comparative market analysis on your home.....be upfront, tell them why. I will do it for a homeowner but dislike being lied to, I appreciate it when the home owner is truthful. This is my job, my passion so helping people goes along with that. I am sure you would do the same in your line of work.
Re the Zestimate, read on
http://www.zillow.com/wikipages/Most-Popular-Zillow-Questions/
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July 07 2011
Profile picture for AC DC

Pasadena, I would appreciate your input on this. I just contacted my lender about refinancing . Guess what the first thing they did was - they went to Zillow and quoted me this rediculously low estimate and asked if I thought it was accurate. So, while the disclaimers say Zillow is essentially a toy for valuation and not a tool for actual home values, apparently Zillow has marked itself a little differently and lenders apparently think it's accurate enough to dissuade lending decisions, despite it's incredibly inaccurate valuations in some neighborhoods.

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July 07 2011
Profile picture for AC DC
Thanks, Pasa, I can read the disclaimers. However, if Zillow is not to be used for gauging actual home value estimates, and is not to be used as a comparative tool, then it's pretty much a useless website, and is certainly far from "more 'useful' than ever," despite what Zillow apologists assert. Unfortunately, appraisers and lenders do ask homeowners what they consider the value of their home to be, and despite the disclaimers they (appraisers and lenders) do, in fact, seek input from sources such as Zillow - like it or not. Using tools such as Zillow previously enabled homeowners to select like homes and compare the price per square foot, but based on the new valuations it is unclear what Zestimates are based on - certainly not nearby home sales, price per square foot, or localized market trends. If Zillow values reputation it will add transparency to the Zestimate valuation, including taking into consideration more localized prices, longer trending, and improved criteria for comparing like sales.
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July 04 2011
Profile picture for sunnyview
Zillow did change their algorithm in the last bit of time. From what I read on Advice threads, Zillow is still working with it to try to trouble shoot buggy areas. Some areas are clearly more affected than others.

There is a discussion here where you can post address of houses that seem to be very off based on recent sales or just charts that show very extreme changes in short period of time.

For example, I recently looked at some house in Texas that seemed to be effected very little while others charts went from 200K to 1M and then back to about 200K. If you have charts in your area that are wonky like that, please post them in that other discussion so the Zillow can take a look. I think that information like that from people will ultimately help Zillow work out the bugs and more accurate values helps everyone: buyers, sellers and owners.
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July 04 2011
Profile picture for camanicac
Yes, there are other websites however, many of them use figures found on Zillow.  I'm very unhappy with the new Zestimate and although it is intended as a tool, it does impact the value of a home.  Home buyers use this as a guide.  My asking price is not going to be taken seriously by the buyer who sees Zillow has valued it at 1/3 less.
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July 04 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Don't worry; Zillow recalculates 3 times a week...

And Zillow is working on some other changes and will be recalculating all estimates for all properties from 1996 forward in the near future.

And you can always get other automated estimates from at least 20 other websites.  Or you can pay for an appraisal.

Yes, Zillow is more "useful" than ever, but it was never intended to be used for lending nor purchase decisions without additional analysis.  The disclaimers are still there and haven't changed.
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July 02 2011
 
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I want Zillow to reevaluate my property's Zestimate. The new formula is seriously flawed!
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July 07 2011 | 8 answers
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