About Eric Blackwell

For the last 10 years, Eric Blackwell has been actively helping REALTORS® master online marketing. He has been the Director of Technology for a large brokerage in Louisville Kentucky. He has been teaching, coaching and helping REALTORS®, teams and brokerages to succeed in the emerging online real estate marketplace.

Zestimation Frustration

What is Zestimation Frustration? It is that gnawing feeling in your gut that usually starts when you take a listing?

You work with the seller to come up with a price that you think may be in the ballpark. You KNOW the area, the condition of the home, and you are confident as you put the home on the MLS. Then it happens:  You get Zestimated and your Seller SEES the Zestimate online before you do which leads to frustration on both of your parts. The home that you just worked with them to price is either way to high or too low when compared to the “magical” Zestimate.

And WHAMO, Zestimation Frustration. 😉

So how do you avoid it? Well, for me it pretty much is the same way you avoid any other challenge. First, you must know that it is coming. Second, you must prepare the seller for it and third, you must have a plan in place before it happens.  Despite the fact that you won’t always know it is coming, there are some telltale signs that you are in for some stormy weather.

Are there drastic changes in property value? Maybe a recent remodel that adds a lot of value? Zillow is notorious for getting this wrong. (It works the other way as well – Have a significant repair that lowers property value? Zillow will miss that too).

Are there wide swings in square footage in the neighborhood? If so, this is a likely signal. Even if your listing is WORTH the money, if you are in one of those neighborhoods with many styles of homes (where things are not “cookie cutter”), you are likely to get Zestimated.

Are there conditions that are different from the Neighbors? The does not have to be a recent swing in property value but any significant differences from those in the immediate area are likely to throw off Zillow’s Zestimator. We have to keep in mind that it is not smart. It is only calculating averages based on similar properties.

So how do you Zestimation Frustration proof a seller? Have some examples in hand showing where Zillow was or is TOTALLY wrong that you can share with them.  Print the Zestimates and compare to the actual price of what a home sold for.  Try to find one that is RIDICULOUSLY high and one that is OUTRAGEOUSLY low. Show them both and let them know (especially if they are in one of the high risk groups above) that you hope Zillow gets it right, but if they don’t that you have a plan.

What do you do when this happens? One way of dealing with it is to blog your way out of it. That is the reason for this blog post.  If done in a dispassionate, but authoritative way, it casts you as the professional. It confronts the issue in a proactive manner and best of all it can raise the home’s visibility on the internet, which makes sellers very happy.

Another way to address it is through your other marketing materials, face time at open houses and every other point of contact that you have with potential buyers.  Education is everything, especially for your clients that don’t understand the process.  This prevents buyers from thinking that the home is undervalued or overpriced.

What are your methods for avoiding Zestimation Frustration?

About Eric Blackwell

For the last 10 years, Eric Blackwell has been actively helping REALTORS® master online marketing. He has been the Director of Technology for a large brokerage in Louisville Kentucky. He has been teaching, coaching and helping REALTORS®, teams and brokerages to succeed in the emerging online real estate marketplace.