What About Zillow?

Many Realtors and sellers get frustrated at the mention of Zillow.

I use Zillow!  Zillow, started in 2006, has a lot of useful tools!  Yes- it is expensive to be a Zillow preferred agent- but Zillow has created a loyal user base.  It is a trusted website accessed by millions of home shoppers, sellers, or just people who are curious what is going on with the market.

Zillow does offer its rent estimates and “Zestimates.”  These are calculated based off of an algorithm, so they are only as good as the information it has access to.  It gets updates from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and your local tax records.  It can’t know all details about home condition, where the busy streets are, where the good comps should come from, and more.

Some of the information found on Zillow appears to not be accurate.  Did you know you can change it?  If you are the home owner, you can claim the home and modify what shows up.  There are limits to this, but you can add or remove pictures, even list your home for rent or for sale!  (If you list your home on Zillow “for sale by owner” you will get a lot of calls!  Most from Realtors offering to list it for you.)

A caution: if the square footage isn’t accurate, you might want to check with the city.  Maybe the added space wasn’t done with a permit?  If the lot size doesn’t seem right, maybe there is a problem with clear title.  You can call your local zoning or permitting offices to make sure.  This becomes vital when you go to sell your home.