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Agreed, zimmbobway is an idiot by my reckoning as well. But what about you Zurbiton?
You truly are obsessed. Perhaps you are blaming to much of your woes on the Zillow Algorithm.
As the Algorithm is just that, no one else is expecting 100% accurate valuations. There are ALWAYS particulars that get ignored by the relative value schemes that the mortgage and real estate industry use to appraise a home. For instance, you could live in one of the worst neighborhoods in Detroit, yet you've remodeled your home with marble counter tops and gold plated plumbing fixtures. The truth is, the banks don't care, the appraisers don't care, the tax man doesn't care, nobody but the person who comes in to look at your home and decides it's a "steal" for them, or horrifically over valued. In any case, it's only worth what the buyer believes its worth. By the virtue of the fact that you place SO much credence in the Z Estimate and it's impact on perception, you in effect have given Zillow the biggest compliment and endorsement that they could EVER have hoped for. In other words, if SO many people follow it, and use it as a resource, the business model if far and away a success.
Bring your message to the realtors multi listing service and make sure their valuation is accurate and then forget about Zillow. You, and others like you are using it incorrectly if you're expecting the "algorithm" to be infallible.
Nobody expects 100% accuracy but nobody should expect the disparities within neighborhoods of similar homes that titwillow shows in its estimates. Nor should anyone be expected to accept the volatility, week to week and even intra-week, that the website offers. It is interesting how they can offer estimates that change three times per week in one state whose database of information (upon which the algorithm suposedly is built) is known by the real estate professionals to be suspect, yet totally ignores another state (Zestimite = NA) that has a far more refined database that is updated frequently.
The Zestimate is the driving force behind the company's revenue and will eventually be its achilles heel. The estimate itself ultimately means little, but it attracts the curious -- homeowners that want some comfort that their investment is appreciating; homeowners that want to know that their investment is worth more than the house next door; homeowners that want to know what the town thinks of their house as compared to others in the neighborhood (tax assessment); and, no question that prospective homeowners look to gauge the ask price of a home against some sort of benchmark, as well as find useful information such as how long the property has been on the market and how many times and by how much the ask price has been lowered.
All of this translates into "clicks" that ultimately determines revenue.
My point has consistently been that the problems that reside with the estimates will ultimately turn users off. Sellers will eventually opt out of using titwillow as an advertising medium for their homes. Already, the realtors dislike the site but feel for a variety of reasons that they must use it. But if their own clients opt out, the realtors will follow -- especially if other information sources begin to offer the same useful information as titwillow. And this will lead to fewer clicks.
So, somebody please tell me: Other than the Zestimate and its flawed algorithm, what does titwillow offer that cannot be replicated by at least three different groups in a single afternoon?
You ask: "So, somebody please tell me: Other than the Zestimate and its flawed algorithm, what does titwillow offer that cannot be replicated by at least three different groups in a single afternoon?"
UNASKED QUESTION: WHAT IS THE POWER OF BRANDING, OWNING THE FIRST TO MARKET STATUS?
Answer: EVERYTHING! (often Winner Take All) ZILLOW IS THE OLDEST, BEST KNOWN and AT THE VERY LEAST "AS GOOD" AS ANY COMPETITOR. They are also growing in sheer number of clicks by leaps and bounds over all of the others COMBINED. TO SHORT THIS STOCK IS SUICIDE. TO SELL CALL OPTIONS IS A MISSED OPPORTUNITY (Z PPS WILL GO MUCH MUCH HIGHER IN 2013), TO BUY PUTS? NEEDLESS
Finally, I would like to add, by all appearances over the past 5 years, Zillow has been a company that has constantly adapted and changed. Perhaps not as fast as some would like it to, but it has continually gotten better. They have a huge internet presence that is growing daily. Why in the world do some of you think they would intentionally shoot themselves in the foot? What purpose could this possibly serve?
Sentiment: Strong Buy
I apologize for chiming in here to the arguments of others, but the volatility you cite has little to do with Zillow and more to do with the reality of todays real estate market. It seems as though some of you have chosen to "shoot the messenger". The biggest culprit for price swings and misvaluations in home prices is the "short sale" vehicle. Depending on square footage and number of bedrooms, these falsely valued lowball sales as allowed by the banks, and reported by the real estate multi listing consortium can wreak havoc on similar properties while living the dissimilar alone. In my neighborhood, Zillow fails entirely in its proper valuation for lots with a view. There is a VERY high premium placed on certain views, while others with lesser height are lumped into the same category. How is ANY estimate service going to place an accurate valuation that is SO susceptible to subjectivity on the part of the buyer and seller? You people pick on all of the wrong things. This company is a winner. The REAL ESTATE MARKET has been the LOSER for the past 5 years, but that appears to be changing....and this is probably the best play out there now that the home builders stocks are all up over 400 -500% off of their lows.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
"The Zestimate is the driving force behind the company's revenue and will eventually be its achilles heel."
I think you've nailed it; my difference of opinion with you and Surby99, I don't agree with this premise at all. The driving force of ANY online presence is and always has been unique users, both new and return. In Zillows case, both of these numbers appear to be growing by leaps and bounds. Perhaps it is true, this is an Achilles Heel, but in spite of the harm the Z estimate does to some folks, by and large, people are either happy with their estimate or choose to ignore it as they know that when it comes to selling their home, they AND their buyer are going to have it appraised. As for buyers? The success is PROFOUND. The Zillow PORTAL is a wonderful tool for beginning a home search. Therein you can find the answer to several important questions:
1) What is for Sale
2) What homes sold recently in a given area (and for how much)
3) How does this home compare to other homes in the area when the same algorithm is applied
4) What realtor is representing a home Im interested in?
5) What Unique Features and amenities do these homes display?
PICTURES PICTURES PICTURES!!!
6) What is the AREA like? Pro's and Cons
6) What is the estimated mortgage of the Zillow Estimate Price OR ANY NUMBER I CHOOSE TO PLUG IN.
7) What will the property taxes be like based upon this.
8) What is the PRICE TREND of the homes SOLD in a particular neighborhood.
ALL VALUABLE INFORMATION AND ALL FREE
From an investors boat: ALL DRIVERS FOR ADVERTISING DOLLARS: COST PER EYEBALLS! (yes, its still the only REAL metric out there!)
I think you guys are being fooled by a Wolf (Short) in Lambs clothing (a Zillow Estimate "Victim")
In fact, long LONG before I would accuse Zillow of being negligent and a fraud, I would call out Zurbiton on his obsession (and I have). Why so important? If you dig into an analysis of his posts and their desperation you can easily come to the conclusion that Surbiton has something to lose if the STOCK goes UP, NOT, as he would have us believe, if the value of his home is misrepresented.
Im calling Surbi a FRAUD! - And SO SHOULD YOU!
Sentiment: Strong Buy