As an Agent and Appraiser, I can’t tell you how many times I have met a Homeowner who inevitably asks questions about the accuracy of Zillow’s Zestimate. It floors me that with all the information that can be found on the internet that these questions still come up, but they do. Maybe some of that’s attributed to the adage “don’t always believe what you read on the internet”. I’m not sure but I can tell you first had that there are lots of complaints and lawsuits against them. After thinking about it a bit this morning I decided to my own Google search (as of 12/03/2018) on “Zestimate Law Suits”. Not to my surprise there were 305,000 results with pages and pages of complaints, lawsuit information, articles and videos about problems with Zillow Zestimate’s.
To be fair I decided to narrow things down a little and although I can’t remember what I used for the search term I found a page Zestimate that basically explains the error rate which in turn is simply stating that it’s not accurate at all. One City in my market, San Francisco which is has an error rate of 5.7%. An error rate of 5.7 percent means that a $1M Zestimate can be off my as much as $57,000. Seriously! Bottom line, if you’re in need of an estimate of value for residential real estate you should consult with a professional.
Then I came across another interesting article about Zillow’s Zestimate. Even the COE of Zillow Spencer Rascoff thinks that Homeowners should consult with a Real Estate Agent. As irritating as they can be, I have to say the article shows that they know there’s a problem and they’re admitting to it. Either that or it’s smart way to play the little game of CYA. Market Watch
Another article I found interesting, sad and irritating at the same time is one about a homeowner who was so frustrated because of the “sloppy” estimate he decided to sue. The headline reads “Glenview homeowner sues Zillow over “sloppy” estimate. In my opinion what speaks to the “bigger” issue can be found in the last paragraph of the article which shows there was no attempt by the Company to remedy the problem, instead they gave somewhat of a canned response as to how the system works. I’m thinking there may have been some admission to the problem if they would have changed the estimate online which may have created a bigger problem for them down the line. In any event you can read the article her Homeowner Lawsuit and hopefully my short blog post will help you to make an informed decision before about how to proceed with your own home.
If you have additional questions you can always reach us at San Francisco East Bay Living or Best Bay Area Appraiser