Is Zillow Accurate?
Why isn’t my listing on Zillow? Why is old information showing up? Why doesn’t it have all our photos? Why is another real estate agent’s information listed as if they are the listing agent? When I find houses on Zillow and send them to my agent, a lot of them are under contract and some of them have already sold. All of these scenarios can be confusing and frustrating for a Buyer or Seller. Here’s the answer. In order to pull listing information to the site, Zillow has to have an agreement with the local MLS. When big dogs start to get too big for the britches, little dogs can show them that they don’t make all the rules.
If your local market does not have an agreement with Zillow, the listings may not automatically pull through and, therefore, not show up on the website. If they do pull through, the information may not be accurate and/or your actual listing agent may not be the one listed. Zillow is a business. They don’t set it up as a service to the public out of the goodness of their hearts. They have to make money somehow. They make money by selling advertising. They sell advertising to real estate agents and put their information on pages advertising other real estate agent’s listings. Sound wrong? Yeah, some local MLS’s thought so too, so they decided not to allow Zillow to take the listings any longer. If this is the case in your market, your real estate agent needs to manually upload your listing to Zillow. There still may be other agents being advertised on the page, but your agent can “claim” the listing and make sure that consumers have their contact information in case they have questions or would like to schedule a showing.
Now, how about those “Make Me Move” listings? Have you ever heard the expression, “Everything is for sale, for a price”? That is basically what that is. That homeowner is letting the public know that if someone is willing to pay “x” for their house, they will move. Otherwise, it’s not really for sale. And, finally, the Zestimate. It does not claim to be an appraisal or an accurate account of value. It is simply a starting point, based on various factors found in public records or uploaded by homeowners. I don’t know about you, but I have found many missing pieces in tax records while researching properties and we all think our house is the best, so if they are taking their information from those sources, you be the judge. They do encourage you to do your own research and even consult a real estate agent. As far as listings under contract or already sold, that is tough. For markets that have agreements with Zillow, the changes are not immediate. When the local MLS is updated, it takes time for the information to flow through the other websites. For markets without agreements, individual real estate agents are responsible for changing the status or removing listings once they are closed.
So, my advice would be, even if you keep looking at Zillow, consult a Realtor®. They can cross check the listings you find with the local MLS information to see how accurate the information is. They can also help you determine price by doing a Comparative Market Analysis of your home, taking into consideration upgrades and other factors. They can also help you with the For Sale by Owner properties you may find listed on Zillow. And if someone wants to buy my house, they can have it, for a cool million.
Images courtesy of Stuart Miles, Ambro, and jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur baby, Tyler, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.