Profile picture for noppenbd

Zestimate history changed overnight?

Just checked my home's zestimate and the value dropped $25,000 overnight.  Not only that, but the zestimate history changed so even the old valuations were lower.  This seems like a bug.  I have seen big swings from day to day but I have never seen the history change.  Has anyone seen this besides me?
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June 14 2011 - Charles Village
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Answers (10)

Profile picture for miroslawg

I have used Zestimate charts a lot in the past three years. I tracked changes in the market where we are looking to buy a house (Central Florida). I compared asking and selling prices to the current Zestimates. In a way, I used Zestimate as market valuation baseline. Even with its inaccuracy, it was a very useful baseline. 
It is all out the window now as Zillow rewrote its own history.

In their own Q and A-s Zillow writes:
"Q: Will these changes impact the Zestimate history?
A: Possibly. …"
This is so dishonest! All the properties I have in my record (approx 60) have changed significantly.
I am done with Zestimes. If there are users like me out there, they will sure be disappointed.

Who is Zillow trying to please with this? I am sure its critics are celebrating: " We told you. It's wacky. Talk to your local agent"

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July 04 2011
Profile picture for doralgate
@ Dawgs - Yeah I don't usually read all the way to the last line that normally contains the page number....and even after you told me a had to do a double take to see it next to the copyright and terms of use in light gray on gray background....If they really would like people to know they would not try to hide it. The Zestimate itself is very prominently displayed in bold colors and large print. Oh well I knew befor that the Zestimate was off but now I know how OFF it can really be and know where to direct people to find out themselves.
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June 14 2011
Profile picture for TerryHershner
Agreed noppenbd.  The history that was viewed as a march 2010 zestimate for example should remain a fixed figure.  If they are using new methods to calculate values that they think are better, that's great!  But don't manipulate the historical value that people looked at and helped them in conjunction with an appraisal to come up with a value to buy or sell.  Use the new, improved calculation method to adjust home values either up or down for June 2011 forward.  May 2011 data and prior should not be changed.  It is called "history" for a reason!  It's the value Zillow estimated it at on that date.  Their new calculation methods were not in use then, and therefore it is dishonest and manipulatory to go back and try to "fix" their valuation mistakes, if that's what they believe they were.  All that really matters is what today's value is anyway.  Leave the historical data alone!
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June 14 2011
Profile picture for noppenbd
I understand they changed the algorithm but I think it is disingenuous to retroactively change the "zestimate history" which should be exactly what it says, the history of the zestimate.  I will no longer be using zillow to estimate the value of my house, even for fun.
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June 14 2011
Profile picture for wetdawgs
 @Doralgate:  The Zestimate® Values & Accuracy is readily available all the time but it is at the very bottom of this page in grey.   Perhaps I'm getting old, but words in darker colors at the top of the page (or side) catch my attention first.
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June 14 2011
Profile picture for sunnyview
I agree that people would understand better if they read that page too. I think that some people mistakenly think that Zestimates are like pretty accurate "automated CMA" that you might get from an agent, but they not. They are much more heavily influenced by assessments and larger trends in the market than a local CMA for better or worse. Also, in some areas the information is simply not readily available so the numbers are wonky.

Personally, I tend to use the Zindex? (the local value information page) either by neighborhood or zip a lot more than the Zestimate. It is easier for me to judge whether a house is above below or at the median for the area than relying on the one Zestimate number. Any way you cut it though, I completely agree that understanding where the values on Zillow come from is something that is important for every owner. 



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June 14 2011
Profile picture for doralgate
Sunnyview...thanks for the link to the Accuracy Chart for the zestimates...it was very educating and I'm very surprised that they can't get any closer with all the data they have available. I also think instead of all their advertising they should post that as a sticky somwhere where everybody can see it and a whole less people would be yelling about their zestimates being wrong. Then on the other hand it would show people just how OFF they are.
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June 14 2011
Profile picture for wetdawgs
@TerryHerschner:

If Zillow is continuing to collect historical data to flesh out their database, why can't they change the historical calculation?    This is a statistical evaluation of the data, and new/additional data from way back when would mean a new calculation.

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June 14 2011
Profile picture for sunnyview
I think that Zillow updated their algorithms in the last couple days.  There is more about it here. There is also a discussion thread here. I appreciate Zillow's historical charts and follow a handful of different areas in different parts of the country, but I have not been able to look at all the new information in more than one or two areas yet.

The first area seem completely unchanged up or down in Zestimate to the dollar, but the second one looks like it has been adjusted down maybe 10% off the old peak. It is hard to tell without the old chart.

Zestimates are not appraisals so it's a valuation, but not truly lost value like a lower sale, appraisal or even more tailored CMA with selected comps instead of broader numbers.
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June 14 2011
Profile picture for TerryHershner
Yes, I am trying to get CNBC's Diana Olick to report on this.  Historical values can not change by definition.  This must be a bug.  I noticed it this morning too.
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June 14 2011
 
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Zestimate history changed overnight?
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July 04 2011 | 10 answers
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