This Is Why Relying on Zillow Is a Bad Idea

Don’t let this happen to you!

The ad was captivating. It grabbed your attention and pulled you in, but don’t fall for it.

There are several reasons people go to Zillow, but here is proof that you shouldn’t make any important decisions based on what you find there.

  1. Buyers are looking for homes
  2. Sellers are confirming the value for a list price
  3. Buyers are confirming the value before making an offer
  4. Folks are “checking out” a potential real estate agent
  5. Pictures, maps, neighborhood info

The dirty low down:

Number 5 is easy: Zillow harvests photos and data from numerous sources and provides it for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy it. Even if the photos are not current, you aren’t going to make too big of a mistake just from looking at them.

Number 1 is also easy: Not everything you see on Zillow is actually available for sale. There are dozens of reasons why properties are shown when they aren’t for sale. This company exists solely to lure viewers and collect information to sell to real estate agents. The data doesn’t have to be accurate; it just has to be attractive.

Numbers 2 and 3 can be lumped together. Value. Zestimate. Automated Valuation. Pricing. Whatever you want to call it, you can’t trust it. It is wrong. My blog Your Home Valuation is Wrong from July 30, 2018 goes into more detail. https://jimsweat.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/your-home-valuation-is-wrong/

Number 4 can be a real problem. It’s a problem for the buyers and sellers, and also for the real estate agents. I sell two or three times as much real estate as the average agent, but you can’t tell that from looking at Zillow. They say that I have not sold anything in the last 17 months. https://jimsweat.wordpress.com/2018/09/20/really-zillow-again/

Yes, I can go in and manually update it, but that doesn’t mean it will be accurate next week. Here today, gone tomorrow is reality with these guys.

They were happy to use my photos, my descriptions and marketing remarks on my listings they used as “bait” to attract potential buyer and seller leads, but when those homes sold, Zillow conveniently “forgot” to credit me with the sale.

Blog post January 16, 2015 titled Real Estate Misinformation and Extortion tells how after 20 years in real estate, Zillow showed me completing 2 (two) total transactions. Two. After I had been a full time licensed real estate professional for twenty years! I had owned a real estate company part of that time. I had obtained my ABR, CRS, GRI, CDPE, e-PRO and ILHM designations – many of which require a certain level of production to qualify. But the big gorilla of real estate information credited me with two sales!

https://jimsweat.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/real-estate-misinformation-and-extortion/

You can’t make this stuff up!

And again:

My blog post Boom! Yes That Was My Head Exploding! from August 6, 2015 tells when I found out Trulia and Zillow wiped my slate, again. After over 20 years as a full-time licensed real estate professional, part of which I was broker/owner of a real estate company, Trulia credited me with 1 (one) total career sale and Zillow showed me having 2 (two) sales in my entire career!

https://jimsweat.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/boom-yes-that-was-my-head-exploding/

You don’t have to make things up, they prove every day that danger lurks if you blindly follow.

The thing to remember is that Zillow exists purely to make money from real estate brokers. If they have decent information on the website, great. If not, it doesn’t matter as long as they can lure people there, collect the contact info, and sell them to an agent.

There are thousands of companies that do the same thing: provide real estate information for the sole purpose of collecting leads to sell to real estate agents. Zillow just happens to be the biggest, and therefore can do the most damage.

Zillow has some great ads: A wonderful mix of emotional heart-tugs and perceived factual data.

Too bad people make important life decisions based on the fake news and false information.

http://www.SweatSellsFlorida.com

All the Best!

Jim Sweat, ABR, CLHMS, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

Featured in Scene Magazine’s Men on the Scene 2016 issue

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (coming soon)

Jim Sweat – Helping Buyers & Sellers Choose Wisely Since 1995 ™

Re/Max  Alliance Group

1314 E. Venice Ave, Venice, FL 34285

Mobile: 941-306-7384

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat (Home Search)

https://jimsweat.wordpress.com/ (Blog)

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat (LinkedIn)

A Proven Professional Working for You!

23 Years Experience

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Your Home Valuation Is Wrong

Do not make any major decisions based on an online, automated home valuation. You could lose a lot of money. A lot.

How does a $60,000 loss on a $300,000 home sound to you? Ridiculous? Read on.

Of course you are going to look up the value before you make an offer on a home, or prior to selling your current place. Just remember, that number is almost guaranteed to be wrong.

If you make life-changing decisions based on bad information, then you’re jeopardizing your future.

How can I be so sure the information you get online isn’t correct? Because it is statistically unlikely, and most of the sites will even tell you so, in the fine print.

