Profile picture for CrystalLake06029

Zestimate is raising questions with buyers of my property - estimate doesn't make sense

How to I get Zillow officials to "correct" their zestimate on my 146 West Shore Rd, 06029 property?   146 West Shore Rd is a lot w/a 2-car garage on it.   But somehow Zillow has it worth more than my 149 West Shore Rd waterfront house and property.  It doesn't make any sense and its raising concerns&questions with potential buyers.

Had a interested buyer yesterday ask after inspecting the properties why the Zillow zestimate was so much higher for the lot, than the waterfront house?  Good question (and one I've asked before to this group).  Clearly he had visited Zillow and it was impacting his decisions re: my asking price.  I tried to explain how there were others properties on the street that had zestimates that made no sense.  Like the empty 19' lot next to my house that is zestimated at more than either of my two properties.  Go figure.

Zillow "owes" it to homeowners to be more careful about their figures.   This erronous information could derail a sale since some viewers consider Zillow an expert @ real estate values.   You should include a big disclaimer next to each zestimate.  

  • April 06 2009 - US
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Answers (817)

Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
How does one get a Zestimate "removed".  Have noticed some "for sales" posted on Zillow that do not have Zestimate.  One reads,

"Zestimate none"

If Zillow can't correct a zestimate, than please remove it.



  • April 10 2009
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Profile picture for Buckeye45875

Manage the situation with data. Get a formal appraisal done. Banks don't lend on Zestimates but they do on formal appraisals. The appraisal may not suffice for the buyer's lender since they did not order it but it will end the discussion about the Zestimate with this buyer or future buyers if this one doesn't pan out.

  • April 10 2009
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I agree. Since Zillow does not remove Zestimates, your best bet is suggesting an appraisal. If the appraisal is more than the offer/list, the buyer pays for it. If the appraisal is less than the offer/list price, you can offer to pay for it. Zillow is not an appraisal. Any buyers who are using it to browbeat sellers are either unaware of what the number really means or just want a lever to move the seller in their direction. Either way, an appraisal ends that discussion as it should.
  • April 10 2009
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
The Zestimate details in the depths of the site have numerous details saying specifically that it is not an appraisal.

I'd have an appraisal done and add it to the homeowner's details.
  • April 10 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
> Since Zillow does not remove Zestimates,

How then do some homes/properties listed For Sale on Zillow "not" have
an zestimate listed?    Would be one thing if every property had
an zestimate, but when you see "none" listed, that too should raise a red flag.

Here's some examples:

      5 Charlene, 02891
      6 Cattail, 02891

So am just curious as to "why" some don't have them.   Were they removed when property was listed for sale?  Would seem so.
  • April 10 2009
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I have not seen Zestimate be removed by Zillow. I have seen many houses that do not have a Zestimate though. I think in most of these cases, the information that Zillow has is too incomplete to calculate a Zestimate for the house. Some of these houses are missing data from the local recorders office, some of these houses have no square footage listed with the assessor and some were recorded so long ago that there is not sales history available. Zillow has too little info to work with so they just say "none: under the Zestimate. After looking at many houses, I personally have never seen a house with a Zestimate one day then get listed and then have the Zestimate rmissing. I don't think Zillow would allow owners or agent to do that. Many would like to for different reasons. I think from reading the boards and the posts from agents and owners alike it is clear to me that they don't do that. The playing field on Zillow may have it's faults but it is a level one as far as I can see.
  • April 10 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
>> some of these houses have no square footage listed with the assessor and some were recorded so long ago that there is not sales history available. Zillow has too little info to work with so they just say "none: under the Zestimate.

not the cases with these. they're listed on Realtor.com and other sites with all the necessary/critical info one would list to help "sell" a house.  &  even when Zillow has the info, the zestimates don't always make sense.   sellers and buyers should see some disclaimers on those zestimates (or lack of them).     
  • April 10 2009
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Profile picture for sunnyview
You are right. The Zestimates do not always make sense.
  • April 10 2009
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Profile picture for Ice L.
  • Ice L.Zillow
  • 16340 contributions
Hi CrystalLake06029 -

We don't remove Zestimate values from homes. We don't publish Zestimates for homes that are either added manually to the website via a listing (i.e. without public records) or are in areas where we don't have sufficient data from county records to calculate Zestimate values. As mentioned by users who've contributed on this thread, Zestimates are a starting point, an estimate based on numbers and not the final word in home values. Disclaimers can be found here or just click the ? next to the Zestimate Value. Lastly, Zillow.com does not offer the Zestimate as the basis of any specific real-estate-related financial transaction.




