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is there a way to sort by the difference ($ or %) between the zestimate and the list price?

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February 24 2011 - Admiral
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Mike,

I don't know of a way on the web site to do so.  If you take the data and download t to an excel spreadsheet, you can do it.  It is a little bit labor intensive, but it is the only way I can think of to do it.

Good luck.
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February 24 2011
Profile picture for mikevino
awesome.  please keep me posted.  i will let you know what i end up doing as well and maybe you can even plug it into your model.

you may have a good book, blog, etc idea on your hands.  you could be your own zestimate (e.g.) valuation service.  don't forget to cite me and that paul guy as inspiration.
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March 06 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
By the way, I also need to do the same thing for the "recently sold" to see the difference in distribution for that.  And also need to do similar with filtering for "foreclosure", "REO", "shortsale" and "short sale" as the listing summary doesn't include that, and we all know that the data for foreclosures and short sales is different than non-distressed listings.

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March 03 2011
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No problem!  I was "planning" on doing it anyway, and you just gave me an "excuse" to stop procrastinating.  Most of it took very little time, but it actually took an additional 5 columns as the "price" column also has the "price reduction data" and that required a "test" column and a new column for price, and a new column for reduced-amount.  (Yes, for this I could have left off the reduced amount).

And of course, since it was "text data", one had to also include the VALUE function instead of just a LEFT or MID function.

And since I looked up each of the 9 Zillow Neighborhoods separately, it was several copies to the worksheet, and then of course copying to a clean location to get rid of graphics..

So, a bit longer than the 5 minutes.  Just the charts alone after getting the spreadsheet with additional columns was about 15 minutes to get all the settings desired.

Besides, I need the information copied for doing a price histogram, and then doing some curve fits on the histogram.  I believe I have a method now to do a superposition of 5 normal distribution curves, which should fit the distribution quite well.  And the real question is how these medians and standard deviations shift over time, and how the "mix" of these separate normal distributions change weighting factors over time.

Even a pie chart for these weighting factors would be interesting as each separate normal distribution curve represents a different population demographic.
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March 03 2011
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wow.  interesting distribution.  hope you found the exercise useful.  thanks for doing that. 
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March 02 2011
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Well, I started clicking on some of the ones that stated Zillow was 40% or more high; and guess what?  As expected, they state "fixers", and they certainly look like it.  Not to mention, various neighbor problems as well, visible from the aerial views.

If one is "looking" for fixers, this is a good way to find them; but I don't think it is for the majority of the people.

Besides, you can find fixers by just including the word "fixer" in the keyword filter box on your search.
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March 02 2011
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Enlarged; for the ≤$1 million listings, ±40% difference range:


web address for full sized image:
http://photos3.zillow.com/is/image/i0/i5/i7521/ISg9mmsr5txjmr.jpg
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March 02 2011
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Well, for curiosity sake, I downloaded the listing data for Pasadena, sorted by % difference of Z-estimate to listing price, and graphed it with different colors for Z-estimate higher than listing, and Z-estimate lower than listing as a function of listing price.

Zillow is much more likely to be way too high on low value properties, and much more likely to be low on multi-million dollar properties.  I also had it show a trend curve for both "too high" and "too low".



Web address for full size image to read the numbers:
http://photos3.zillow.com/is/image/i0/i5/i7519/IS1ht1e6q21e0f7.jpg
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March 02 2011
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Just remember, if a list price looks "way too good to be true", the seller often knows something about the property that you NEED to know...

Not all properties can be "repaired" for less than the total value.
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March 01 2011
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gentlemen, i appreciate the spirited debate even if it was more personal than constructive.  it's clear, i will need to build my own spreadsheet.  not a problem. 

in all fairness, i wanted to share why i asked the question.  basically, i have seen zestimates vary greatly compared to asking price.  realizing it's not a perfect system, when a large discrepancy exists, i see that as a potential opportunity to buy.  i am looking to buy, but only casually.  i need to find what i consider to be a great deal with room for loss in case the bottom is yet to come.  i got burned bad in arizona and am currently a happy renter having moved to seattle.

thanks again for your contributions.

mike
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March 01 2011

Just wanted to make a note that I am typing on my IPAD tonight, so I apologize about a few typos in my response :-)

Pasadenan---I respect your point of view and I can see you're a very active contributer on ZIllow. You probably had the best answer to this question, so I don't want to get into attacking each other or trying to defend myself. I just know many people put way too much stock in the Zestimate of their home (or the home they are looking to buy) which is why I made a post in the first place. 

All the best,

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February 28 2011
I never called my self a math expert. Once again I don't want to defend statements I didn't make nornimply. As for the 4 disadvantages you listed, if you really think about each of those, any one of them can create a Zestimate that is way off from a realistic value, and all of those 4 issues come up a lot. Specifically, I think the first one you listed pretty much makes my point and says it all. Plus I can think of a handful of other things they don't account for (floor plan, potential street or highway noise, exactly what the view is like) just a name a few additionals that come to mind that can dramatically affect property value. I think it's best for mikevino to take it from here since this doesn't feel very productive for either of us. I think it's clear you don't trust very many Realtors and I don't trust any Zestimates.
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February 28 2011
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Besides, it doesn't matter what his objective is; he stated he wanted to sort by the comparison, so obviously he has some purpose in mind.  It might be only to evaluate the tolerance range of the estimate, and compare the difference of "too high" verses "too low".  Or it may be a means of looking for "rebuilds".  Or a means of finding properties that can likely be flipped with some rehab.  Or even a means of finding areas where accepted offers are crazy, or areas where nothing is selling.  There are way too many possibilities to guess.

