Author Topic: #%!?# Zillow Estmate  (Read 5375 times)

Honest Abe

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#%!?# Zillow Estmate
« on: January 31, 2014, 04:08:59 AM »
This is a Complainy post.

I track my net worth on Mint... In the last 6 weeks it was dropped my home value by $30k, just as I'm about to hit a nice large round number.

I'm not concerned by the number it gives..... The lower it is the harder it makes me want to save. But what does annoy me is the volatility. Anyone else experience with their Zestimate?

desk_jockey

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Re: #%!?# Zillow Estmate
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2014, 05:30:59 AM »
I never understood why people link these type of real estate guestimate sites to their monthly portfolio tracking.   Unless Zillow inc was making you an offer, I wouldnít worry about it too much.   Any net worth estimate should consider 3-6% cost of sale plus house preparation costs.  If itís a primary residence that you are not planning to sell within the next 3 years the value doesnít really matter.     

I track my total investment/liquid worth.  That is the number of my focus.  Below that line I manually list a conservative estimate of what I could get out of the house if I had to close in less than 3 months.   Iím not planning such a sale, but feel itís more insightful that some generic number given to me by a website. 


SwordGuy

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Re: #%!?# Zillow Estmate
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2014, 05:50:00 AM »
There' net worth and then there's net worth. :)

Technically, the equity in your house is part of your net worth.  It's great for bragging rights - or would be if bragging about one's wealth wasn't gauche...  :)

But the house doesn't pay the bills.  Your other investments do that.   Your income producing investments are the ones you want to track for financial independence.

The exception would be if you were planning to move to a lower cost house by the time you went FI.  Then the difference in potential selling price vs. potential purchase price would count as FI-usable net worth.


Milspecstache

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Re: #%!?# Zillow Estmate
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2014, 08:41:32 AM »
I love Zillow as it is a tool that would have cost many hundreds 10 years ago.  Now we get the info for free without contributing to the real estate appraisal business.

As to the problems, Zillow gets numbers by looking at recent sales and at tax values.  As seasonal trends go, with houses usually sellling for less in the winter than the summer you can expect to see a lower value in the winter.  I wouldn't worry too much as you aren't trying to unload it.  However, it does help you know when you should sell it in the future.

Poorman

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Re: #%!?# Zillow Estmate
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2014, 11:07:25 AM »
I love Zillow as it is a tool that would have cost many hundreds 10 years ago.  Now we get the info for free without contributing to the real estate appraisal business.

As to the problems, Zillow gets numbers by looking at recent sales and at tax values.  As seasonal trends go, with houses usually sellling for less in the winter than the summer you can expect to see a lower value in the winter.  I wouldn't worry too much as you aren't trying to unload it.  However, it does help you know when you should sell it in the future.

Well, just to be clear Zillow isn't an appraisal, just an estimate based on a few limited data points.  The accuracy of their estimate was really bad for many years, usually overinflating the value by 10% or more, because that's what got people excited and drew visitors to the site.  It's a web business that thrives on page clicks after all. 

After many years of criticism, they seem to have tightened the algorithm up to the point where the values are more accurate now.  There's another tool that I like that I've found to be more accurate than Zillow on average.

https://www.chase.com/home-equity/home-value-estimator

Milspecstache

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Re: #%!?# Zillow Estmate
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2014, 12:25:18 PM »
There's another tool that I like that I've found to be more accurate than Zillow on average.

https://www.chase.com/home-equity/home-value-estimator

My 2 rentals:
Zillow of $161k, Chase of $179k
Zillow of $129k, Chase of nothing (range of $121k to $161k)

At a glance I'd say that Zillow is more accurate for me and I particularly like the graphs and tax information.  But thanks for the new tool.  More data is always good when thousands are at stake!

hybrid

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Re: #%!?# Zillow Estmate
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 01:51:57 PM »
I like Zillow as a real estate tool for finding properties and getting some basic information.  It stinks regarding assessing the value of a home.  The biggest reason why is that Zillow has no way of assessing the actual condition of a property.  Several homes in my neighborhood sold as foreclosures and they all were in need of major renovations so they went for a song.  My Mustachian Buddy got a great deal on a foreclosure in our neighborhood that needed a lot of TLC but nothing truly major, and he got it off the bank's hands for a good $40000 below it's current conservative worth, he probably only tyhrew $10000 into it to get it to that point.

Zillow consistently underprices my neighborhood and for that matter too so does the county.  Meaning I am paying a little less in property taxes ($200) than I probably would be were the true sale value of my home used.

SwordGuy

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Re: #%!?# Zillow Estmate
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 04:58:30 PM »
Back in 2008/9 I got a new tax assessment for my house.  It was performed at the height of the national real estate bubble and a local speculative real estate bubble.

The value of my house went up about 55% according to the assessors.   The Zillow valuation leapt up proportionally.

I was able to compare new and old assessment values on my 7 house street via online property tax records and demonstrate that the valuation differences didn't make a lick of sense.  They were totally inconsistent.

They dropped my tax assessment a significant amount and Zillow followed suit.




Tyler

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Re: #%!?# Zillow Estmate
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2014, 11:14:54 AM »
Depending on privacy laws in your state and county, the information available for Zillow can vary quite a bit.  In my area of Texas, the historical sale prices for houses aren't on Zillow, so the values are based almost solely on average cost per square foot numbers for an entire area and offer vey little insight on the specific house.

Jules13

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Re: #%!?# Zillow Estmate
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2014, 11:29:43 AM »
I don't include my house in my net worth, but I like to follow real estate in my neighborhood as a hobby.  Zillow not real accurate for my neighborhood.  My area is insanely popular at the moment and Zillow is notorious at estimating low.  It currently has my house listed at $340k (which is pretty much the appraisal when we refinanced a year or so ago) but I know for a fact (based on what I've seen sell around me and what real estate agents have told me) that we can get more than $400k if we sold today. 


Manguy888

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Re: #%!?# Zillow Estmate
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2014, 02:31:32 PM »
One issue I found with zestimate is that when I refinanced my first mortgage zestimate interpreted that as "sold for 192k". That's not true at all. One of two mortgages was simply refinanced. I'm not sure if there's a way to let them know this, or if they'd be interested to know.