  • April 10 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
>We don't publish Zestimates for homes that are either added manually to the website via a listing (i.e. without public records) or are in areas where we don't have sufficient data from county records to calculate Zestimate values.

Kinda odd how Pres Obama and John McCain's houses have zestimates, but Palin and Bedin's don't, says "none".  Can't believe after this election that Zillow doesn't have enough info to provide a zestimate on the VP candidates' houses.  If ever something was public record, it would that info.  

Clearly those that have inquired about my house, didn't find the Zillow  information provided about the zestimate "not the final word in home values" very convincing.  :)
  • April 10 2009
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as a realtor i have had clients refuse to offer a realistic price for a property that had estimates from several different sites including zillow.
in this day and age of the internet, people are getting dependent on machines rather than good ol' hard work and personal hands on knowledge.you can follow the advice of the previous posters that have a way to eliminate the zestimate but for future reference the reason realtors can sell homes is their personal contact,expert local knowlege and hands on experience.

good luck

  • April 11 2009
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Profile picture for Buckeye45875
First you say your clients don't follow your advice regarding a realistic offer. Then you say how valuable it is to have a realtor to get a home sold. Hmmm.
  • April 11 2009
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Profile picture for sunnyview
The problem is that many people do not understand how to use the available information here to come up with a solid offer outside of the one Zestimate and they feel understandably uncomfortable relying upon their realtors representations of value. It sort of creates a buyers no man's land. When I talk to to people about Zillow, I try to explain how to use the recently sold comps, the historical values and the neighborhood Zindex so they can come up with a number for the house they have more knowledge of personally that will be more accurate that the fairly broad Zestimate measure. I would hope that agents do the same for their clients. I think the an informed buyer is important and information is available here for buyers to make better decisions, but that information does not lie in one Zestimate number.
  • April 11 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
> as a realtor i have had clients refuse to offer a realistic price for a property that had estimates from several different sites including zillow.
in this day and age of the internet, people are getting dependent on machines rather than good ol' hard work and personal hands on knowledge.

Am more concerned about the "potentials" who after researching properties prior to calling or stopping by, and thus don't bother to contact.  if my "lookers" are being turned away by the misleading zestimates (again, the neighboring empty 19' waterfront lot is zestimated higher than my 68' waterfront lot + house) and I don't even have the opportunity to discuss w/them, the zestimates are definitely hurting potential biz.  



> you can follow the advice of the previous posters that have a way to eliminate the zestimate

Again "how" does one eliminate the zestimate that likely appeared prior to a house being put on the market?   There must be a way to "remove" them from listing.
  • April 11 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
Was talking with a co-worker today who's also selling her house (but in another state, and using an agent).  You can bet my ears perked when she relayed a story about a recent "looker", who low balled her "because Zillow says the house isn't worth what you're asking?"   My co-worker was shocked since she was unaware of Zillow.  I told her my Zillow story.  She asked "who is this Zillow?"

Am sure we're not the only ones being placed in the position of having to justify our asking price w/potential buyers who are using Zillow to come up with their asking price.  And who knows how many "lookers" never even bother to contact us when they see a difference between asking price and zestimate. 

Think it might be time to inquire with Better Business or state attorney generals' offices re: impact Zillow has on some sellers and buyers.  Something certainly doesn't seem fair.   Especially when there are houses listed with "none" for a zestimate.


  • April 13 2009
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I sure have seen nothing that makes me think that the Zestimate is removable by some sellers and not others. I have looked for that because I believe in fairness and I feel that Zillow should be a level field for agents and owners alike. I don't think Zillow would allow removal of Zestimate by anyone because that would be unfair. As for potentials not contacting you after looking at Zillow, I don't know what to say. It is possible, but that would be like not dating someone you found interesting just because you saw them when they were having a bad hair day. If you liked them, you won't just look at their hair, you'll arrange to meet for coffee and check them out for yourself. Zillow is an easy site to blame for buyers prejudices, but the fact is if people felt more comfortable trusting their own agents representations of value Zillow would merely be a tool for hard core RE hobbyists. As it is, people may point to Zillow as the reason for offering less, but the truth lies in the RE meltdown and the economy at large. I can say that when the market was high, sellers used to come on the board and talk about how stupid Zillow was for having the house they were selling listed below their sales price. They often said that Zillow had not idea what their house was worth because they just sold for 100K more. Buyers didn't care about the price on Zillow then because they believed their agent's representations and they could less about finding value in their market. Now things are different and buyers are much more cautious. Zillow didn't cause that shift in perception, the buyers fear did.
  • April 13 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
Bottom line, Zillow's estimated market values are incorrect in the 3 examples below.  One only has to look at the tax rolls to wonder what Zillow is using for public record information.  Their zestimates figures are incorrect in other cases, and impacting potential sales.  The fact that "none" also appears for some zestimates should raise eyebrows.


