Posted By Alan Donald @ Apr 1st 2018 3:57pm In: Real Estate

A few of us had suspected that Zillow® conveniently changes its "Zestimates®" of value based on MLS activity, instead of trusting their own algorithm. Now we are pretty convinced that this is the case. 

We put this theory to the test: A few days BEFORE we listed this townhome in Crowfield Plantation we took a screenshot of the Zestimate® ($139,8180). [Click to enlarge image]. 

Prelisting ZEstimate of 15 Rudwick Cir

A few days AFTER we put it on the market in MLS (at a list price of $135,000), we went back and checked. Oh surprise! The Zestimate® miraculously came down to $128,558 in 16 days (in a "seller's market")!

Zestimate of 15 Rudwick Cir Post Listing
They know it is very probable that the seller ends up negotiating down from the list price, hence the new value. If we close this home above this new Zestimate®, I bet their number will come up again, and this time very close to the actual sales number, so they can boost their accuracy stats...
To be fair, buyer beware: Zillow® publishes information on the accuracy of their data
Moral of the story: Zillow® is a great tool for learning about market trends, but don't trust the Zestimate® when you need to buy or sell. Experienced Realtors are still much more precise at estimating current market values, because we know local conditions, nuances, neighborhoods and the inside of these properties.

Where is YOUR house positioned vis-a-vis your neighbors'? Fill out this short form to receive a custom POSITIONING GRAPH for your neighborhood: (only available in Charleston, SC).

Zillow® and ZEstimate® are registered trademarks of Zillow Inc. 

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