Zillow Doesn't Know!!

For the second time in just the past 3 days, I have had a seller complain to me about gross inaccuracies in the Zillow.com information and value estimate for their listed property. This is far from a new problem, as Zillow has always been an entirely automated system that doesn't actually have a real estate agent or appraiser's direct input. 

Sellers want to know where the erroneous information on the website comes from and with good reason as Zillow has now become by some estimates the number one most popular real estate website. While we do advertise on Zillow (because it is so popular with Buyers) we don't actually submit information regarding our listed properties directly to them. Rather, they get a feed from the Multiple Listing Service and this data is then combined with information from various other sources. The most important additional source of information used on the Zillow website is probably our Sevier County courthouse records. Prior sale data, acreage & square footage information, year built and much other information is garnered from the courthouse records and unfortunately this data is frequently wrong or at the least misleading. As the old axiom "garbage in, garbage out" goes, the flawed courthouse data is extrapolated by the Zillow program and errors are magnified creating grossly inaccurate information that potential buyers see or even worse may rely upon.

I can't blame sellers for being irritated by the errors propagated by Zillow but there isn't much that can be done about the problem. The best idea for buyers is to consult a professional and if necessary hire an appraiser - All too often Zillow just don't know!!


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