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Price History

In the price history section, I frequently see the exact same price listed years apart on two consecutive "sales," apparently from public records.  The second is obviously not a sale, but some sort of re-recording.  I don't know if they are re-naming from divorces, deaths, or what.  I can easily ignore them, but I notice that they can result in the Zestimate graph suddenly taking a turn, suggesting that the second figure is a legitimate market price, and then affecting the Zestimate indefinitely.  This obviously needs to be fixed, but I would also be curious to know what sort of public records frequently result in these bogus numbers?  
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March 24 2011 - North Cheyenne
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Answers (6)

Best Answer
Hello Richard,

There are a number of transfers that do not trigger a price update, such as those you already mentioned.  Transferring from one Spouse to both spouses, from both to one, into a trust, even a correction of spelling are also recordings that do not affect the price.  The problem with Zillow's algorithm is that it does not look at the sales price by date and relate it to the date of the current change of ownership, so you sometimes will see this anomaly. 

The good news (or bad news, depending on how you view it) is that no one who really cares about accurate values would use a Zestimate to establish the actual value of a property.  In a declining market, as we have seen, Zestimates trail actual value anyway (and in some cases rather significantly), so they do not accurately reflect the market.  So this anomaly does not really have any meaning or affect in our Real Estate universe.

Hope this helps, and thanks for reading.
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March 24 2011
Thanks for the update on your original question.  Looks like I was right. (Patting myself on the back).  Can I get a thumbs up?

Best holiday wishes Richard.
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December 01 2011
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Now that Zillow includes a link to county tax records, the question is answered. Indeed when an identical price occurs, it is not a sale, but just a change in name. So the quick method of checking for previous prices is to throw out the later duplicates; otherwise the link (for Clark County, Nevada, anyway) allows quick access to the facts.
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December 01 2011
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Hi Stan,

My house value is way off also. My Address is 1797 Hill St. Morro Bay, CA. Your estimator does not seem to be distinguishing between custom built houses and condominiums. The comparison to my house are a couple of condos on the same block as my house with smaller square footage and fewer bedrooms and bathrooms. I recently got and appraisal for my home and it came in at $620,000. Zillow is showing the value to be $360,000??? When I talk to a lender to refinance they assume the house is worth a lot less than it is because they are going to your site. I have to explain to them that it's an incorrect estimate. It gets very frustrating. P.S. The house next door to mine 494 Rockview is also way off value.
I hope you guys will do something to fix this problem.

Thanks,

Robert
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August 24 2011
Hi Richard.  Can you give the address for a particular example of this occurring? 

Thanks.

Stan
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March 24 2011
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To further clarify my question, these include properties sold at peak of bubble in 05 or 06, and then "selling" again in 09 at same price, in Las Vegas, for example after 50% or greater drop in comparable values.  This market was and is way to efficient for someone to have paid double or triple the market price in 2009. Cash investors are too well informed and others would have been unable to get mortgages for those outdated prices.  So the answer that seller was happy to get out from under their house is clearly incorrect.  Anybody know the explanation?  
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March 24 2011
 
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