Do You Use Zillow, Or is Zillow Using You?
I Call it the Zillow monster. Why? Because It swallows up all the usable real estate data and makes us pay to get any of it out. We all pay Zillow in one form or another. Real estate professionals pay by having to buy into the paid advertisements to make themselves visible to potential prospects. Users pay by having to give up their email and phone number to get more information about a property.
Do you use Zillow for home searching? If so, this may be useful to you. I recently made a short video talking about the pros and cons of using Zillow, as well as some simple strategies for getting great information from your search without being bombarded by email and phone calls from random real estate agents.
So here's the truth Zillow doesn't want you to know: Zillow is not a Real Estate Company. Zillow is an internet company. Zillow sells Ads, not homes.
It's important to remember that Zillow is like the wild west for real estate listings. Anyone can post a listing about any property, and Zillow has little to no control over the accuracy of the information. Many times property data is inaccurate, and the status of a property for sale is almost never updated. To get the most out of Zillow, try these simple strategies:
1. ZESTIMATE is Zillow automated home value estimator but it is not a reliable source for your home's value. Do not rely on the Zestimate to determine what your home is worth. Instead, use recent sales data from your neighborhood to get an idea of what your home might sell for. Search for nearby comparable home sales by selecting "recently sold" under listing type and zooming in on the map to find comparable in your area. If you make a specific inquiry about your home's value, expect to be contacted by a local agent that has paid Zillow for their advertising platform. Remember, Zillow sells ads not houses. Zillow connects agents to buyers and sellers, and that's how they make their money.
2. When you're searching for homes for sale, or recently sold, sort by newest first. Zillow doesn't update the status of it's listings. If you are shopping for a home and looking at listings over 30 days old, chances are they are already under contract or sold. If you are really interested in a property, contact a local real estate agent to verify the information you are looking at is accurate before you get your hopes up.
Zillow can be a very useful tool for home buying and selling, but remember that they want to collect your contact information to resell and make money. Avoid this by performing your own manual searches and contact agents directly if you have questions about a particular property or you home value.
At Realty 33, We tap into 25+ years of experience and market know-how to help our clients make streetwise real estate decisions.