Sunday, November 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Price estimates on Zillow can be volatile

By
July 16, 2011 |

Homebuyers (and homeowners) are often curious about the estimated value of a property. And during the past few years, the website Zillow.com has capitalized on that curiosity, offering price estimates based on trends in recent home sales, filtered through a complex mathematical formula.

But as local residents have observed in recent months, Zillow’s estimates can swing up and down — sometimes within a matter of days.

Rosemary Shahan told The Enterprise that she started following Zillow’s price estimate of her parents’ home — a duplex in the Stonegate area — several months ago.

“I heard from a friend who works at UC Davis that my parents’ home was listed as having a $100,000 price cut, right when it was first listed,” Shahan said. “Naturally, my friend wondered why. It turned out than an agent had made a typo on the price on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and then corrected it. But Zillow automatically listed it on their site as a price cut. A pretty drastic one.”

That mistake got corrected after a few phone calls and email messages, Shahan said.

“Meanwhile I became aware of other problems,” Shahan said. “For example, my parents’ home is a duplex. (At first), Zillow gave an estimate of $357,000. The adjoining half of the duplex got an estimate of $409,000. However, my parents’ home has a slightly bigger lot, professionally landscaped garden, lovely mature trees, and recent upgrades to the master bath. The adjoining property hasn’t been upgraded much at all.”

Shahan said she asked Zillow why “the upgraded property would be worth $52,000 less than its conjoined twin, which lacks the upgrades.”

Shahan said that after her calls and emails, the Zillow estimate on her parents’ house rose to $411,000. This was midway into June.

But a subsequent check by The Enterprise last week found that Zillow’s estimate for the property went to $335,700 on Thursday, and then adjusted to $341,000 on Saturday.

Is the value of the property really changing by thousands of dollars every couple of weeks? Probably not. And the online price estimates offered by websites are rarely based on an actual walk-through of a property.

On the company website, Zillow says “A Zestimate home valuation is Zillow’s estimated market value. It is not an appraisal. Use it as a starting point to determine a home’s value.” The Zillow website also notes “The home data we have compiled to generate a Zestimate home valuation varies by location. Some counties provide all the data we could hope for, but others are lacking such key things as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, or, in some cases, the square footage of the home.”

The Zillow listing for Shahan’s parents’ home includes the number of bedrooms, baths and the home’s square footage. But the Zillow listing for the other half of the duplex does not list the number of bedrooms, baths and that home’s square footage. The Yolo County Assessor does not typically post a home’s square footage on the Internet.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8055.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Hollywood readies its big guns for the holidays

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Need for local foster parents grows

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    Tactical robot decreases officer risks

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Berkeley, Santa Cruz students protest fee hikes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Couple arrested on drug, firearm possession charges

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Woman confronts suspicious follower

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Bob Dunning: Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Auction-bound student artwork stolen in downtown heist

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

    UCD awarded $100M to lead program to predict, prevent pandemic threats

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Breakfast with Santa tickets are going fast

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Probationers, parolees graduate from Yolo transitional program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Free boot camp, yoga fundraiser this week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Enterprise observes holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Bell-ringers still needed this holiday season

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Give blood and get a free movie ticket

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Thanksgiving feast is open to all

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Workshop will answer financial aid questions

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Yolo Food Bank invites locals to run with the flock

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Museum announces holiday schedule

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    At the Pond: Stop, look and listen

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Swing your partner!

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A6

    Fairfield School enjoys a festive feast

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Right at home: gifts you can use and use up

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Dec. 10 jeans drive benefits STEAC

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    Davis Community Church history recounted in Sunday talk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Open your heart

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Bob Hope interview pulled from ‘the vault’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    There’s only one way to fix this

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Students barking up the wrong tree

    By Our View | From Page: A14

    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

     
    Heartbroken over treatment of teacher

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

    Google, tell me. Is my son a genius?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

     
    Daryl Cagle cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A15

    Cordial political discourse: Seven years later, the thoughts resonate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

     
    Easing the stress during college application season

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

    How I want to be remembered

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A16

     
    Watch out for holiday weight gain

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16

     
    When the computer stares back

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A16

    .

    Sports

    Turnovers costly as UC Davis loses Classic, 41-30

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men finish off Furman

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Upset-minded Lions bounce UCD from WWPA tourney

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    New, old-look helmets not enough to lift UCD footballers

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Late shot sinks Aggie women

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Seniors play well in Aggie volleyball loss

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Wire briefs: Kings get past depleted T-Wolves

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    With volleyball playoff berth, DHS accomplished its 2014 goal

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B6 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

     
    Don’t pass up the parking gift downtown

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13

    Doby Fleeman: Give thanks for our innovation culture

    By Doby Fleeman | From Page: A20

     
    Honey, spreads showcased at open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, November 23, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8