Retiring Early

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I still don't trust Zillow...

zillowI've been marveling over Zillow since it first appeared back in 2005, and after moving to our new house about a year ago, I've become increasingly skeptical. Our old house was valued appropriately and even today, it's enjoying a nice bump in value along with the rest of the Seattle market.

Our new house is an entirely different story. The fact is: the Zestimate and even the "Value Range" listed on Zillow has been less than our purchase price since the day we closed. Now, I'd be fine if we purchased at the top of the market and overpaid, but similar houses in our neighborhood over the past year have been selling for between 30% and 45% higher than we paid, so I'm confident that that's not the issue. Our Zestimate is still listed around 10% lower than what we paid a year ago, and upwards of 30% lower than "like" properties are selling for today within a block of my house. Seems odd given that Zillow says their median error rate for the Seattle area is only 5.6%.

I've contacted Zillow twice about this and they've been less than helpful. And, while I've read a lot of criticism about Zillow and am starting to agree that without them improving their valuation model, it's hard to see how they are going to be successful. Sounds like StealthBucks trusts the Zillow numbers, but what about other Seattle-based bloggers -- do the numbers add up for you? What about others in different states?



  • At 2/04/2007 1:52 PM, Blogger mOOm said…

    Are you near the water or a park etc? Those kinds of amenities don't show up well in the Zillow model. Usually Zillow seems to overestimate rather than underestimate. It is also prone to wild fluctuations.

  • At 2/04/2007 7:14 PM, Blogger Joseph Ferrara. Sellsius said…

    Zillow is undone by the elusive unzillowable.

  • At 2/05/2007 11:16 AM, Blogger fin_indie said…

    Thanks for the comments.

    moom: Nice one. I understand what you are saying, but no, I'm not near a water park :) I'm actually in a very desirable neighborhood in downtown Seattle.

    Joseph: I'm not sure if that is the case, but it's certainly an interesting point. I do live in a neighborhood that is undergoing a renewal, so some properties are undesirable and some extremely desirable. I'm not sure if that accounts for some of the difference or not.

  • At 2/15/2007 9:31 AM, Anonymous tommyv said…

    How about this...I own a condo in a complex that has 12 condos. There are 4 floorplans- 2 for the upstairs units, 2 for the downstairs. My condo is market valued at around $260k. Zillow has one identical unit at $122k less than my Zestimate, and another identical unit at $100k more than mine. So 3 units, exactly the same floor plans and finishes, $222K difference.

  • At 2/15/2007 10:15 AM, Blogger fin_indie said…

    Bingo. My point exactly.


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