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Zillows revisionist history
Old 09-18-2008, 11:16 PM   #1
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Zillows revisionist history

Interesting...just pulled up some zillow charts of a couple of homes I used to own, and I've found that they've changed their historic valuation figures substantially. Up until just a few months ago Zillow was showing one homes peak value as running around 608k. Now they're saying the peak value was 568k.

I wonder if they've fixed something in their algorithms, identified a mistake in how they used to do stuff, or just got tired of making people feel bad.
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Old 09-19-2008, 12:44 AM   #2
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they are rezillowists.

they used to have my house peaking at about 450k. now they say it peaked at 360k. probably it peaked around 425-500 (a smaller house that hadn't any work done on it since 1950 on a lesser lot just 4 houses down from me went for over 550 but i suspect scam). i noticed the rezillowism about half a year ago.

just to check, here's a graph of the guy across street from me who just paid $625 for a house which the previous owner added to & fixed up. it sold for about $375 as a total dump in 2004. up until this recent sale, zillow had it previously peaking in the 300's if i remember right, certainly not in the 5 or 600s as it shows now.



while i don't see an explanation for their rezillowistic approach to home value histories, they do mention their inaccuracy here Data Coverage and Zestimate Accuracy | Zillow Real Estate giving themselves only 2 stars for my area out of a possible 4-star rating.

edit: this is so odd. just checked another neighbor who just sold another fixed up house, cattycorner to me & nextdoor to the guy in above example. only here i guess they forgot to rezillow the history quite like they did with the first guy.



what zillow fails to report is that had either of the above two houses been completed and sold by peak bubble they'd have fetched near or over $1mm. both sold under some duress.
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:04 AM   #3
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Zillow is just too unreliable in its home values for this area to have any real useful purpose. A neighbor told me that after he listed his house (for a reasonable amount in this crazy market), he was amazed by the really lowball offers he was receiving until he learned that the potential buyers were using Zillow info as their guide.

Now that property tax info is readily available online, I refer to Zillow for "entertainment purposes" only.
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:42 AM   #4
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can't count even on that. in our area the tax info is totally screwy too.

similar to the scam house i mentioned above, my next door neighbor has a smaller house on an unimproved lot and no work has been done since the 1920s but to stucco over the logs. a developer built the hunting cabin out of trees shipped down from michigan instead of from our termite-resistant, since nearly extinct, dade county pine which early florida developers used to build a solid, lasting house like mine. so i am certain there is very little holding that house up. it does not even have central a/c and the roof is a mess.

still, our county has it tax-appraised a bit more than $100k higher than mine. this is one of the huge problems down here stifling the market: no one knows what anything is worth anymore so everything tends to get based upon what a foreclosure might get. yet the county, when taxing the newly bought property, will not tax at the distressed price, but at what it considers to be the fundamental value. the whole damned thing is still a bit broke.
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