Get ready for it – “marketing” a home may be free, sooner than we might expect. The successful Realtor’s value will come from managing the transactions and representing the clients’ best interests. Zillow’s zestimates soon might very well be right “enough” for some. Zillow’s zestimates might be more right today than they were yesterday.
From TechCrunch –
Zillow is trying to create a database of all homes in the U.S., which is a different approach than other real-estate sites. “It is the database of all homes, not just homes on the market,” notes Frink. This is both a strength and a weakness.
Current and historical data about all real property is immediately and easily available directly from the Gateway …
Zillow, and other private entities striving to succeed, are more fluid, more adaptable and more driven to succeed in a timely fashion than is the National Association of Realtors. It is really that simple. For now, Realtor.com has the best data … but for how long?
I’ll stick by what I wrote in August of 2006:
… what if Zillow’s reach becomes so great, their data become so vast and inclusive, that their Zestimates significantly impact what is fair market value? What if the purchasing and selling population refer to Zillow as the end-all, be-all estimator for their homes’ valuations? What if “close enough” is “good enough”? What if they become the de facto standard for home valuations?
Perfection with regards to a property’s valuation is a fluid thing, a moving target dependent on the “right” buyer who is ready, willing and able.
Can their data aggregation ever mitigate and/or minimize sufficiently the potential impacts of those unzillowable features? Doubtful, but they may be able to minimize the impact of the data’s shortcoming, provided they are accurate elsewhere. Might Zillow become just another tool used by Realtors?
I didn’t get the press release and can’t find a full copy of it, but I didn’t see that Virginia was one of the 11 states where they are adding data. Charlottesville, Albemarle and Fluvanna are still “back woods” territory with accuracy levels of one star …Â but not so back woods as Greene, Nelson, Waynesboro and Augusta – they aren’t even listed on the zestimates page. A quick spot check of a few houses in Charlottesville, Virginia and Crozet, Virginia revealed that the zestimates are wildly inaccurate. From a “valuing-a-home” competitive stance, they aren’t yet a threat to competent Realtors in the Charlottesville market … yet. (Update 9 May 2014: All of Central Virginia (except Fluvanna?!) are still all rated – by Zillow – as having one-star accuracy.)
Realtors’ complacency and dependence on the MLS will be their downfall … Zillow, et. al. “get” that the data needs to be accurate; many Realtors don’t. Here’s a thought – what if Zillow starts charging Realtors for access?