how can one have zillow modify an estimate or zestimate?

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February 09 2011 - Ginter Park
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Answers (7)

Profile picture for Pasadenan
It is actually county by county modeling.  Well over 400 different "computer models".

And yes, in 2007, the modeling did not properly take into consideration the effects of proposition-13 in California.  But that was "fixed" by the end of 2007.  Zillow re-calculated all the historic Z-estimates at that time for the entire nation due to the major revisions in the modeling method.
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May 23 2011
Profile picture for wetdawgs
I find that agents that thoroughly understand the Zestimate (and other AVMs) and can discuss strengths and weaknesses intelligently with their clients do a far better job for client satisfaction than those who pass on rumors and only can see the negatives. 

As the approach for assessed value varies from state to state, I would be surprised if Zillow uses it by having 50 different formulas for Zestimate.  CA would be a lot of fun as assessed value is based on purchase price even if it was 20+ years ago.

Since Zestimates became available, we (not agents) have sold two houses.  In both cases the selling price was far closer to the Zestimate than any of the three CMAs obtained for each house.  The CMAs for one house had a 30% range, for the other house a 20% range.
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May 23 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
I'm still waiting for Deborah and Melissa to provide me with 100 million CMA's at least once a month.

Realtor CMA's by people that have no math background are highly over rated.

Hire someone that is not a member of NAR instead.  And for your valuations, pay for an appraisal from a licensed appraiser, like Vince.
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May 23 2011
Melissa
Internet valuations are just over rated! In the historic and older homes which often have improvements one had best know the market well as we both do. Maybe in track subdivisions that are cookie cutter it works but even there I dooubt it as there is not a field to modify dollar amount adjustments. You can do it some when you drill down in zillow but I think it is very hidden and not user friendly. Plus there is not a quick fix for the adjustments so that it takes place immediately. In the mean time, it hurts the marketing of the property especially in areas where there are already a lot of foreclosures and short sales taking place. I personally think the market is rebounding and forums like zillow unless they modify how they are looking at the data will become an internet site of the past. There is no substitute for a knowledgable and thorough REALTOR to guide buyers and sellers through the real estate maze of all the rules, regulations, and laws not to mention valuation which shifts constantly.
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May 23 2011
OK, just went to Zillow's own links, as attached in another post. 

1.  According to Zillow, the Zestimate is based on public data. 

2.  It appears that the Zestimate is based on quantifiable data points, like square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, lot size, age of home, etc.

3.  Assessed value is a big quantifiable data point. 

4.  If the assessed value is off - which it quite often is in my market, for the reasons I posted initially - then the Zestimate is highly likely to be off. 

5.  By Zillow's own data, it is within 20% of the ultimate sales price ONLY 69% of the time in the City of Richmond.  In other words, for 31% of ultimate sales, Zillow was more than 20% off of the true market value, as measured by the sales price.  If you are talking about a house with a Zestimate of $200,000, being off more than 20% is being off $40,000 or more.

The whole thing basically comes down to the fact that Zillow can't account for QUALITATIVE differences, like level of renovation and upgrading.  If you are talking about a suburban subdivision with a price per square foot "swing" of $10-$20/square foot for the basic model versus the tricked out model home, this isn't too terribly debilitating.  But if you are looking at an urban neighborhood of historic homes where the PPSF differential can be anywhere from $100-$200 PER SQUARE FOOT, that's a big daggone differential.

How do people get hurt by this?  Well, more and more people start their home searches on the Internet, and if I had $0.25 for every time one of my clients said "Well, Zillow says this house is only worth $X...," I would be a very wealthy woman.  And what about the houses that never even get a look because a prospective buyer eliminates the house because it is grossly overpriced as measured against the (oftentimes inaccurate) Zestimate?

I like Zillow as a starting point, I really do.  But there should be some mechanism for owners to be able to correct Zestimates that are grossly off.
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May 23 2011
A Zestimate is not based on what you paid plus increase in assessed value.

Read here what a Zestimate is and isnt, also you can change your Zestimate, read this.... More info at this link, read through it....

http://www.zillow.com/wikipages/Most-Popular-Zillow-Questions/
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May 23 2011
Deborah:  Posted this in response to another question, and then saw yours.  Hopefully, this is helpful.

Dottie:

Unfortunately, I do not believe you can get rid of your Zestimate.  If you find out a way that you can, please let me know!

However, there may be some ways to counteract or mitigate an outdated and inaccurate Zestimate. 

Here are some ideas:

1.  Have you owned your home for a long time, typically 6 or more years?  If so, your Zestimate should be based on what you paid, plus the assessed value increases over time.  Since those assessed value increases are typically a small percentage, intended to reflect appreciation, you may have had a 2-3% appreciation value applied to your home over time.  If you live in a neighborhood that had rapid appreciation and has held it's value, that 2-3% increase may very well not reflect true market value.

2.  Is your home in a unique neighborhood?  Is it an older home?  In these situations, true market values can vary widely based on the age and quality of a renovation, and the availability of certain amenities, such as a basement, a garage, off-street parking, some locational advantage.  I work in the City of Richmond's historic neighborhoods, and that is quite often the case - House A may be worth $350,000, and House B - on the same block, with the same square footage, bedrooms, and baths - could be worth $500,000.  Zillow often woefully undervalues Home B. 

3.  Consider getting an appraisal.  This will cost you a few hundred dollars, but is a written report by a professional trained in evaluating a home's market value and obligated to follow specific standards.  The report should better reflect the true value of your home, after an evaluation of your home's specific amenities.  It gives you an objective document that you can share with potential purchasers. 

What happens if the appraisal reveals that your home is worth much less than you believe?  Well, at least you know.  Then you can move on to a Plan B, rather than going through the heartache and stress of trying to sell an overpriced home in this market.  Best of luck to you!
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May 23 2011
 
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how can one have zillow modify an estimate or zestimate?
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May 23 2011 | 7 answers
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