Zillow’s zestimate is wrong. Should I contact them to try to fix it?

As you probably know, Zillow is a real estate website that created an interesting thing called zestimate. It is supposed to be an estimate of the market value of any property. And the best part is that it is free and immediate.

The objective is to allow homeowners, potential buyers, and curious neighbors to check value of properties they are interested on. The number is calculated automatically by Zillow’s computers and take in consideration recent sales of similar homes close to the subject property.

This is the same principle used by REALTORS and appraisers when calculating fair market value of homes. The biggest difference is that REALTORS and appraisers are able to review details of each property and make appropriate adjustments of value. Zillow’s computers have to use their algorithms and formulas. For example, they are not able to make adjustments based on the photos or personal knowledge about the properties.

So, now that we kind of understand what is this zestimate, should we bother to contact Zillow if we feel that the zestimate they have for our property is not accurate?

My answer to this question is “no, why bother?”.

A few years ago I bought a house for my family. For some reason the transaction ended up being flagged as an unverified transaction in Zillow. There was a warning attached to that transaction stating that the transaction might have been between related parties – like if I had bought the house from a family member or such. It bothered me because it was a regular transaction. I didn’t know the seller and I paid market value for the house. My gut reaction was to contact Zillow and make them understand the error and fix it. However, after I settled down I decided to let it go. In my opinion it is not worth the trouble and the time to try to fix it.

For all its worth, even if you are able to “fix” the error now, what guarantee do you have that it will not “break” again in a few weeks or months? Are you going to contact Zillow and go through the process of trying to fix every error you find regarding your property value in their site?

In the end of the day, if you are interested on the value of your house all you have to do is ask a REALTOR to make an assessment. Most will do it for free and will be happy to establish a relationship with you. And the assessment of an experienced REALTOR is much more accurate than any assessment a computer can make automatically.

You can go to www.MyFirstHouseAZ.com/valuation to order a professional valuation report for your property or any other property you might be interested in buying. The report will be prepared by a REALTOR, personally reviewed by me, and sent to you within 1 to 2 days.

About Jose Dias

My name is Jose Dias and I am an Arizona REALTOR with a passion for helping people buy and sell real estate in the Phoenix metropolitan area - Anthem, Carefree, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Glendale, Paradise Valley, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City, Sun City West, Surprise, and Youngtown. I believe I can use my experience and expertise to help you make the right move.
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One Response to Zillow’s zestimate is wrong. Should I contact them to try to fix it?

  1. Wayne Shaw says:

    This article is hogwash. As already stated by the author. “The objective is to allow homeowners, potential buyers, and curious neighbors to check value of properties they are interested”

    If a potential buyer checks Zillow and sees an artificially low Zestimate , of course it will affect their decision making. This will potentially affect the sale or sale price of the property.

    I am surprised if there has been no legal action to date, and suspect there will be.

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