Does it matter which site you use? Not really. Some are better at guessing than others, but they all vary dramatically.

When determining value on a property I typically check ten different online valuation sites. Not because I think they “know” what the home is worth, but because the seller and potential buyers are checking these sites, and it’s better to know in advance what disinformation they are consuming.

Those values are all over the map!

For example, a home with a true market value of $300,000 might have automated valuations ranging from 225,000 to 375,000. That is a large margin of error!

What about the infamous Zillow Zestimate? This is the margin of error stated on their website as of July 26, 2018:

  • Nationwide, Zestimates are currently within 5% of the final sale price 52.9% of the time.
  • In the U.S. as a whole, Zestimates are currently within 10% of the final sale price 73.3% of the time.
  • Nationally, Zestimates are currently within 20% of the final sale price 85.8% of the time.

Let’s put this into real world numbers using the $300k actual value example.

Just over half of the time (52.9%) the Zestimate is within $15,000 (5%) of actual final sales price. That could be high or low, so a $30,000 swing from 285,000 to 315,000.

The Zestimate is within 10% on another 20.4% of homes. That means a $60,000 swing from 270,000 to 330,000. If the buyer believes the real value is 270,000 and the seller thinks it is 330,000… well it’s easy to see we now have a significant problem.

Another 12.5% of homes are within 20%. That produces a $120,000 range of value from 240,000 to 360,000! That is 40% of the actual value! You don’t want to make any decisions based on this information!

Zillow admits they are not even within 20% (high or low) on 14.2% of homes nationally.

Do you want to guess which group your Zestimate falls within? It’s a roll of the dice!

If you’re in the 52.9% group you could lose $15,000.

If you’re in the 20.4% group you could lose $30,000.

If you’re in the 12.5% group you could lose $60,000.

If you’re in the 14.2% group you could lose even more than that!

The last two groups comprise 26.7% of properties. That means you have a greater than 1 in 4 chance of losing $60,000 or more if you base your buying or selling decision on the information you obtained from the big gorilla of real estate data online.

This is a multi-billion dollar company that draws millions of people to the website each and every month. And I have the nerve to warn you against believing what you see in black and white on that website? Yes. That website and dozens of others. Pay attention.

The actual Zestimate, not the range of possibility, the actual published number on my personal residence has gone up and down over the last year $59,000. That is absurd. Home values don’t rise and fall with the wind, like the stock market.

Side note: Facebook stock is down 20% today. Your home doesn’t go on a roller coaster ride every month.

These robot valuations use raw sales data available from public records but they have a huge disadvantage: They have never been inside your home.

They don’t know if the flooring, kitchen cabinets and roof all need replaced, or if they were just completely updated. They can’t see the view; they don’t know if the comparative sales were well cared for or not; they can’t tell if the home next door is an eyesore or worse; they can’t hear the traffic from the highway that decreased the selling price on three of the comparable sales they are using.

The bottom line is you need a trustworthy professional to give you good information.

Contact a full-time, experienced and knowledgeable professional whom you trust to give you good advice so you can make the best decision for your family.

http://www.SweatSellsFlorida.com

All the Best!

Jim Sweat, ABR, CLHMS, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

Featured in Scene Magazine’s Men on the Scene 2016 issue

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (coming soon)

Jim Sweat – Helping Buyers & Sellers Choose Wisely Since 1995 ™

Re/Max  Alliance Group

Mobile: 941-306-7384

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat (Home Search)

https://jimsweat.wordpress.com/ (Blog)

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat (LinkedIn)

A Proven Professional Working for You!

23 Years Experience

Three Buying Scenarios; One Winning Strategy

There is a lot of advice on how to win a multiple bid scenario (escalation clause, humanize the buyer with a letter to the seller, snipe the competing buyers, etc…).

In this blog post, I am only going to talk about one strategy that you can use effectively without overpaying and even if you don’t have unlimited funds.

1.)  I currently have a sale pending on a listing where the seller accepted an offer lower than I would have guessed.

Buyer offered cash, close in 14 days, no inspection contingency, and put 75% of the sales price down as the earnest money escrow deposit. That convinced the seller this was as close to a done deal as you can get before actually closing, so after a little negotiation, they signed a contract.

A clean offer with strong deposit is an obvious winning strategy.

2.)  Years ago I showed a home that was priced to sell quickly, to a buyer who was philosophically opposed to paying more than list price, even though he admitted it was worth more than asking price. His wife warned him that if he lost this home because of his foolish pride, he was going to regret it.

