Home Selling in Cohasset>Question Details

Rachele, Home Seller in Boston, MA

How can web sites like Zillow and Trulia make a home value assessment without actually being in the house?

Asked by Rachele, Boston, MA Mon Aug 11, 2008

Many homes have extensive upgrades, yet Zillow, Trulia, and other sites price homes way below what the house is truly worth. This gives the seller a distinct disadvantage, especially in this "Buyers' Market" where people think they can ask anything they want, thinking that anyone who would want to sell in this market, is desperate. Homes that are priced reasonably by sellers are still being low balled by obnoxious vultures masquarding as buyers.

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Unfortunately for many sellers, the lowballing, abnoxious vultures are actually just buyers, looking at comps and deciding what, to them, a property is worth. For sellers that are unable or unwilling to look at offers, this is a very tough environment. My house was given a value that is completely out of the ballpark, except it's TOO HIGH- there is no way I'd get what the Zestimate is right now. Additionally, foreclosures are complicating things- banks are anxious to unload properties, and as a result, those not facing foreclosure are stuck with the comps that include these properties sold at lesser amounts.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 11, 2008
Hi Rachele,
Your are right on the money. The short answer to your Q is they cannot set an accurate value and they can hurt sellers badly. These sites are for the buyers.
All the best,
James Joseph
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 12, 2008
Drew...I stand corrected, and apologize if I was misleading. We (at a sales meeting) were told differently. In fact, I believe there was even a piece on our local news that indicated the same information. I may be incorrect. Anyway Drew...thanks for correcting me. I do appreciate it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 12, 2008
They base their answers on homes of similar size and amenities that have sold in the same area. This is why it is NOT absolutely accurate.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 12, 2008
Drew from Zillow here. While Zillow does help connect buyers with sellers with an array of social features such as Zillow Discussions and Home Q&A, I want to make it clear that Zillow does not sell leads.

For anyone who wants to learn more about Zestimates or see Zestimate accuracy statistics on a county by county basis, please click the url below.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 12, 2008
You can go on to Zillow and edit the facts (privately for only your eyes or publicly) and it will alter the seller's estimate. Zillow will still maintain their own Zestimate, though. If you want to showcase your upgrades, that would be one way. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 11, 2008
Zillow, for example is really a lead generating site. But, to answer your question, they get their data from public records across the US. Getting it from that source without further analysis can and does skew the numbers. Here's why. Take 2 identical home profiles in public records. Both are in xyz neighborhood as is your house. One of the other 2 was a foreclosure and sold at a "wholesale" rate. The other was a nicely kept home ( a Realtor probably lived there!!) and sold at fair market value-was not a distress sale. Yours sold for 30% more. Now you can see how the public record data can skew the value given on Zillow. I hope that makes sense.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 11, 2008
All too true about the vultures unfortunately. All the more reason to have the advice of a good buyer's agent. I, too, have found these websites to be a thorn in everyone's side. They are disproportionately inaccurate. It's an agent's job to school a buyer about how the home value is really determined. Usually, after they've seen 10 or more, they get how the process REALLY works. However, there are many investors that are ready to get in and play the "how low can you go" game. And, in fact, the foreclosure market does impact the willing sellers who are just wanting a fair price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 11, 2008

Zillow and Trulia are not realtors and are not appraisers. They are computer based applications that use a very complicated mathimatical formula to analyze data and come up with a value. Rarely are they correct but yet people seem to continue to use them. Any buyer worth having will know better. Be patient and the right buyer will find your house.

Cameron Piper
Web Reference: http://www.campiper.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 11, 2008
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