One can be really good at marketing and atrocious at actually performing the services advertised. Zillow is the grand prize winner in this category. Oh, and they are the #1 home search site in the country...ugh.
I hear touching and emotional commercials about how their service will create new loving memories for your family and help reach every dream. They boast that the magic website and mobile app will help find that perfect home for your little boy looking for the best tree house. Beautiful marketing! Really is beautiful. The ads represent the true and most rewarding benefits of being in the real estate business.
EVERY SINGLE BUYER with whom I have worked ran into the same problem. Too many homes listed on the Zillow site showing as "available" were no longer on the market. In two cases, my buyer clients sent me homes from the Zillow site that had sold more than five months ago.
Second, this damn, infuriating Zestimate. This is Zillow's market valuation tool. They use an algorithm called an Automated Valuation Model (or AVM) that pulls market data, performs a math problem, and then spits out an estimated value range and suggested list price. It is correct approximately 20% of the time (blind squirrel...nut)!! But, home sellers/owners accept those numbers as value gospel. First of all, the pool of recent sales isn't up to date, so the data they are using contains serious validity problems. Second, without actually seeing the property (and being a human being) there is NO WAY POSSIBLE to make a representation about a home's value or probable sales price. Too many variables and conditions that require an expert human hand.
Seriously, all I want is what is best for my client. Stop it Zillow. This stinks!
Jim Ellis is a real estate professional and real estate instructor in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill areas of North Carolina.