Is Zillow Getting….Unzipped?

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Zillow Unzipped

I am angry…and tired of trying to explain to our San Diego listing clients how Zillow can be so far off in its valuations–and then having to educate buyers that Z’s information is faulted and frequently not much better than a carnival guestimate of age.

We currently have a listing at 347 Shore View Lane that is truly singular. It’s a single level Encinitas pool home that has a wide ocean view and is West of I-5 (a BIG deal in San Diego). Forget that this home has been remodeled, has a gourmet kitchen and sits on a huge level lot at end of quiet cul de sac.

Instead, try searching our San Diego MLS for a single level, ocean view, pool home under $1 million anywhere from Carlsbad down to La Jolla and you will find one: 347 Shore View Lane priced at $959,000.

So what does Zillow show? A Zestimate for over $100,000 less that fails to consider premier location, pool, ocean view or anything else that truly sets this home apart.  My discussion with sellers this evening? Whether to pull the listing from Zillow altogether.  Then, I will be contacting our other sellers and see if they wish to do the same.

I have a hunch we will be pulling our listings from Zillow altogether, not only because of faulty valuations but because the only way Z can survive is to sell ad space to agents who know nothing about my listings–and may not even know the neighborhood.

One thing needs to be clearly understood:

Zillow does not sell homes. Zillow sells advertising. 

Our decision to unzip from Zillow is not made in a vacuum. San Diego’s Jim Abbot with ARG Realty Group eloquently states the case for not only pulling out from Zillow, but Trulia and Realtor.com as well.

Phoenix writer and Realtor Jonathan Dalton also clearly states his intent–and determination to serve his Arizona clients.  And just this morning, Jim Lee, a well-known New Hampshire Realtor and a bulldog with issues, shared this on Facebook:

Received this missive from Zillow:
“Jim,
To ensure home buyers can contact you, we need to periodically verify that your email address is active. Our records show you have not verified your email address, and therefore, your contact information has been temporarily removed from parts of Zillow.”

Dear Zillow:
Thank you for your email. Could you make my removal permanent and while you’re at it please also remove all my listings from Zillow and don’t steal anymore of them in the future?

Thanks, your friend Jim

cc: Trulia, Realtor.com

My assessment?  Zillow is about to get….unzipped.

The survival and success of these “listing aggregators” depends upon integrity of their data. If agents and sellers start pulling their listings, the data they publish will be even more corrupted–and could come to resemble Swiss cheese. Not exactly a reliable place to search for homes–when more reliable sources are available. And fewer eyeballs = fewer advertising dollars from Realtors and others.

Is Wall Street listening?

–by Roberta Murphy

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2 responses to “Is Zillow Getting….Unzipped?

  1. I hope so. I have one of the nicest properties in my neighborhood. I paid extra to have an end unit, one a lake that is very private. Also put significant money into the inside. Then I get shot in the foot. I was able through my realtor, to be taken off of this site. You’re right, they’re selling advertising, not buying homes or paying taxes on the home owners homes.

    1. Gary, It’s good you had a proactive agent in your corner who was able to get the listing removed from Zillow. It’s a problem we and others continually fight in our San Diego real estate practice. Under or over-valued homes serve nobody well.

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