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November 01, 2006
An Appraiser's Take on the Zillow Controversy
Maybe you heard that a coalition of community activist groups is accusing Zillow.com of misvaluing homes in black and Latino neighborhoods. It's asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate. Zillow denies the charges.
The New York Times carried a story Oct. 31 saying that National Community Reinvestment Coalition accused Zillow of systematically undervaluing homes, but in fact the coalition accused Zillow in its press release of both "over and under valuations." I guess mistakes in both directions can be problems in low-income neighborhoods, depending on the circumstances.
Here's what a New York City appraiser, Jonathan Miller, has to say about the controversy on his blog.
... And here's what Zillow itself has to say on its blog.
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My experience with Zillow is with my infill waterfront properties. The homes that I have checked do not seem to be able to pluck out a waterfront home in an area that is mixed with waterfront and non-waterfront, making the info of little value in those situations. Its fun to play with, but I have a hard time seeing much decision making being made using it (for me anyway.
Posted by: Andrew Howe at November 28, 2006 06:46 PM
Zillow does not take into account the added value of waterfront property. It appears to rely on public tax records that in some cases haven't been updated in twenty-five years. The zestimator is a sketchy tool to rely on. I believe it's best to use a Professional Realtor when appraising property.
Posted by: Ronald Asteak at January 15, 2007 07:00 PM