Zillow Problems

Zillow Problems

Zillow problemsZillow problems are a constant issue in Atlanta. Why does Zillow show a different value than the listing price? Zillow and Trulia are data aggregators that often have misleading, outdated or just plain wrong information.  

If you mentioned Zillow or Trulia you’d often get a blank stare before 2007.  Nowadays it’s more common for clients to come to their agents asking questions about what they’ve seen on the popular real estate sites. Oh, how I long for the good old days.  Trulia, based in San Francisco California and Zillow, based in Seattle Washington are data aggregators who target buyers and sellers of residential real estate.

The centerpiece of the sites is listing data but they also provide information on schools, neighborhoods, sales trends, and home values, and the latter is often where the trouble starts.  In many cases the data on the sites does not jive with the facts, facts such as whether or not a property is actually for sale, how much the last sale of a property was for and the derivatives of these facts, number of sales, average listing prices, historical trends and property values.

zillow problemsThe data is in many cases just plain wrong and it serves to unnerve and aggravate both buyers and sellers alike. There’s nothing like sitting down with a buyer to make an offer on a property and having them bring up the fact that the “Zestimate” says the house is worth $40,000 less than it is listed for on a $300,000 property

And despite the fact that it was the best house among the 20 you looked at in the $300-$400,000 range, the buyer still thinks they’re having the wool pulled over their eyes. The frustration is rivaled only perhaps by the buyer who has serious concerns about the neighborhood you showed them homes in because Trulia says prices there are down this year and it is overrun with foreclosures, even though your MLS data shows they’ve appreciated and there are only a handful of distressed sales. 

Or how about the buyer who wants to look at the home on Brirlake Road which you did not send to them, but which they found for sale online, the same buyer who is demanding to know why you aren’t sending them all the homes available for sale. The home in question? Oh, it’s not for sale and hasn’t been for months.(Client: Could you check again please? It’s there online). 

And oh there is also the buyer who wonders “why does this house on Zillow say it has no garage when I can drive by and see it has a two car garage!?” And while we’re on the subject please tell me why the website only shows one photo of the front of this other house? (a house which is not even for sale by the way!)

I feel for them all. These are people making a major purchase or sale and who might be basing their decisions upon data that is not consistently reliable. It also causes a breech of trust of sorts with real estate agents who are trying to provide accurate data which the client might view as suspect because it does not match the unmonitored aggregated data on an internet website! It’s coming down to agents squaring off against an algorithym and having to defend empirical facts against blatant inaccuracies. 

If you are buying or selling a home in Atlanta Georgia, I can provide accurate and reliable information to assist you in your real estate decision.I advertise on Zillow and Trulia and enjoy browsing through the houses and info they provide.  But I was purchasing or selling an Atlanta Georgia home, I would try to find more dependable information.Sally English and The English Team are Atlanta Georgia real estate agents and can be reached at 770-939-3174