As for being a local "mathematics expert", I highly doubt it if you can't even use the word "random" correctly.  As you only have a "sales" license, I assume you mean you are an "expert" at "selling"?  That means that you find the correct property in a good price range for a buyer in less than 1 month?  And that none of your listings stay on the market more than 90 days?
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February 28 2011
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"I am always interested to find out the random number that comes up" -

It is not "random", but if you "think" it is random, then your CMA must have been pulled out of thin air rather than using recently sold data and making the appropriate adjustments.

Zillow uses ALL recently sold data for an area, except when the sales don't agree well with the resulting curve fit, in which case those are removed, and the coefficients recalculated.  Zillow has also indicated they exclude foreclosures in their curve fit.

Zillow only has 4 major disadvantages on their estimates:
1) No site visit of any kind, so no way to know condition nor amenities, nor style nor quality.
2) If nothing is selling in the area, any one sale can create distorted interpretations.
3) Some of the 9 county record data items don't change during a major remodel or tear-down and rebuild, (such as last purchased price and date), thus causing some possible misinterpretation of the curve fit.
4) Some properties have two parcels, or other unusual conditions that prevent all the data for the property being used for the estimate calculation.
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February 28 2011
I think it was fairly obvious I was not offering to do thousands of CMA's. I understand the Zestimate offers a unique algorythim and I am always interested to find out the random number that comes up. It can be incredibly accurate, but then so many other times not even in the ballpark. That makes it interesting to review. if you think a Zestimate is going be more reliable than finding a local Realtor with local expertise to give the home a market analysis...then I guess we will just need. to agree to disagree. I assumed mikevino was looking for an accurate assessment of a particular property, and I was trying to be helpful. Pasadenan, I am not clear on what you are talking about, in regards to the "false advertisements". It sounds like a jab at Realtors in general, and since you don't know me personally, I won't take it personally. I was just trying to help. If mikevino is not interested in finding out what a particular home is worth, and just wants to sort the difference for some other reason, the excel spreadsheet sounds like a great idea. I think it all depends on what his objective is.
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February 26 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
"But it can also sometimes be totally off (much higher or lower) by sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars!" -

And so can your "CMA".  I wouldn't trust any CMA done by you as you don't even know the methodology used by other estimating algorithms.

"is not worth your time and energy to consider and help analyze anything in my opinion" -

And that is my opinion about all your CMA's too!

"Realtors are usually happy to provide market analysis for buyers and sellers with no obligation--and so it makes total sense to take advantage of this." -

Oh, so you are now offering to do 200 thousand CMA's for anyone that asks, even if they already have agents that are not members of NAR and will make sure you don't get any commission from them?  How quickly can you have those 200 thousand CMA's prepared for me?  Or was that just another "false advertisement"?
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February 25 2011

I would not put any time in to analyzing or considering the Zestimate. It is a neat tool and can sometimes be very accurate in some cookie cutter neighborhoods with recent sales available. But it can also sometimes be totally off (much higher or lower) by sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars!

The Zestimate can not assess the condition, the views, the floor plan, potential street noise, and a ton of other factors that can affect the home value.
If your objective is to find out a realistic market value of a home, your best bet is to comb through the recently sold listings in the area that are comparable. Or better, have a couple of different Realtors give you a market analysis from a buyers approach. Then remember the home is worth always what you, or the highest bidder is willing to pay for it, and no more.
If you are very serious about the home, you need to physically go through it, and have the Realtor doing the market analysis physically go through it as well. Looking at pictures and comparables is much better than a Zestimate, but a listing can be much nicer or much worse once you see it for yourself (not just driving by but going through the home).

I hope that helps. ZIllow is an incredible website, but unfortunately the zestimate is not worth your time and energy to consider and help analyze anything in my opinion. I find all of the information provided by these sites to be very helpful in many ways. But can also have a negative impact when people make up their minds on properties based on what they read and see on the internet. Also, Realtors are usually happy to provide market analysis for buyers and sellers with no obligation--and so it makes total sense to take advantage of this.
Good luck!

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February 25 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Rob is correct; copying the data to an Excel spreadsheet is the fastest way to sort by the criterion requested.  The "list" mode works the best for that.  It takes me about 5 minutes, including creating the two additional columns (difference & % difference) and doing the sort.

The list mode supports up to 200 results.  By reversing the sort, it can support up to 400 results.  If you have more than 400 results, you will want to filter the data more selectively, and repeat for each segment of the results.  Obviously, you can paste into the same Excel sheet, so you only have to create the additional columns once, and only sort once.  As each Excel sheet supports up to 65 thousand rows, There will be no limitation at that end.

Please be careful not to violate Zillow's terms of use for bulk copying of data.
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February 25 2011
 
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