I have been patient with Zillow and their Zestimates. I have even, dare I say, defended them for being, if not accurate, then fun: Another tool in the empowered buyer’s tool box. Now, as a real estate agent, I am dangerously close to hoping their server crashes.
The latest fine-tuning comes in the form of “My Estimator“. (I guess the commoners don’t rate a “Z”). Sure, we have all complained that Zillow’s clinical algorithm for property valuation doesn’t have all of the facts; They can’t see our warts including the electrical transformers in our canyons, and they are unaware that we time our commute by the decibal level of traffic on the adjacent freeway. But, and here has been the big complaint from home owners, they simply don’t know how SPECIAL our home is! If only Zillow was aware that I had remodeled my family room into what is now is a scale model replica of the Versailles Hall of Mirrors, my Zestimate would soar! Good News. Now any home owner can register and correct these oversights. Having “corrected” the facts, My Estimate will show up next to the Zestimate. I can even pick my own comparable sales to assist in arriving at a better value estimate. Yippee! Early retirement is just a mouse click away.
I have been in a bit of a funk for the past two months as I have had to watch my own Zestimate stagnate. Sure, after having watched my Zestimate bounce around, I am $12,000 to the good (with virtually no new sales in my neighborhood during this timeframe, I might add), but this wasn’t the the windfall I was hoping for. So this morning, I took matters into my own hands. I “enlightened” my cyber-buddies at Zillow, picked a couple of better (for me) comps, and Oh Happy Day! My Estimate is now $30,000 higher. Talk about instant gratification.
Here is the problem. Who cares? The guy who came through my open house last weekend armed with the Zestimate for the property doesn’t. If the Seller’s own estimate is higher (and won’t it always be?), which one do you think he will beat me and the seller over the head with? Sounds to me like Zillow is attempting to placate the home owners who, you won’t believe this, ALL have homes that are special. Case in point: I have met with sellers who were quick to point out that they have an ocean view. From the guest bath. While balancing precariously on a stack of books. In high heels. With a telescope. Do you think they just might add the “water view” description to their property?
Zorry, Zillow. You can’t buy my buy-in. I’m no longer a fan.