149 West Shore Rd, 69' of waterfront + house:

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/149-W-Shore-Rd-Ellington-CT-06029/58097583_zpid/

ZESTIMATE®: $226,500  



146 West Shore Rd, 06029  same size lot  w/2/garage:

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/146-W-Shore-Rd-Ellington-CT-06029/58097588_zpid/

ZESTIMATE®: $331,500  




neighboring 19' right-of-way, 151 West Shore Rd - w/nothing - no house - no garage:

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/151-W-Shore-Rd-Ellington-CT-06029/58097582_zpid/

ZESTIMATE®: $335,000
  • April 14 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
Here's another inconsistency in Zillow info - look at the comparable listed for that 19' right-of-way lot:

Recent comparable sales

   1. Sold 02/05/2009: $290,000
      139 W Shore Rd, Ellington, CT 06029
   2. Sold 05/12/2008: $272,000
      238 Sandy Beach Rd, Ellington, CT 06029
   3. Sold 08/19/2008: $360,000
      129 Burbank Rd, Ellington, CT 06029

Why then aren't these same comparables listed for 149 West Shore and 146 West Shore?  Again, makes no sense as to how Zillow information is posted for an empty lot vs a waterfront home.   These comparable are more in line with 149 West Shore, than an empty lot.    But 149&146 have lower & different comparables listed:
Recent comparable sales

   1. Sold 10/22/2008: $279,900
      17 Pine St, Ellington, CT 06029
   2. Sold 09/15/2008: $159,900
      7 Boyer Rd, Stafford Springs, CT 06076
   3. Sold 10/17/2008: $187,000
      14 Lake St, Ellington, CT 06029
   4. Sold 09/30/2008: $171,000
      16 Lake St, Ellington, CT 06029

  • April 14 2009
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Here is another reply from Zillow to a similar question that has more info. The property records in CT are notoriously jumbled in some townships. The are really good at collecting taxes, not so good with some of the other record keeping. I do not know whether that would affect Zillow's recent sales list or the Zestimates themselves, but I can't see how it wouldn't. I think you might want to consider focusing on why your house is not selling. My feeling is that people are not looking for their summer vacation home quite yet. I am sure some houses are selling, but the weather and school schedule this time of year is a distraction for many people until about mid May. The fact that the lenders are finally getting real about doing business should help you. I know in my area, second home buyers were being hit with an extra 2% on the interest rate over the going rate and were being required to put more than 20% down. Now those requirements are easing up and that should help put more people into the market. The area you live in a beautiful and I think is you can show people that, they will not care what Zillow has to say. Spring/Summer is coming. If you get buyers out to see your house, it will sell itself. What about throwing a lake party open house or something with BBQ'd kebobs and soda to show them what your house is about. Costco has prepackaged kebobs that are excellent and cheap. I think if you treat the buyers who look like new neighbors they will appreciate what your house has to offer.
  • April 14 2009
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Zestimate = Zesticrap. Buyers should know this just by looking at a few comps.
  • April 14 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
>>  If you get buyers out to see your house, it will sell itself.

The two most serious "lookers" I've had this month, both mentioned the zestimate info, and how could I be asking "XWY" for the properties.  Made no difference to them that I had a comparative market analysis
done by a reputable real estate agency

No amount of COSTCO treats or brews are gonna convince these kind of people that Zillow is mistaken.  And those who have been turned off by the Zillow info, well, I'll never even have the opportunity to serve them up a 'dog!   Zillow has a lot of nerve thinking I'd buy an ad from them for my property.   They're hurting my property, so I'm not about to help them make money.  

Maybe if Zillow at least listed the comp (139 West Shore) 3 houses down from mine, that sold a month ago (seller had to sell, quickly), that might help.  But no, they can't even seem to get the comps "right".  They prefer to over value an empty lot next door.     
  • April 14 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
I just took a closer look at one of the "for sale" properties that has
"none" for their zestimate.   Did a broader "search" on the entire street
and every house on the street had a zestimate.  Closer look at one "for
sale", showed two icons - one is actually sitting over another one.  Guess what, the one under the For Sale icon, shows an zestimate.

