Agent2Agent in 33306>Question Details

John Bourassa,  in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Why would Realtors use Zillow and other National Internet venues to help them create local comps?

Asked by John Bourassa, Fort Lauderdale, FL Fri Jul 13, 2012

I find them all [especially Zillow] to be so inaccurate on their valuations.

Your comments, please.

Help the community by answering this question:


Everyone varies

Any IDX feed web site like the ones mentioned are good starting places.

I use:

Yahoo / Zillow

to start. This are based of current SOLD properties. So not a bad start.

Then I use Agent Metrics to narrow the perimeters

Then do my own research through my local MLS data, from a larger area or zone, then down to the neighborhood.

Next, I look a showing reports per price point of properties SOLD in that neighborhood.

Now I am ready to meet the client and discuss their needs.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
Strictly speaking from a consumer stand point, this is the agent I would want to work with. He researches a variety of sources and can explain the appropriate estimate of a home. The rest of you trash the website you are posting on and state you would never use it or other "entertainment" sites in your comparison of comps.

Face it, being a real estate agent is not rocket science and your clients will look at Zillow Trulia etc. Trying to frighten them from doing so with posts like this, is ridiculously transparent. If you want business you need to be able to explain the variance in the comps you supply from MLS and the "entertainment" websites.

Tom if I were looking for a home and lived in your area, you would be my guy! Thanks for being open and honest and incorporating the tools that clients use in your formula! I purchased a home three ago and my agent took all sources including "entertainment" sites and I purchased for 35k less than the MLS comps.
Flag Sun Jun 29, 2014
My guess would be they don't belong to MLS. I find it hard to believe that any responsible agent would consider the public Real Estate websites a valid resource for comps and for those agents that do, they are doing their Sellers a HUGE disservice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 16, 2012
My guess why a real estate agent would use information on Zillow for comparable sales is they lack training, are lazy or both.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 16, 2012
Our local MLS gives us all the comps we need....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 15, 2012
There are no comps on Zillow. I tell everyone that, everyone agrees - except Zillow.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 15, 2012
Thank you , everyone, for your graeat participation and input to the question I posed above. But what still represses me most besides that agent whom I mentioned that admitted useing Zillow for getting a comp are clients who work with us, and despite us telling them to use only the material we are sending them and not go visit those sites to make searches on their own, they Very frustrating.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 15, 2012

You won't find many that will disagree with your position. Unfortunately, we are left to pick up the pieces when customers enjoy a less than accurate appreciation for a specific local market area.

Change in life is inevitable......we just need to figure out what we can do with it.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 15, 2012
My comments is simple.

That is stupid. Zillow's values are absurd. Any agent using Zillow's prices to run comps should probably not do that. :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 15, 2012
Actually, they should not be real estate agents to begin with...
Flag Mon Jul 16, 2012
Really? Seriously? Are there really people who are licensed and thus legally able to practice real estate who use real estate aggregators to create local comps?
IMO that is an egregious violation of the duties and responsibilities we owe the public.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 15, 2012
I agree with many of the previous comments. I do not know any Realtor who is actually working full-time that would every consider using anything other than the MLS for comps for a property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 14, 2012
I would work with agents who utilize MLS for comps (period).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 14, 2012
I don't know any Realtors who use zillow, et al, or take them seriously, when doing a market analysis.
The data on those sites, including this site, is highly inaccurate and unreliable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 14, 2012
I've always suspected part of the reason is that they may be the sort of people who are too cheap to pay their MLS dues.

My advice to the general public... if your real estate agent is too cheap to pay for the basic tools of the trade, you're going to get the deal you deserve.

There is a really good reason we shell out that money.

I also found a real estate agent this week showing properties she had found... using a newspaper! Admittedly she did have the lockbox code... but still, she was using a newspaper.

My client was horrified, and I can't say that I blamed her.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 14, 2012
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to educate those who are serious about buying or selling a home that they need serious tools. You need to include in every post the following, "Aggregate web sites such as Zillow and Trulia are for entertainment purposes. For actionable data you need real resources." Your silence plus participation IS validating these sites when you refuse the mission.

