These days many buyers and sellers use Zillow to search for real estate. Do you Zillow? Admittedly it is easy to use and navigate. For me, that is where the positives end. My concerns are about accuracy, both in information and “zestimates” or, rather, lack of accuracy and poor estimates.
With data so easily obtained on line and so many sources to find information it makes sense that people would use a tool that is quick and easy. But is quick and easy always correct? Here is why I absolutely do not Zillow:
Sellers, you want your listing to be in front of everyone, especially on Zillow. However, are you aware that the information can often be incorrect or even misleading? A “zestimate” is often not in your best interest, because it is just a snapshot of nearby homes, which may not even be on the market, and generally the most recent sales might not be comparable to yours. In some neighborhoods, like condominium neighborhoods, the zestimate can be pretty accurate. Hopefully, you like your zestimate, because if it is inaccurate you will not be able to change it, nor can we (more on this next). Zestimates are the main reason not to Zillow.
If Zillow has managed to change the information as you enter it (and they do!) you cannot get them to make the corrections. Here’s an example: I entered a listing into MLS, which goes through my company’s quality control process before we allow it to go to Zillow. It is unknown to me why or how, but Zillow changed the town it was located in, so I contacted them (not an easy thing to do if you are not trying to run an add or buy zip codes from them) and they requested a tax bill, deed, and assessor card.
I did all three, and even though the mailing address for the property was in the town THEY had listed, the deed and other info clearly indicated that the property was located in the town I had entered into MLS. Zillow REFUSED to make the change. Refused! In essence, they were inaccurately representing a property in my name.
Misleading listing agent
You always see several agents’ names alongside a listing. Usually they are agents who have purchased rights to have their name there because they purchased rights to that zip code. That does not mean they are the listing agent. The listing agent should be the first agent you see and it should say “listing agent.” It doesn’t, which is remarkably misleading.
Slow to update
Zillow is not good about updating information as it changes, and sold or pending listings can languish on the site unchanged for weeks.
We now explain all of this to our sellers, with a disclosure about third-party sites. When they read it they are choosing NOT to Zillow. So, whether you do decide to Zillow or not to Zillow, realize that not all listings are making their way to that site. Sellers are getting picky about how their properties are being marketed and I don’t blame them!
So, do you Zillow? If you are located within New Hampshire/Vermont you have many alternatives for marketing your property or looking for one. You can go to neren.com for the most up-to-date and accurate information. You can also go to Realtor.com.
Also, many agents have their own personal websites where you can easily search our multiple listing areas. Ask your Realtor for some guidance on the best ways to do a real estate search. You can download the app SIR.com and search an area on your phone when you are there or where ver you would like. The information is accurate.
Lea Van Winkle, Broker/Agent