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Zestimates

Why will Zillow not use County Assessment records for their Zestimates.  The County assess my Property and Home at $300,000 and Zillow makes an uneducated guess at $83,000.  Hmmmmm.   
  • November 09 2013 - Kingsland
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Answers (18)

Profile picture for user62131497
Pasadenan ..... Hopefully you did not think I was referring to you ..... re "Anger" in my previous post.  Please reread my previous post and see who it was addressed to.
  • November 13 2013
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
Anger?  There is not "anger" in any of the posts on this thread, just "opinions".
  • November 11 2013
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Profile picture for user62131497
Hey Wetdaws , why all the anger?  Man, you have to lighten up .  This appears to be a pretty docile, tame and informative blog ..... let's keep it that way.  Respect goes a long way.
  • November 11 2013
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
I looked at one property in Kingsland TX, presently listed for sale for about $300k.

Tax assessed value was $199.2k in 2008, increased to $243.4k in 2009, 2010, and 2011.  Reduced to $115.1k in 2012.

Listed for sale in February 2013 for $373.5k  Decreased to $349.9k in March.  Decreased to $325k in July.  Reduced to $299.5k in August.

Zillow estimated it at $298k in June 2010, and at $291k in May 2013, and at $127k in July 2013.

You think the re-assessment by the county affected the estimates?  Likely, as the county assessed value is ONE of the variables used in the modeling.  But then why didn't it drop to $115k in 2012 instead?  Zillow was estimating it between $260k and $281k in 2012.

As previously mentioned, Zillow doesn't have access to "sold" price data in most of Texas, so they model to "list price" furnished by owners and agents on this site instead.

And that data changes frequently.  Certainly, the agent that gave the owner a CMA of $374k at the beginning of the year was "wrong" as it didn't sell for that, and is still not sold.  The Realtor®'s CMA was off by over 20%.

Not all Realtors® are "equal", in spite of their minimum education and training requirement.

Yes, according to Tim, a high school diploma and 140 hours of "training" and NAR membership is more "education" than multiple doctorate degrees.

Don't forget that Zillow presently indicates a 70% confidence interval of $97k to $170k, so there is a 15% change that the present market value is less than $97k and a 15% chance that the present market value is above $170k.
  • November 11 2013
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I think Zillow is on the right trail......BUT every one needs to understand the only way (that I know of) to get a reliable value is to contact and agent who has a track record of sales in YOUR area and request a free evaluation.  The old school types  like me will still insist on coming out to look at the home and they will have true reliable recent closed comps. 

Machines giving values is like trying to diagnose your symptom online - BAD Idea!
  • November 11 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
"why does Zillow not use that the Realtors accurate CMA"     Are you suggesting you'd like Zillow to be a compilation of CMAs, appraisals and other random opinions of value?    That would be a nice joke! 

Ask the next agent you meet for the statistics of his/her accuracy on the last 20 or 30 CMAs they've performed before a house has gone on the market.   One kind agent did do that exercise and shared the results.  In her area, the accuracy was identical to the accuracy of the Zestimate, despite having the advantage of seeing the residences.



  • November 11 2013
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
Realtors only tell you their CMA's are "free".  (And they also tell you that "you get what pay for", meaning they think their CMA's are "worthless").  They are simply a marketing gimmick to try to get clients.  You try to get 25 CMA's in the same week from one Realtor and then tell me how "free" they are.  (Remember, most Realtors are not licensed appraisers).

Sure, Realtor.com offers "free CMA's", but they also offer 3 different AVM's as well.  The "free" CMA is just selling you info as a "lead" so that you can be harassed for the next 20 years.

If you want to complain about useless estimates, you should start with the 2400 people working at BLS.GOV.   Their faulty data affects the stock market and the securities market regularly.  Zillow estimates affect absolutely NOTHING!  Certainly no buyer uses it for their offers, and if they do, they either lose money foolishly, or they end up losing out to someone else that makes a more reasonable offer.  Zillow's terms of use make it clear that the Zillow estimates may not be used for any commercial purpose of any kind, and that the "machine generated OPINIONS" are for personal use only.