In an Agent-to-Agent blog here on Trulia, there is a post regarding Keller Williams and Coldwell Banker evaluating the deterioration of the real estate profession and subversion of the integrity of the industry induced by these rogue elements and the publics lack of awareness. Hopefully, they and the other major brand will initiate a tertiary resource such as 'Market Leaders" website as the best collaborative resource that enforces the standards of MLS data.

If such a site was available and you could select your listings to go there, would you end syndication to Zillow and Trulia and (The latter is the source of the entertainment sites data.)

Why would any agent use Zillow for an evaluation? It is beyond comprehension!
I use Zillow data to confirm the need for 'real' data and the expertise of a professional.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
On one the hand of pure logic, I totally agree with you, Annette. But the other hand is telling mew not to accept your mission for training customers to use only our personal reliable sourcesfor it is an exercise in futility. For that to work 100% of all agents in the US - and abroad as well - would need to diligently cooperate to enforce this new education but as we know, whether it is in our industry or in any others, there are too many of our peers who always drop the ball and rely on the other guys to campaign for ideologies that will make things good for them. Secondly, there are too many personal good internet sites out there loaded with good stuff but consumers always think that information is more reliable if it comes from a large media that they recognize and trust over the information that is on John Bourassa's real estate website. This is not an argument but only my observation based on the interaction I have had over the years with people in general.
Flag Fri Jul 13, 2012
All we can do is remain professionals that we are, and provide the best information we can. There will always be other ways for consumers to obtain information...and it won't always be correct.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012

You got it "How do we ban Zillow?". I think this will take a collective effort from us, Realtors, to teach and even keep pounding that notion to our customers to stay away from those sites.

In fact, whenever I begin working with customers, I STRONGLY emphasize to them "If you must surf the internet to look for properties, only go to, which is the most accurate real estate resource out there." But guess what, like children they don't listen and they email back some addresses of properties they found and would like to see - of course not from - and when you find those properties, most of them are either in back-up or in pending status.

Very frustrating and unnecessary work for us!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
Not sure about Florida of course, but here in upstate NY, there are LOTS of properties not on that are very much actively listed for sale!
Flag Fri Jul 13, 2012
Holy COW!! That is just not healthy for our market and our sellers. I have heard some crazy stories, even told a few myself... That one takes the cake for this week.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
Stefanie is right. I get calls all the time....BUT ZILLOW SAYS...I am now coaching my clients to avoid that site. It is just terrible. How do we BAND Zillow? That should be John's question. Happy Friday everyone!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
Well, Guys and Gals,

Two days ago, one Realtor from a neighboring county put a new listing on the MLS. The price was awesome but lack pictures and detail info on the MLS sheet. The agent answered my questions and I knew that the price for that neighborhood way way too low. I asked the agent how he/she arrived at that price. "Zillow" was the answer. Naturally, I shared my knowledge of the area based on the condition of the property I received from that agent. That agent went back, worked the comps properly and later yesterday afternoon, the old listing was cancelled and a new listing popped at $45K more.

That agent also mentioned that it would explain why he/she has received so many calls to show in two days. Had this not been corrected, that would have shorten the seller and also lower the comps in the neighborhood.

Isn't our industry fun?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
I totally agree with the previous answers. Realtors have plenty of reliable sources to provide local comparables. We are not getting our information from Zillow and other public venues.

Unfortunately, this is where consumers begin their searches, and they are not receiving accurate information. Makes it much for difficult for us, when they are thinking they can get a property for considerably less than the current market.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
Last I heard, NAR (national association of realtors) claims Zillow to be about 12% accurate. It is more of a head ache than a useful tool.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
Realtors don't. At least good realtors don't. We have the MLS and the local Tax Assessors site. I would flee from any Realtor that unprofessional. Zillow's okay as a property search site just like Trulia, and
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
When determining market value for a City or County I don't believe an experienced agent would use Zillow or any other National Internet source. Determining market value takes a lot of research and local knowledge of the specific area and national sites don't have access to the proper information to determine values nor do they visit properties on a regular basis first hand . Compareable sales and market values are best determined by agents who live and work in a specific area who visit properties on a daily basis and can determine value based on personal viewings and detailed marketing analysis of the area. I would suggest that you find yourself a good , experienced local agent and have them prepare a CMA for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
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