To Zillow Or Not To Zillow

Dated: 10/03/2016

Views: 1213

I received a "sell short" alert from my investment adviser a few days ago. He is not a Realtor. He sited many reasons to bet on Zillow declining in value and here are some of his bullet points:

1 The information on the website is not up to date.
That’s an interesting criticism, because you’d think that in today’s day and age of real-time information the data would be fresh. However, it’s never safe to assume that it’s safe to assume. 
I know from my own home-buying experience a few months ago that Zillow’s data is often very stale. As a buyer (and presumably a seller), that’s very frustrating.

2 They send buyers realtors who paid to be on the listing even when it’s not their own listing.

3 The Zestimates are nothing more than an average of the sale prices in the surrounding area, even if they are not comparable properties. 
This could be a huge problem. My dad recently renovated his entire condominium so that he could sell it at a more favorable price. There is literally no condo in his complex in as good of shape. 
However, the estimates don’t take that into account. He got lucky and someone that rents properties at the complex became aware that it was fully renovated and for sale, so he got a great price for it. But Zillow’s estimates would have been a huge negative on the transaction had a potential buyer been depending on them. 
In essence, Zillow takes the hard work of a realtor and essentially sells it back to them.

END OF RECAP

I've known all this for years but uneducated buyers and sellers continue to think that Zillow is the bible. Don't fall for it. Ask your experienced Realtor to set you up with a reliable search. I send my clients directly to my MLS via IDX so they can see exactly what I see and can set up their own searches and save their favorites. I do my best to educate buyers so they are armed with the best tools.

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Hal Mayer

My first question is always “How can I help?” because help is what home buyers and homeowners want. I don’t have a canned pitch because every prospective customer is unique. My approach is Co....

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