house image

Zillow – to Love or Not to Love

You’re searching for a new home. You type in “house for sale Jacksonville Florida.” Immediately, top of the page you will see Zillow, beckoning you in. It seems natural to choose that option – everyone’s heard of Zillow. It’s reputable. It’s “Zestimates” will help you to find a house in your budget, or help you list at the right price.

Stop right there! While Zillow is a great window into the thousands of homes for sale across the country, and allows for market browsing from the comfort of your couch, surprisingly that is not exactly what it was designed for. Using Zillow’s sleek & modern site can be helpful and convenient, however here are the top reasons to not rely solely on Zillow:

1. Quite simply, Zillow is a media company that generates revenue by selling advertising on its website. It is not a real estate brokerage firm. They do not employ nor do they endorse any real estate agents.

2. When you click “Get more information,” Zillow sends your contact information to several local agents who have paid for your “lead.” You are also giving permission to have lenders contact you if you don’t uncheck that discrete little box beneath the form. You may be inundated with phone calls in a matter of minutes. Most likely, the agent(s) that call you will have Zero knowledge of the property you are inquiring about.

3. Zestimates may not always be accurate. What you need is real market knowledge. While Zestimates can be fun, and even close at time, you cannot count on the accuracy of a company that doesn’t have local market knowledge. 

Take for example two properties – one across the street from another. Zillow can compare the two in terms of age, square footage, beds/baths that it pulls from public records, and assign them with a value. However, if one of those properties happens to be totally renovated and the other is not, the Zillow-meister can’t recognize that. What about views? Traffic? Value is subjective, so it takes a real person, with real local knowledge to make those adjustments.

4. Zillow lists “pre-foreclosure” homes. That’s awesome! …Right? Not exactly. This type of listing does not mean that the home is available to purchase. Zillow is simply displaying properties with a Lis Pendens filed against them (notice of default). It is the very beginning of the foreclosure process. So, that home could be listed for sale, or be auctioned off in the future, but it is a bit misleading (in my opinion). Sure, we could go knock on the door and say, “I see you have missed some mortgage payments and are facing foreclosure. Could I buy your home?” There are investors out there that do that, but it is not the road most homebuyers wish to travel. So, why does Zillow list them? To get you to click “Get more information” and generate a new lead for real estate agents of course.

5. Realtors advertise homes and search for listings in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), not third party sites. Zillow does not pull ALL of the data contained in the MLS. There are private fields that do not get shared with 3rd party websites. For the most comprehensive data and documents pertaining to an individual property, an agent with access to the MLS is the best source.

At MASH Realty Services, we don’t buy leads from Zillow. We work strictly on a referral based business model. There’s nothing wrong with buying leads – it’s just not our style.

We provide an accurate, in depth market analysis when pricing a home.

We provide you access to the MLS through your own Portal Account.

We have the ability to show you any property on the market no matter where you see it listed.

We are ready to assist you. Just give us a call to start the conversation.




Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)