Realtor com is more accurate than Zillow

Zillow Review - 2021 - INVEST

Zillow owns the main online search room. Almost a quarter of online house hunters visit Zillow every month, according to Inman, an information provider in the real estate industry. Zillow's longstanding customer focus, friendliness of mobile devices, and a massive social platform make it one of the most widely used web-based real estate resources.

However, Zillow has its share of critics, including most of the real estate agents. Is it just a question of competitive uncertainty? Or is Zillow unworthy of his powerful position in the main search field? Let's see what Zillow is best at and where it can be improved.

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What Zillow does best

  • Provides door-to-door sales prices and estimates
  • Lets potential home buyers filter their search by price, agent, house features, open house, and other criteria
  • Offers mobile and tablet apps. Saved searches and notifications are synchronized with each device
  • Helps existing homeowners test the market by giving them the ability to “Claim” their homes and post “Make Me Move” prices

Zillow at a glance

characteristicProsCons
EstimatesHouse price estimates generated by a proprietary algorithmThese values ​​are not derived from an actual assessment. Even intelligent machines can make bad guesses.
Neighborhood informationGraphic maps and satellite overlays provide accurate pricing for each property in an area. With sales prices and appraisals, a user can get a good feel for the property values ​​in a given area.Other websites are better able to track schools in the neighborhood and include local data such as crime statistics.
Alternative listingsLists homes for rent and sale by the owner, as well as foreclosuresHomeowner "Make Me Move" offers may result in unreasonably high asking prices.
Find an agentAgent ratings and profilesReal estate agents can place ads in targeted zip codes even if they have no experience in the neighborhood.

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How Zillow makes money

Of course, Zillow is in business to make money. The company had sales of more than $ 325 million in 2014. This money doesn't come from users, but from real estate agents who pay to have their profiles appear on the listing pages. Agents can also pay to have their properties advertised as “featured listings”.

Reasons for Zillow

Best in class mapping and search tools: When your home is cracked for the first time, you want all the help that you can get. First-time homebuyers, Zillow has great neighborhood mapping and plenty of search options, including filters for open houses, new builds, and foreclosures.

Notifications across devices: Saving a home that you're interested in will trigger email updates on price changes as well as open house dates. You can also receive notifications of new entries in your target quarters. Finds and updates sync across all mobile and tablet devices.

Robust resources: Zillow has a variety of additional resources for homebuyers and homeowners alike. For example, the Home Design feature provides DIY inspiration, including photos with embedded links to the sources for featured design products.

Easy for homeowners to test the market: If you already own a home, you can apply to Zillow and correct any errors in the details you booked. This comes in handy when you want to sell the property and want to make sure the listing information is correct. Any changes you have made, e.g. B. Correcting the description of the apartment from two to three bedrooms will automatically update the zestimate. And speak of them ...

Estimates: a hit and a miss in home prices

Robo-Home values: Zillow's Domestic Value Zestimates are perhaps the site's most popular and hotly debated feature. These price estimates are based on proprietary algorithms and are automatically generated for nearly 100 million households in the nation.

But are they correct? Whether it is a fairly accurate guess or a rough estimate depends on who you ask, but Zillow recognizes a national error rate of 8%. That is, half of the estimates are more accurate than the 8% margin of error - and half are further away. The accuracy is determined by the final selling price versus the Zillow's estimated value prior to the sale.

While Zestimates can give you an idea of ​​a neighborhood's course rate, you don't want to rely too much on these online valuations.

Find a real estate agent on Zillow

Agent Reviews: When purchasing a product or service, many consumers turn to online reviews. Real estate reviews can be especially helpful. On Zillow, buyers and sellers can offer their contributions to the service received from their agents, but negative reviews are rare. Most agents have 5 star ratings or no ratings.

Bad reviews can cause your agent to be lost: However, the bad reviews out there can be devastating, although Zillow moderated the comments. Agents can respond to reviews, but those who choose not to allow reviews must remove their profile from the website.

Real estate agents pay for position: Agents can pay to have their profiles listed even if they are not the primary contact for the property; if an agent is the listing agent for a home, the website will make a small print under the contact information. Remember that listing agents represent the seller. You may want to have a buyer agent on your side.

How Zillow can hold its own against the competition

There are helpful alternatives:Other websites, such as RealtyTrac, have helpful neighborhood data, including information about the local school. Redfin promises to connect you with a real estate agent who “pays for your satisfaction, not a commission”. Realtor.com now uses its industry connections with Multiple Listing Service (MLS) lists that are updated at least every 15 minutes.

But Zillow is free: While some websites store extensive information for premium subscribers, Zillow makes use of page rendering - it has around 60 million un

Ique visitors per month - to convince the agents to pay for the ad space and keep the entire website free for buyers and owners.

And Zillow is growing: The company already claims four out of five U.S. homes were seen on Zillow. The Zillow Group has opened up additional online properties and added websites such as Trulia, StreetEasy and HotPads. Your influence in space is likely to increase, a fact not lost with the agents of the industry, many of whom have a grudging love-hate relationship with the location. Broad acceptance can lead to even more listings, more agents and possibly even more price transparency.

The bottom line

House hunters will find Zillow helpful in their search, especially if they view the Zestimates as little more than informative assumptions and use other sites like Realtor.com and RealtyTrac to fill in the blanks.

More from Investmentmatome:

  • Appreciate your home value
  • Compare the mortgage rates
  • What to expect from the home buying process

Hal Bundrick works for Investmentmatome, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @halmbundrick.

Images via Zillow.