Question about photo and estimate for my home.

The photo of my home at 3623 E. Colter St., Phoenix, AZ 85018 which you show on Zillow is almost three and a half years oId and in the interim, I spent $35,000 upgrading my front yard and installing a walled courtyard and new landscaping.  Your photo doesn't look at all like my home and I don't believe the upgrades have been factored in to your Zestimate.  How often do you update your photos?  Would it be possible to update the photo of my home?

In addition, during the past five years I have installed a new central heating and air conditioning system, replaced all doors and windows with Anderson doors and windows, installed R38 insulation in the attic, built a new patio in the back yard, and installed a slump block wall around the property.  These were all major expenses which I don't believe were factored into your zestimate. How can we update your data?  I have owned the home for twenty years and your data seems to relate to the time when the house was purchased. Please contact me at my home (602)381-0230 or at my work (602)468-0600 so we can talk about this.

Thank you,

Patricia Dempsey
  • June 07 - Camelback East
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Answers (3)

The system used by Zillow is outlined online on their webpage.  Zillow uses their own proprietary figure that they attached to your home.  The amount is based on a formula and that amount can vary from home to home.  The Zestimate is the not the appraised value, fair market value, or amount that your home would sell for if the house was put on the market for sale.  Property values in the Phoenix area have declined over the last several months so that may have some impact on the Zestimate that Zillow has placed on your home.  Each home can vary slightly based on the features of the home and other factors.
  • June 08
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If you need an appraisal, you will need to pay a local licensed appraiser.  No one offers free appraisals, not even Realtors that claim their CMA's are free.

There is a place to post your own appraisal or estimate and explanation on the home details page.
  • June 08
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You can post any photos you want to your home details page.  Zillow doesn't "provide" any photos.  They may be from a prior listing, or you may be looking at a Google Street view, or a Birds Eye view (Satellite photo) from Pictometry International by way of Microsoft Bing.

Photos are not used in the estimates.  Neither are most revisions since last purchased.  You can post info about the doors and windows and insulation and patio, but they are unlikely to affect the estimates.  They are not "appraisals", but only a starting point for further evaluation.  Though new estimates are provided nominally 3 times per week, new data posted to the details page is factored in slowly in the estimates over about a 2 month time period.

Also remember that Zillow does use county tax and assessment data in the estimates in addition to lot size, house size, bedroom count, bathroom count, sold price history...., so if you want a higher estimate, you need to make sure you not only get building permits for the work done, but that you report the improvements to the County to increase your property taxes.   No increase in taxes?  Then why should an AVM calculate a higher value?

http://www.zillow.com/zestimate/

Don't forget that the amount of money spend on maintenance or improvements has almost NOTHING to do with potential change in resale value.  In most cases, change in value from an "improvement project" is less than 20% of the cost of doing the project.

If you would like to look at other FREE AVM's, have a look at the thread:
http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/What-is-the-most-complete-list-of-Home-Estimating-websites-that-you-have-seen/413475/
  • June 08
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