The other offer was above list price. Our full-price offer included a $50,000 earnest money escrow deposit which was almost 50% of the sales price. Money talks and the seller accepted our lower offer with the big earnest check attached.

What if you are not a cash buyer with the ability to lay down the big money smack?

Do what you can to make your offer stand out.

3.)  I just closed on a home that had competing offers that were almost identical. Both had financing contingencies, low down payment loans, and were full price.

What made one stand out? Offer A had a $500 escrow deposit, offer B had a $3,000 deposit.

Sure, that is only a $2,500 difference, but if you multiply those numbers by ten, it is like comparing $5,000 to $30,000. A significant difference!

Even the $2,500 difference caused the seller to decide, “Buyer B seems more committed, let’s go with that one.”

In the old days, 10% of the sales price was common for the deposit. We went through a period during the easy money boom years where a token $1,000 deposit was common. That might be a serious commitment from a buyer who is going for a ‘no money down’ loan, or 3-5% down payment financing.

However, if you are a cash buyer or getting a conventional 20% down loan, and you offer a token deposit with your offer, you should not expect to be taken seriously.

I send a bi-weekly, digital newsletter with insights into the real estate market, as well as helpful hints, tips and trends for homeowners. If you would like to receive it, just send me a message with your email and I will add you to the next mailing.

All the Best!

Jim Sweat, ABR, CLHMS, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Featured in Scene Magazine’s Men on the Scene 2016 issue

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (coming soon)

Jim Sweat – Helping Buyers & Sellers Choose Wisely Since 1995 ™”

Re/Max Alliance Group

Mobile: 941-306-7384

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat (Home Search)

https://jimsweat.wordpress.com/ (Blog)

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat (LinkedIn)

A Proven Professional Working for You!

22 Years Experience

Jim Sweat featured in Sarasota’s Scene Magazine “Men on the Scene 2016” Issue

 

publisher-quote-motsjulie-milton

 

 

The profiles are arranged alphabetically, so just like in school, I am near the back of the line.

Feel free to share, tag and post if you know anyone who would like an agent with the “protective nature of a guard dog” helping them to get the best price.

Jim Sweat Profile in Scene Magazine click here for the profile link.

 

All the Best!

Jim Sweat, ABR, CLHMS, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (coming soon)

Jim Sweat – Helping Buyers & Sellers Choose Wisely Since 1995 ™

 Re/Max  Alliance Group

Mobile: 941-306-7384

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat (Home Search)

https://jimsweat.wordpress.com/ (Blog)

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat (LinkedIn)

A Proven Professional Working for You!

21 Years Experience

Local Realtor offers to pay you so they win next time! Coastal Living ranked Venice America’s Second-Happiest Seaside Town 2015.

Local Realtor offers to pay you so they win next time! Coastal Living ranked Venice America’s Second-Happiest Seaside Town 2015..

What is the Gulf Shore Lifestyle? Who is Jim Sweat? Why Should You Care?

Gulf Shore Lifestyle

Stunning sunsets ~ shimmering waters ~ and world-famous, sun-kissed sugar sand beaches.

Championship golf ~ fine dining ~ shopping ~ the fine arts ~ boating ~ fishing ~ hiking ~ biking ~

festivals year round ~ and nature trails galore.

Southwest Florida holds the key for your family to enjoy the rewarding moments of life.

Dreams do come true in the prestigious “Gulf Shore Lifestyle” ~ realize your dream now!

Jim Sweat understands the unique features that make your home a haven and offers you personal service from highly trained professionals, guiding you to a lifetime of pleasant memories.

Take the first step.

Call Jim Sweat for a personal consultation.

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS & INSIGHT (coming soon)

I am publishing an insider’s look at the world of real estate, exposing dangers and dirty tricks that cost you money.

Previously a broker/owner in Michigan, now focused on buyers and sellers in Sarasota, Charlotte and Manatee Counties along Florida’s beautiful Gulf coast. Specialties and advanced training in Residential Listings and Sales; Luxury Homes; Distressed Properties (Foreclosures & Short Sales) and Buyer Representation.

Buying or Selling? Hire a professional to represent you! Buyers want the right home at the right price. Sellers want top market value, in the shortest amount of time, and with the least amount of hassle. Jim Sweat has over 20 years of results-proven experience to help you accomplish your goals and bring about a successful closing.

You have to be careful where you vacation – it can change your life! We were only here for a week the first time we visited the Venice-Sarasota area of Florida. A few months later, we sold our real estate company & our house in South Haven, Michigan and made this beautiful location our home!

To serve you better, Jim has earned numerous designations through his commitment and dedication.

