Profile picture for user6320052

little connection to reality

I have just unsubcribed from reports on a home I own.  When I was attempting to sell four years ago, I found the ever rising value reports exciting, but not particularly realistic.  I have been renting out ever since.  The value is now reported as way, way lower than true value.  The house (in the 250K range) is being compared to foreclosed  McMansions that are nowhere near my neighborhood.  The posted information about my house is wrong, and I have attempted to have it changed to no avail. The map shows houses behind ours, though it is on the forest. For another house I own, the garage is shown as a residence and is valued higher than the home.  What is most shocking is that banks and appraisers check this bogus information and accept it at face value.  Zillow is nothing more than a cheap and inaccurate square foot calculator. Zillow, the appraisal industry and banks were responsible for the unrealistic rise in value before, and remain responsible for the stagnation in housing that persists.
  • June 18 2012 - Flagstaff
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Answers (6)

Banks and appraisers do not  DO NOT look at Zillow esitimates to determine values, if that is what you are saying. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Zillow gives a silly idea of value and no one pays any attention to it, why do you?
  • June 18 2012
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Profile picture for Sharon Lewis
Tim is right, and Realtors don't use this as a guide either, its called a 'zestimate' because its just that a guesstimate of value.
  • June 18 2012
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Profile picture for user6320052
Sorry, folks, my experience is different.  My most recent appraiser confirmed that she consulted Zillow before submitting her estimate, and the price of the estimate was two times the cost of the estimate made on the same home four years previously.   I applied for a refinancing at two different banks, and the banker in each case looked up the home's value on Zillow while I was sitting at the desk. 
I'm one of those silly people who puts down a minimum of 25% of the purchase price of real estate that I purchase.  When prices crash due to irresponsible policies on the part of lenders and other real estate associated "professionals", whose money is gone, mine or the lenders?
  • June 18 2012
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Profile picture for mariasimsteam
I would be searching for a new appraiser and banker.  The estimate from Zillow is a computer generated estimate.  As an agent I have never looked a Zillow value for completing a CMA.  And I have worked with many appraisers over the years, and they take their time researching and finding similar sold comps when completing their appraisal.  Asking a computer for an answer without supervised input is like getting a fortune cookie.  Sometimes the fortune is close but most of the time, it's just fun to see how wrong it is.
  • June 18 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
"My most recent appraiser confirmed that she consulted Zillow before submitting her estimate."

I believe you, but if true that is so wrong. Appraisers should not be using Zillow for any values and they should be using a more current source for comps too since there is a delay on sales that Zillow posts.

If your appraiser truly used Zillow, you need to document that and file a complaint. That should not happen. The banks during the bubble had NO oversight for appraisals and if you put 25% down, they probably did what they did for my house a "comprehensive evaluation" that did not include comps and was only used to see if the house was a burnt out shell. That is not a legal "appraisal".

Banks played with everyones money and with no regulation and bidding wars were happy to do it. I think that is wrong, but the regulators at Office of Thrift Management did not take my written complaint about bad appraisal practice before the bubble burst and they still have their heads in the sand. That is not helping people feel comfortable about buying now either because they feel like there is no one/agency that they can trust to look out for them.


  • June 18 2012
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
I'm sorry to hear your appraiser is violating Zillow's terms of use.   That is very sad news, and I agree with Sunnyview, it needs to be documented and reported.

Here's a link to terms of use.

See section 1 (of which I've pasted in only a portion) and highlighted a sentence.

"1. Personal Use. You agree to use the Services for your personal use. Your commercial use is limited to transactions done on your own behalf. Real estate and lending professionals may provide information to consumers via the Services or, where authorized, take actions on behalf of a consumer client (e.g., post a home for sale). Without limitation, lending professionals and institutions are prohibited from using the Services in making any loan-related decisions."


  • June 18 2012
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