Take a look - one icon is sitting on the other:

red one shows sale price and says not zestimate
http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/5-Charlene-Ave-Westerly-RI-02891/2140446350_zpid/


but the green one (the othe)r shows the zestimate:

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/5-Charlene-Ave-Westerly-RI-02891/2140446350_zpid/

Zestimate is $317,500


So there are 2 Zillow accounts - the original, and the for sale, and there is indeed a zestimate for the property. 

So why again is this info not listed under the For Sale Zillow listing?  The figure is right there.    What a sham.
  • April 14 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
Take a look ..... under the For Sale red icon, there's a 2nd icon .... move
slowly and zestimate info is located there, under green icon.   Why it doesn't appear on the For Sale listing,is anyone's guess.  But the zestimate is there.  $317,500.    Their excuse of not having info makes no sense.

http://www.zillow.com/homes/map/charlene-rd,-02891_rb/#/homes/for_sale/map/charlene-rd,-02891_rb/41.3373,-71.770129,41.335797,-71.7744_rect/17_zm/
  • April 14 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
To follow-up on my previous zestimate questions and concerns, just checked listing, and the property has dropped almost 50K according to Zillow

> 30-day change: -$48,500

As if this market is crazy enough but Zillow has definitely NOT helped my selling process since their zestimates make no sense at all.  Unfortunately, some potentials buyers only "believe" what they see on a Zillow screen.  That's really sad.  

As someone noted above "Zestimate = Zesticrap" 

  • May 04 2009
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Profile picture for workabee
Maybe your price is simply too high. Or maybe you don't understand what a Zestimate is and isn't.
  • May 04 2009
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Profile picture for nwhome.us
Nice to have you back Crystal.  Have you tried using Postlets.com?  It will syndicate your listing to a number of other sites.  Have you found any other sites that attempt to calculate property values across the US?  If you have, can you share them with us?
I notice that you haven't taken advantage of creating your own estimate for your home.  You'll find some basic categories that should help you distinguish your home.  Be realistic about the money that you spent and when you did it.  You can also look at Remodeling Magazine's 2008 charts for Cost vs Value at their website: www.remodeling.hw.net/2008/costvsvalue/national.aspx.  These may help you understand how Zillow begins to arrive at their values for each dollar spent.
You will also find in creating your own estimate that you have the opportunity to choose some comps.  Watch your Zestimate change by trying a few different properties. 
You mentioned that you had a CMA done by a local real estate company.  How much have they seen the market change in the last quarter?
  • May 04 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
> Maybe your price is simply too high. Or maybe you don't understand what a Zestimate is and isn't.

What does my pricing have to do with Zestimates?  Where's the "waterfront" value in their zestimate criteria (cuz waterfront,&even waterview, is generally valued higher than non-waterfront).  If I was to do my own estimate, waterfront would be a major "value" consideration.

If I was to "believe" Zillow, I'd actually have "underpriced" my two properties by $137,100.   I'm sure this has raised an eyebrow or two with "lookers".

The asking price for both properties is  $372,900

and Zillow claims:
149 WShore, 06029   $230,000 zestimate
146 WShore, 06029  
$280,000 zestimate 
                                   ----------------------------
                                   $510,000

(146 WShore is now "30-day change: -$56,000")

  • May 05 2009
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Profile picture for nwhome.us
It sounds as though the focus is "Value."
Because Value is best represented by a sales price it would be more interesting to see what the Zestimates are for the homes that were described in your CMA as being SOLD.
What that should tell us is how long it takes the county to update their records and push the information to Zillow.
What do you say?  What are the addresses and date of sale for the SOLDS from your CMA?
  • May 05 2009
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Profile picture for CrystalLake06029
139 WShore (3 houses down) sold in Feb for $290K.  However. it doesn't have as large a lot, or as much waterfront, or a garage.  This comparable sale doesn't appear on the 149 WShore comparable sales listing.  I also can't "add it" as a comparable sales when I try to create a Zillow estimate.  Sale doesn't appear in the"Choose Comparable Homes" Zillow listing.  To me, its a no-brainer that this recent sale is the best comp to have in the 149 WShore listing.

Oddly enough, 139 does appears in the 146 WShore comparable listing. 

Recent comparable sales
  1. Sold 02/05/2009: $290,000
    139 W Shore Rd, Ellington, CT 06029
  2. Sold 05/12/2008: $272,000
    238 Sandy Beach Rd, Ellington, CT 06029
Go figure why these two don't appear in 149 listing - where it would make far more sense.  Obviously the info is public record.
  • May 05 2009
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I thought some of you might find this link helpful when dealing with objections regarding Zestimates:

http://www.zillow.com/howto/DataCoverageZestimateAccuracy.htm

  • May 06 2009
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