In case someone forgot what the word "estimate" means, one may want to read Wikipedia's entry on the subject:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estimate

As the say, if you don't like the website, don't use it.  There are thousands of other sources for AVM's, and thousand of other websites that provide similar data and services.
  • November 11 2013
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Profile picture for user62131497
Duh ... that's obvious.  So why does Zillow not use that the Realtors accurate CMA instead of relying on 7 people so far removed from the property or the Realtors accurate due diligence?
  • November 11 2013
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It ia our jobs as Realtors to do our due diligence and complete an Accurate CMA nit count on -e-commerce sites to do it for us. No short cuts
  • November 10 2013
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Profile picture for user62131497
Starting Point ..... hmmmmmm , really makes little sense.  So when hotel prices are listed within a certain zip area, they are only a starting point.  My experience tells me that the price I pay for a hotel in NYC is the rate I pay, not a starting point and how does that relate to a zestimate/market value of a property by using a bogus number without looking at all the amenities.  
  • November 10 2013
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Profile picture for Anne Feste
The Zestimates are simply a starting tool.  Example:  in NYC all hotel rooms do not rent for the same cost.  You can assume within a certain zip code what is the average rate of a hotel room is in NYC.  The star rating for hotels helps to distinguish the price differences for the consumer.  Homes for sale do not have a star rating so that is why the Zestimates can only be a starting point.
  • November 10 2013
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Profile picture for user62131497
I guess the key word is "high"
  • November 10 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
You are welcome to claim your home and share your opinion of value in the owner estimate section.  The Zillow help center has detailed instructions.

Zestimates are not intended to be a substitute for an in person visit, they are an estimate and a starting point.  Zillow realizes there are limitations and describes so in their FAQ "What is a Zestimate?" They admit again and again it isn't perfect, they describe their calculations of accuracy and say it is poor in Texas (as you've also noted).

They are actually high up in a downtown Seattle tall building likely with a fantastic view.   Perhaps it is raining.     

  • November 10 2013
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Profile picture for user62131497
Cannot disagree with that, however, does not address my concern on how  7 people can give a zestimate when never visiting a property other than look at home comps and not taking into consideration other property considerations, such as 90 feet water front with retaining wall and boat dock/lift rather than just looking at a  2 bedroom 2 bath comp so far removed from the county assessed property. That's what county assessors do, know and realize there are special amenities that someone who does not know or visit the property or know the local area which makes a true assessment/guestimate of the properties market value.  
  • November 10 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Pasadena doesn't represent Zillow, nor do I.

Property tax assessors want to get as much revenue for their area as possible, so in many cases tax assessments are too high vs actual sales prices.   Zillow is very open about their accuracy in Texas (see this link).   Why is it one 1 star?   Because Texas is a non-disclosure state (i.e. sales prices are not public).   Who has them?  A private  club of real estate agents.   I personally think that is doing a disservice to the public but only you, a member of the public, can help change that by writing to your state politicians and asking them to change it.

  • November 10 2013
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Profile picture for user62131497
Hmmmmmm .... someone is quite defensive on this issue.  Must have had it brought to their attention many times before as a sore spot.  Let's see, 7 people holed up in some small rainy complex, never seeing 26 million properties and trying to make a Zestimate.  Sounds pretty educated to me.  Annnnnd these 7 people know better a properties tax value and or market value than the folks who visit and assess properties , as their profession????? Hmmmmmm, sounds pretty bogus to me.
  • November 10 2013
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"Uneducated?  You try to publish 26 BILLION estimates each year, then tell me how "uneducated" the 7 people that are publishing these estimates are.

Why don't you write the PhD Doctorate person that is charge of the estimates and tell him why he should hire you to do the 26 billion estimates each year since you have more education than he does?

On the other hand, if you think the estimates are "useless", just "ignore them"... they were not specifically published for you nor your benefit."



WOW - get up on the wrong side of your ego this morning? Nice way to represent Zillow.
  • November 10 2013
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
Zestimates are updated with new "recently sold" data nominally 3 times per week.  County "assessments" are not estimates of "present market value", but estimates of "value for taxing purposes" only, and are only updated at most once per year.

Tax assessments vary widely across the country compared to present market value.  Any "buyer" or "seller" interested in that value can look at it... Zillow publishes it too, except for areas of the country where that is not "public information", or where they don't have 3rd party data companies collecting that info for them.

Uneducated?  You try to publish 26 BILLION estimates each year, then tell me how "uneducated" the 7 people that are publishing these estimates are.

Why don't you write the PhD Doctorate person that is charge of the estimates and tell him why he should hire you to do the 26 billion estimates each year since you have more education than he does?
http://www.zillow.com/blog/research/about-us/

http://www.zillow.com/profile/Stan-Humphries/

(use is "contact" button on his profile page).

On the other hand, if you think the estimates are "useless", just "ignore them"... they were not specifically published for you nor your benefit.
  • November 09 2013
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