Zillow Gets Sued Over Zestimate.

Is Zillow® Gonna Get What’s Coming To Them?

Last week the story came out that a woman in a suburb of Chicago has had enough of Zillow’s Zestimates. She is suing after hers was valued at $70,000 under her asking price.  We in the real estate industry knew this was coming.  Many Ascension Parish Realtors® had been saying it was only a matter of time before someone had had enough of these ridiculous “Zestimates.”

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I can explain it like this. Type  “Zillow .com” in your web browser and you’ll see an area for you to type in your address.  When your home pops up, a little further down the page you will then see your “Zestimate,” a basic number pulled from the sky claiming to be your home’s value.  Zillow says in the fine print that this number can be as far off as 5%.  If you knew your neighbors home just recently sold for $250,000 you figure yours would be close to the same amount.  Zillow’s Estimates can be around 5% off from that amount. That’s a $12,500 difference.

This is why many buyers and sellers get frustrated. With information becoming so easily accessible, it’s no wonder buyers not being represented by an Ascension Parish REALTOR®, lean on these numbers they see on Zillow to make an offer. They feel like this is a well-known company, how could they possibly be so wrong?  Being a Realtor® in the Ascension Parish, I’ve seen these Zestimates being off MORE than 5%!  The system they use to gather the numbers takes the subject property and draws in all the properties that have closed within a 5-mile radius. If you are from Ascension Parish you can see how this can become a major problem.

There is more to a home’s value than drawing a circle and pulling numbers!  Appraisers get paid to do this job for a reason.  The same home, with the same floor plan, in the same neighborhood can have two completely different values.  The condition, location, and various other factors come into play when determining value.  No computer software algorithm can judge what homes current value is because they have no idea what the home owners have done to the home to adjust that value.  Did the home owners upgrade the kitchen?  Have they added a pool in the backyard?  Did the current home owners rip out every stitch of carpet and add beautiful wood flooring wall to wall?  All these things add value!  Of course, if the home has been literally ignored for the past 10 years, that will have a negative effect on value just as the homeowner who kept their home up will produce a positive effect.

Back to the woman who is suing, I believe she has a case.  In her state, the way the law reads, the value determined by Zillow can be construed as an appraisal and that’s against their state’s laws. With that, I really hope she wins her lawsuit.  Zillow is really doing a disservice to the people they give this information to. People trust that they are getting accurate information with these “Zestimates” no matter what the fine print says.  The home buying and selling can be a frustrating one if you are not being represented by a REALTOR®. We do not need a large company that the consumer trusts to be throwing random numbers at a home with the intent of figuring out its value.  It doesn’t help anyone and should be eliminated from the site.  Zillow’s Zestimates are as useful as weeds in your grass; they literally choke the value of people homes with inaccurate information.

If you’d like to know the real value of your Ascension Parish home for absolutely FREE, Please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I look forward to showing you that your Zestimate from Zillow is WAY off.

Kristina Smallhorn 

Your Real Estate Whisperer

“Because YOU Matter”

eXp Realty LLC

LAKE CHARLES, LA 70601

225-246-1812

Office (225) 412-9982 ext# 149

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