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Archive for August, 2006

Zindicated! Is this Zillowed seller proof of the need for even greater Zillification?

Frankly, no.

Christine at NY Houses 4 Sale cites a Realty Times article about a seller who immediately pulled his home off the market after a prospective buyer confronted him with a Zestimate $500,000 below his assessed value. His conclusion is that Zillow.com has made his home unmarketable.

My first reaction is simply to say, “Hysterical much?”

I think Zillow.com misleads consumers by implying that its Automated Valuation Method is a valid and useful way of pricing homes, but I can’t believe that there is any report or document produced by Zillow.com that cannot be completely dispensed with by saying, “Are you utterly daft? If you can buy a house in this neighborhood for half-a-million under market, I’ll help you move in. Now get serious or get lost.” On my planet we call that negotiation.

At NY Houses for Sale, Christine writes:

I am sure that soon there will be more and more complaints and I am also sure that as the market continues to change more and more buyers will be “Zillowing” their neighbor, mothers, brothers, sisters and friends houses. Just as I am sure of those things – I am VERY sure that there will be many buyers coming into homes that are listed claiming that they are over priced. But here is my answer.. “The house is NOT over priced – your Zestimate is UNDER priced”.

And all that will be great. Zillow.com wears a media-conferred halo right now. The more people talk about the incredible, obvious, bone-headed mistakes Zillow cannot help but make, the less people will rely on it — or affect to rely on it. At some point Zillow may elect to tell the truth in no uncertain terms about what an AVM can and cannot do — in order to retain at least a shred of credibility.

But as for this seller: Grow up, cowboy. If there were no Zestimates, the buyer would have tried a different lowball tactic. If you want your house to sell, pay $300 for a spot appraisal, price you home at or below it, and leave a copy of the full appraisal report on the kitchen table. Then coin yourself a new phrase: “Zillow-schmillow! I know what my home is worth!”

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