If you are curious about what your property is worth, then I’m sure you have heard of Zillow.com. Zillow is a website that syndicates listing information from multiple MLS’s and provides property owners with an “zestimated” value of their home.
This home value zestimate has gotten some attention lately because the estimates are usually soooooo wrong – check out this recent article on MLS.com. This is not news to Real Estate of Winter Park, we have known for sometime how bad this site does property valuations. We still get calls from people wanting to sell their home and they say “Well Zillow says my house is worth $150,000, with a range of $36K-157K” and we then explain that Zillow uses inaccurate information and the best information is actually pulled from our MLS and we would list the property, for example, at $127,000. And the sellers get it once we show them the comparable properties. Why do people trust Zillow? Because it’s been around for several years, because it’s well known and probably because they use it on a regular basis.
We do syndicate our listing information to Zillow because it is a website that gets a ton of activity and the marketing plan is to get our listings the most exposure possible. Do we need to re-evaluate what sites we provide information to? And why are we promoting a website that provides inaccurate information? For example, sometimes the same property is listed on the site with different prices, or a property that is no longer listed is still on the site and the maps are usually incorrect.
This is something that we will discuss with our Marketing Committee and need to decide what is in the best interest of our clients. What do you think? Is this just the beginning of the website exposure overload backlash? Will we recoil back to a few years ago when the only site we provided information to was Realtor.com?
On a side note, the Colorado Division of Real Estate is currently discussing website syndication and how to regulate what sites have access to that information. What they have found is there are a ton of sites to take that info without permission and then we have no way of controlling it. A real problem that hopefully we’ll see resolved soon.