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Melissa Loughridge Savenko's Advice

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  • 15 Contributions
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  • 2 Helpful

Melissa Loughridge Savenko wrote:

how to get zillow to fix the zestimate on my home

Answer
@Wetdawg: You have the Zillow representative defending the Zestimate on Barbara's house by using recent sales in Zip Code 23220 within a certain distance and time period. That to me proves Barbara's point - 23220 includes numerous vastly different neighborhoods with vastly different housing stock, different schools, different average sales prices per square foot. I'm all for people using Zillow as a starting point. I think more information for everyone is good. But the reality is many consumers take Zillow as the gospel truth, so it does negatively impact homeowners when the data is not just somewhat wrong, but really wrong. If Zillow allowed homeowners to opt out of the Zestimate, or provided some meaningful way to get changes made, then I wouldn't object so strenuously. And I would be happy to put my Zip Code 23220 valuation skills on the line against Zillow's mathmatical equations any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. That could be kind of fun - randomly pick 5 houses in Area 10 that have not sold in the last 10 years and I'll go head-to-head with the Zestimate. I'm ready! And apologies for typos, which make me crazy. Typing on the Smartphone and having difficulty editing.
May 29 2012
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how to get zillow to fix the zestimate on my home

Answer
Rachel Rosen: Really, your answers are just proving the commenters' points. Zillow is in my opinion completely worthless in an urban neighborhood like the Fan, Maymont, Byrd Park, Oregon Hill, and yes, Randolph. I am not sure how you are comping these properties by looking at data on a screen from across the country. Each of these neighborhoods is unique and typically trades at different average price per square foot. The proximity to VCU IS actually driving values up in values, even in a 2 year window of ownership. But how can your formulas and algorithms be effective in areas with 100 year old Victorian homes vs. small post-War ranches and Capes vs. 1980s construction vs. brand new infill. I am a real estate professional and I am all for more information being available to the public. But I really wish you would stop pushing the Zestimate as some infallible tool and admit IT DOESN'T WORK some places. And older neighborhoods with vastly differing housing stock in close proximity is the best example I can come up with when y'all are just dead on wrong, over and over again.
May 29 2012
(1)

My home's value on zillow is much lower than my recent property assessment?

Answer
That's not uncommon, and it can be especially frustrating if you are trying to sell and people keep pointing to the "zestimate" as some sort of valid indicator of market value.  Stand your ground.  Provide any potential purchaser with the basis for your home's value in the form of recent comparable sales, or, even better, an appraisal.  In 9 cases out of 10, the zestimate is - in my opinion - total and complete horse-hockey.   [self promotion and contact information deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy]
April 07 2012
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how can one have zillow modify an estimate or zestimate?

Answer
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.
May 23 2011
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how can one have zillow modify an estimate or zestimate?

Answer
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!
May 23 2011
(0)

How do I get rid of the zestimate in my listing?

Answer
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!
May 23 2011
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What is your favorite tip for reviving a stale listing?

Answer
This story behind this listing is complicated.  The house was unfairly stigmatized by buyers that walked away from closing after a long pending period - done to accomodate self-same buyers, by the way -  well after all contractual contingencies were cleared. The house is aggressively priced.  There has been a serious subsequent investment by the sellers, upwards of $15,000 to install 2-zone central air and heat pump.  The house is no longer occupied and does not show as well as it did furnished.I am thinking about (i) getting price quotes on cosmetic improvements, like painting; (ii) staging the home; and (iii) re-shooting new pictures with the staging.  The house is in the entry-level buyer price range, and the sellers are not in a position to spend additional money on improving property. I'd be happy to hear additional suggestions that might help in this situation.
December 01 2010
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What is your favorite tip for reviving a stale listing?
Do you think removing a listing from the market for a short period of time and re-listing at a predetermined future date is an effective marketing strategy?
December 01 2010
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Monitoring Changes in Real Estate Markets

Response
Certain areas of the City of Richmond - the Historic Fan District, the Museum District, the near West End - seem to be doing very well.  I chalk some of this up to two national trends: (i)  the demographic shift, with many down-sizing Baby Boomers who now want to live in a "cool" walkable urban community instead of suburbia; and (ii) the green movement, with more and more people being conscious of their personal carbon footprint.Unfortunately, the suburbs and  the new construction world does not seem to be doing so well.  And there are areas of the City that saw lots of speculative investment that are also suffering from high foreclosure rates.  But overall, the Greater Richmond Metropolitan area is doing better than most.
August 11 2010
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How do I determine the value of a house?

Answer
Are you buying or selling?In either event, you can do several things: (1) look at the tax assessed value of the property, what the locality believes it to be worth; (2) hire an appraiser; and/or (3) have a licensed real estate agent in your market prepare a Comparative Market Analysis ("CMA") on the home.  Of course, you can also look at online valuation sites like Zillow, but keep in mind their data is often outdated or incorrect.  An appraiser will cost you several hundred dollars, depending on your location.  By reviewing all these different data sources, hopefully you can come up with a reasonable estimation of value.  Good luck!
August 11 2010
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