Thursday, October 30, 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

.

News

Meet Archer, Poppenga and Sunder

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
UCD prof will speak in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Eichorn’s shredding event benefits STEAC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
All voices welcome at sing-along

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Community forum devoted to returning military personnel

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Davis Media Access: Treasures from the vault get new life

By Autumn Labbe-Renault | From Page: A3

Kids ready to trick-or-treat for UNICEF

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Celebrate Day of the Dead on Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Low-water landscape workshop planned

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Sending ‘Hugs from Home’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Yolo RCD welcomes new executive director

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A5

Volunteers sought to advocate for kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Sudwerk Ultimator arrives with a vengeance

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

.

Forum

Duo are the best-informed

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Humble and hard-working

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Yes on 47 for our safety

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Something’s missing

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
This is a terrific trio

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Elect Poppenga to school board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Sports

Something’s got to give as Aggies host UNC

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Davis vs Goliath: Devils travel to take on Grant

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

DHS escapes with a Senior Night victory

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggies hope to turn Gauchos into net zombies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

MVP Bumgarner leads Giants to World Series win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie loss allows Gauchos to tie them for first

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

Warriors whip Kings is their season opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Youth roundup: Diamonds have a ball at Disco-Tech

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

JV/frosh roundup: Rio falls to DHS boys, who then take fifth at tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Double dip for Devil tennis team

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

.

Features

College Corner: Going the honors route

By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: A10

 
Chávez kids are movin’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Kids walk for friends at Birch Lane

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A10

.

Arts

Wineaux: Calming and curbing the crouching curmudgeon

By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A11

 
Hear Amplified DNA on Saturday at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Thursday Live! plans jazz and blues

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

International Film Series continues with ‘Australia’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

All are welcome at Fun Time Follies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, October 30, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A9