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Our townhouse is on zillow and the zestimate is $200,000 off of the appraised value. Why?

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January 22 2012 - South Lake Tahoe
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Answers (9)

Best Answer
Unfortunately it seems because they can is the only answer.

Personally, I think it is outrageous that a company can plant erroneous and unwanted valuations on peoples homes the way Zillow does purely for commercial reasons without any responsibility or accountability for the consequences, purely for the purpose of attracting advertising revenues.

The fact that the homeowner is denied any right of appeal by Zillow is a travesty, and it's time our legislators caught up with the technology and introduced some form of Regulation over AVM sites like Zillow to stop this nonsense. No wonder home prices are in a race to the bottom when such irresponsible valuations are published using a flawed algorithm that has never been publicly tested and the source data that Zillow uses is riddled with errors. What fair minded society would approve this stuff?  
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January 22 2012
Whats your address ? Ill look up comps...
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February 03 2012
Profile picture for sunnyview
Sorry to disappoint, but I'm no Zestimate defender. They are what they are and I understand what they aren't. I acknowledge their limitations and try to pass that information to owners so they can take steps to make their home pages as accurate as possible within the obvious constraints of any AVM like Zillow. 

The larger point is that a house is not worth what any owner, agent or any site says unless a qualified buyer is willing to pay that amount. Zillow, appraisers and agents opinions are irrelevant until you have a qualified buyer ready to close. Do you disagree with that?

Maybe you see property values differently than I do. I'm always interested in listening to other points of view since I think they often lead to thinking about things in a new way.
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February 03 2012
So thats the best defense there is for inaccurate zestimates?
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February 03 2012
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"If someone pays for an appraisal and complains that zillow is inaccurate it is not a perception issue but a reflection of the failings of Zillow and it's flawed zestimate algorithm."

Not really. Appraisals for refi tend to be a bit different than appraisals for purchase especially if you have equity. You never really know what your house is worth until you go to sell and it is not uncommon for properties to appraise higher than the market is actually willing to pay.

Your house is not worth what an appraiser, an agent or Zillow says it is worth. In the end, it is only worth what a qualified buyer is willing to pay. Until you sell, everything is some form of an educated  (or uneducated guess) based on varying degrees of information.
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February 03 2012
The original poster's complaint was that the zestimate is $200k below the Appraised value. The previous years trend history is irrelevant for a current appraisal. If someone pays for an appraisal and complains that zillow is inaccurate it is not a perception issue but a reflection of the failings of Zillow and it's flawed zestimate algorithm.
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February 03 2012
Profile picture for sunnyview
"...refusing all reasonable requests by homeowners to correct erroneous zestimates."

You say they are erroneous, but the median chart shows dropping values here and local agents seem to say the same thing here. Trulia's chart is here. All show double digit losses in the last year.

I will not argue that individual Zestimates are accurate, but I would ask are owners really in touch with values in their area? Perception is not reality just like Zestimates are not appraisals.
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February 03 2012
Thanks for the best answer nomination. It's time that Zillow listened to complaints like the one you made and took action like any fair minded company would. The fact they refuse to speaks volumes about the ethics of Zillow and their greed to attract Ad revenue purely by being controversial and refusing all reasonable requests by homeowners to correct erroneous zestimates.
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February 03 2012
Profile picture for wetdawgs
A Zestimate is a number calculated using the core public facts.  It is not calculated with the advantage of seeing the property, seeing the views, upgrades and other features which may add value.    An appraiser has seen the property in person, but even that is still an opinion of value.

Here are a couple of links which may provide some background:

What is a Zestimate?
Data coverage and accuracy.

What you do?   You can claim your home on Zillow.  If data are missing or incorrect, you can add it.  It may affect the Zestimate (edits reflect slowly in the Zestimate - perhaps 8 weeks to fully affect the Zestimate)

Zillow is one of dozens of sites providing numbers from AVMs (automated valuation models).   In different areas, some are better and some are worse.

Meanwhile, enjoy your time in Tahoe. 
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January 22 2012
 
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