Friday, September 21, 2007

Z is for ...

Z06 Corvette, Nissan 240Z, Z28 (1LE!), Zamboni, Zagato, Zonda, some other fabulous car beginning with Z....


Zillow. I mean really, this is a real estate blog. How could I go through the alphabet and not hit Zillow for Z? If you don't know what Zillow is, go ahead and Google it... we'll wait...

Got it, ok.

There is a whole language that has sprung up around Zillow. The valuations that they provide are called Zestimates. But, most interesting is the use of the word zillow and zestimate as verbs... comically.

Zestimate: to provide a wildly inaccurate valuation. "The zestimates for the neighborhood were all over the map, with some being $20,000 high, and others being $50,000 too low."

Zillow: to price a house too low. "That poor guy got zillowed when he sold the house for $400,000. The buyer sold it a year later for $500,000."

Truthfully, I can't speak to the accuracy of the valuations from Zillow. They don't seem to have much data here in the sticks of Atlanta. I will say that the house next door to me sold for $10,000 above the Zestimate in just a couple of days on the market this summer.

Lane... what's the point?

The point is that the internet is a wonderful tool. There are great websites that can be used to find all sorts of information. Information is a tool. Craftsmen (and Craftswomen) are the ones that know how to use the tools. Just because someone can buy a TIG welder doesn't mean that they are a TIG Weldor (despite Mozilla giving me a spelling error, a Weldor is a person that welds... according to the welder manufacturers).

So ends my A-Z journey. It's been fun, and I might take it on again with slightly different focus. Now I can get to the list of 15 posts or so that I have thought up while writing these...

1 comment:

Lane Bailey said...

I also have this posted on my Active Rain blog, which is an area frequented by real estate folks. I got this exchange in the comments, and thought I would pass it along.

I'm just discovering Zillow. Has Zillow been valuable to you?

09/17/2007 by Robert Monk Florida Real Estate

Robert... not at all. I like looking, but the valuations are like picking stocks by having a chimp throw darts at the stock charts...

09/17/2007 by Lane Bailey - The REALTOR for Car People

Robert I am going to answer your question from my stand point. I have used Zillow for some months now and i have not had an calls or inquiries since I started. That would be a NO at this point. Now I am not sure what Lane's answer is.......

This is a good post but Zillow is not that value added for me yet. I'll keep using until it brings me something, then my answer will change.

09/17/2007 by Rosemary Brooks -Mother & Daughter (866)-750-8282

Zippity do-da Lane. I mean Zamboni as an automobile. LOL I had a 280 Z fast fast super fast. Zillow is not much of a factor here and is usually high. Congrats on the quest.

09/17/2007 by Randy Lyon

Yes, the Internet is wonderful, but Zillow is a big joke in this area. They are so far off it could be funny. Except that some folks fall for it.

09/18/2007 by Patricia Kennedy
Robert (and others) Does that answer your questions?

09/18/2007 by Lane Bailey - The REALTOR for Car People

I'm on record here on activerain and elsewhere for giving Zillow a big thumbs down. They have been more than a 100k off on some 'zestimates' in my area. This certainly makes educating our obstinate sellers a lot more difficult. And when buyers use it, it can blow a transaction.

You called it Lane! I DO own a tig welder, but wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole.

09/18/2007 by Portland Oregon Real Estate Broker * Jennifer Bukaty *

I'm pretty proficient with a MIG, but I want to learn to TIG next... but I can wait a while.

09/18/2007 by Lane Bailey - The REALTOR for Car People

Hi Lane, it's David from Zillow,

Thanks for including Zillow in your series and congratulations for making it to "Z".

I wanted to highlight two resources on the site that are relevant to your post:

1) We publish our accuracy statistics here. I recommend that Realtors know what Zillow's accuracy is like in their area - there's some great data here.

2) There's a lot more to Zillow than Zestimate values. Here's a page that explains how Real estate professionals can use to promote themselves and their listings.

09/18/2007 by David Gibbons

Thanks David. I will certainly look over the info. I hope that the comments of others on this post will help you refine your product.

09/18/2007 by Lane Bailey - The REALTOR for Car People

Dont forget the UZ for "unzillowable"

Knowing zillow's "average or median" error rates is of no value in determining the value of "your home".

09/20/2007 by Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

Joseph, I have no issue with the link you left being live. I don't know if it requires membership to leave a live link, but I will post a link.

Joseph's Link... it lives!

David, I just looked over your accuracy statistics. In your very best market, you have a median error of 4.7%, but more telling, only 78% of the properties sell within 10% of the Zestimate. Here in Gwinnett County, the list price/sale price percentage is over 97%. That means that agents are hitting their numbers a LOT better than Zillow. Further, somewhat referencing your discussion with Joseph, I still have buyers that apparently can't find your disclaimers about the accuracy of Zestimates, because they come to me with incredibly unrealistically ideas of price... and this is a VERY stable market compared to the places that you have given higher accuracy ratings.

I don't even think that Zillow numbers in this market can really function as a starting point. For buyers, it gives them unrealistic hope for some areas, and I'm sure mentally locks them out of other areas... but they don't know which is which.

The comparison that you made to Google is pretty weak. When I search Google and have results that aren't relevant, I know pretty quick. When someone searches Zillow, they don't know that they have an irrelevant result.

I thank you for stopping by.

09/20/2007 by Lane Bailey - The REALTOR for Car People