Specialties:

  • ABR – Accredited Buyer Representative
  • CRS- Certified Residential Specialist
  • GRI- Graduate Realtor Institute
  • CDPE- Certified Distressed Property Expert
  • e-PRO- Certified Internet Professional
  • ILHM- Institute for Luxury Home Marketing Member
  • Educational Achievement Award Recipient
  • Residential Sales Council Member

Serving buyers, sellers and investors since 1995. I have worked for national franchises and local independent offices, including the brokerage we owned in South Haven, Michigan. We sold the company, and our home, in 2006 to move to Florida.

You want an agent who is focused on you, your sale and your goals.

My focus is on you.

There are thousands of Realtors in the local area all clamoring for your attention. But your move isn’t about me or them.

It’s about You.

Your Life, Your Goals.

I am here to help you evaluate your situation; determine the best course of action; and implement the strategies to achieve your goals of buying and selling in the shortest amount of time, with the least frustration, and the most net profit in your pocket.

I am industrious, innovative and hands-on; utilizing the best of today’s technology and good old-fashioned customer service.

Respectfully,

Jim Sweat, ABR, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (coming soon)

American Realty of Venice, Inc.

700 W. Venice Ave

Venice, FL 34285

941-484-8080

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat Home search

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat LinkedIn

https://www.zillow.com/reviews/write/?s=X1-ZUyz3incawqo7d_93ahq Zillow

Can you believe what I found when I searched “Jim Sweat” online?

Online search reveals “Segal’s Law” scenario.

Wow!

This is a problem for me, other Realtors, and our clients.

Segal’s law is an adage that states:

“A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”

It refers to the pitfalls of having too much potentially conflicting information when making a decision.

The same thing happens on the internet. I just searched my own name, something I have to do from time to time because I am in a very public business.

The results showed that I have been in the real estate business for 4, 8, 9, 17 or 20 years. Quite a spread.

My production during that time is even more interesting: I have sold 1, 2, 43, or a vague “hundreds of homes” during my entire career.

When you go online to get answers, you want good information. Admittedly, many of the websites I found myself on I have never heard of before, but I did only look at the ones that had my “actual info” and not one of the dozens of other Jim Sweats out there.

Let’s be smart about this. To sort through all of the garbage online and get the real scoop, let’s just look at the best websites.

Is it safe to assume that the top two sites would have the best information? I am talking the two with the most monthly visitors; the largest dollar valuations; publicly traded companies that dominate all of the others for real estate search. This should give us the most accurate, up to date information available, right? They even state that they update their information regularly.

Zillow and Trulia (who are in the process of merging, subject to government approval) are the dominate players in real estate search, and they do not have my information correct. Not even close.

Yes, they have my 20 years right, but Zillow had me completing only two (2) sales during my entire career, and Trulia had me down for just one (1)!

I am in the process of getting those things updated, so the numbers should be different by the time you look for yourself. But, let’s get real! I have had a profile on each of these sites for over five years! How long does it take to “update regularly”?!?

So, is the problem that I have not paid them to make my information accurate? Possibly. I have called them and they tell me they will update my information and it will begin to fill in. But I didn’t pay them, and nothing changed. Trulia says I don’t have any reviews, but there are seven on the site. However, I don’t have any ratings because the reviews were added by folks before the ratings featured existed.

Millions of people go to these sites every month. I would like to ignore them, because the information is factually-challenged, but I can’t do that when most of my potential customers are on these sites.

What about all of the websites I have never even heard of?

See my blog: Real Estate Misinformation and Extortion for more details on the extortion that takes place. https://jimsweat.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/real-estate-misinformation-and-extortion/

Thousands of companies’ business models can be summed up simply “Get money from agents”.

I used to try to keep my info updated on real estate sites, but there is no way to keep up.

The public is going to get a LOT of bad information when they go online. There is no alternative.

Be careful, folks! There is a wealth of information, and misinformation, available online. Find someone trustworthy to help you make sense of it all. It could mean thousands of dollars in your pocket!

Respectfully,

Jim Sweat, ABR, CRS, CDPE, GRI, e-PRO, ILHM

REALTOR

Author of REAL ESTATE CSI: CONTROVERSY, SECRETS, INSIGHT (available 2015)

American Realty of Venice, Inc.

700 W. Venice Ave

Venice, FL 34285

941-484-8080

http://myfloridahomesmls.com/JimSweat Home search

www.linkedin.com/in/jimsweat LinkedIn

http://www.trulia.com/profile/jimsweat Trulia

https://www.zillow.com/reviews/write/?s=X1-ZUyz3incawqo7d_93ahq Zillow